When women give birth, most of them usually feel a lot of joy and excitement at this newest addition in their lives. But did you know it can also result in depression? Don't be shocked--postpartum depression is more common than you'd think. For those of you who think it's just a state of mind, well, you're right and wrong.
While it is a state of one's mind, it has been classified as a serious medical condition, which unfortunately not a lot of people take seriously today. So, what can you do in such cases? Well, here are 15 ways in which you can kick postpartum depression in it's a$$!
15 Reach out to Your Community
Don’t go it alone! Your parents, your friends, and even your coworkers can all support you during this extremely difficult time. Postpartum depression is more common than you might think. Reaching out to your community can not only give you outlets to vent and get support but may also lead to relieving some of the day-to-day pressures of being a new mom with postpartum depression.
14 Seek out a Counselor or Therapist
A licensed counselor or therapist is a huge part of caring for yourself and your baby when you’re dealing with postpartum. A counselor can give you in-the-moment coping techniques for anxiety and depression and also help you with the big-picture parts in a nonjudgmental setting. Don’t be afraid to try out a few counselors before you choose the one you really like--you get to be picky, and the first one you see might not be the best fit!
13 Make Time for Yourself
Mothers, especially new mommies, like to give A LOT. They especially like to give something that is quite precious--their time--to family, friends and, of course, their new babies. Cut down on activities that aren’t serving you or don’t absolutely need you. If you have a busy, working partner or can’t afford a babysitter, look into local child care programs that are cheap and even free at community centers like the YWCA. You need some "me" time!
12 Go Outside
You’ve been filling up on vitamins nonstop, so now it’s time to get the most natural vitamin D out there, from the sun! Staying stifled inside in the dark for too long will put anyone in a funk, especially someone who doesn’t have much time to leave the house. Just getting out in the sunshine can help but going for a walk with the pup, smelling the flowers, or going for a bike ride can really take it to the next level. Do what works for you!
11 Eat Nutritious Food
When we’re feeling low, it’s so tempting to eat our feelings away with junk. While these binges might perk you up in the short term, this will come back to bite you when your blood sugar plummets and you start feeling groggy and lethargic. Instead, fill up on healthy and nutritious food that’s vitamin-rich and will keep you energized and sustained.
10 Talk About It
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma around depression and even just the occasional blues. You are allowed to talk about how you’ve been feeling because there’s no need to pretend like you’re happy when you’re not. Talk to someone who you can trust. Who knows, mentioning how you’ve been feeling might encourage someone to come out about their own feelings and you’ll find solidarity with another new mom.
It’s not just an old wives' tale or a famous quote from Legally Blonde--exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins really do help make you happy. There are tons of benefits to exercising: it gets you out of the house, it can be a social activity, it’s a good time for thinking or listening to music.
8 Set Reasonable Expectations
If you could snap your fingers to stop your feelings of sadness, you’d feel 100 percent better over night. But these issues can take a while to overcome, so go easy on yourself and don’t worry about how long it’s taking you to get back to “normal.” Everyone works at their own pace. Make sure your goals make sense, as it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect anyone to be bouncing off the walls with joy every day, especially not a new mother.
7 Explore Options For Childcare
You love your baby. Spending more time with him or her will make you feel better but it can also be very helpful to create your own space through finding childcare. Maybe your baby’s grandparents or a friend with kids of their own can step in. A babysitter can give your child one-on-one care while you get some alone time, or a daycare can let your child socialize, giving you valuable time to recharge.
6 Your Baby Isn't Everything (Gasp!)
You’re a new mommy but there’s still more to life than just your new baby! Step away from baby thoughts and explore all the thoughts and ideas out there. A great way to do this is to try the practice of mindful breathing or meditation. There are tons of great videos and audio clips of guided meditations or thinking exercises to try.
5 See Your Doctor
It’s important to see postpartum depression as a medical issue, not just a personal problem. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to make sure you’re getting the care you need. Your doctor can assess your situation to decide if a prescription medication would be helpful and a huge support to you.
4 Do Fun Activities
While you might not be able to go mountain biking or running off to a bar crawl just yet, be sure to fit in purely fun activities to your schedule and allow yourself to just relax. This is important to help you feel like your normal self and help you recenter. A lot of moms can feel like they’re stuck in their mom identity but doing something fun that’s just for you will recharge your energy, for sure!
3 Talk to Your Partner
If you have a partner, use 'em! He or she can be your biggest support as you face motherhood and postpartum depression. Talk to your partner about what you’re experiencing so they can understand why you need space for yourself and away from the baby. Your partner might be able to take some of the work from you, and may also be able to provide extra back rubs and date nights!
2 Join a Support Group
Everyone has a different pregnancy experience, and dealing with postpartum depression is no exception. It might be good for you to hear how other people are coping with their baby blues and find comfort in the fact that others are struggling in similar ways to you. Community centers and local parenting programs can lead you to some good groups.
1 Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
You’ve probably been avoiding these products throughout your pregnancy, so it’s best to keep with the self-control you’ve established already. Of course, you know that self-medicating is no way to deal with issues, so be especially careful with these products because they can be so addictive and easy to access. Sticking to vitamins, healthy food, and exercise can fill the hole left behind by alcohol and caffeine, and you’ll have a clearer head to better move forward with motherhood and postpartum depression.