Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression (PPD) are very common after the birth of a beautiful new infant. You’d think this would be a magical time of snuggles, bottles, and miniature clothes–and it is–but it’s also a time of rapid life transition and physically demanding recovery.
A combination of sleep deprivation, drastic hormonal changes, the pain and discomfort of healing from childbirth, and the demands of caring for a tiny little person can easily combine to create a perfect storm and leave you feeling absolutely miserable.
As soon as you begin feeling overwhelmed, sad, anxious, or stressed, it’s important to address the issue right away so it doesn’t get worse or tarnish this special time with your precious little baby.
1. Tell Your Doctor. Your doctor will understand and will be able to prescribe antidepressants if needed. Just like a diabetic needs insulin, you may need extra support to get you through this time of significant transition. You deserve to be able to enjoy Baby’s newborn phase, and Baby deserves a happy Mommy. Admitting you need help is not weakness, it’s actually the STRONG thing to do.
2. Hug Your Man. Physical contact and reassurance from your Baby’s Daddy is often the best pick-me-up. There’s something about a hug–that feeling of acceptance, love, and appreciation–that reassures us even in times when all we feel is doubt and weakness.
3. Reach Out To Friends. You’d be surprised how many women you know have experienced Baby Blues or PPD. Reaching out to trusted friends, and generally staying in touch with folks, can help ward off cabin fever and make you feel less isolated. If you’re up to it, ask friends to come visit with you.
4. Open The Windows. You might not be able to get out of the house for several weeks. Letting sunshine into your home can greatly improve your mood and outlook. If the weather is nice, fresh air can be so rejuvanating.
5. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Waking up every couple hours to feed Baby or change diapers is utterly exhausting. Ask a friend to come babysit sometime during the day so you can catch a nap. Depending on your husband or boyfriend’s schedule, ask them to take care of diaper changes and baby care whenever they’re off or before they leave for work.
6. Take Care Of Yourself. Shower daily. Drink plenty of water. Eat healthy but also don’t diet, particularly if you’re nursing. Dieting will decrease your milk supply and going hungry will add extra discomfort and stress you just don’t need right now. Remember, you’ve just survived 9 months of pregnancy and 10+ hours of childbirth. Pamper yourself and cut yourself some slack. Focus on healing, resting, and kissing that tiny angel.
7. Outsource. If you can change 562 diapers instead of 563, leap at the chance! Even if it seems like a small thing, taking little breaks from feeding, cleaning, changing clothes, mixing formula, or whatever other motherly tasks may be filling up your life, accept the offer of help and get an extra 5 minutes to breathe. Let someone else share in Baby’s care.
In closing, if you’re nervous about telling your husband or boyfriend or other family member about your feelings, consider taking them to the doctor with you and having the doctor explain it. Your physician can answer any questions and address any fears or misconceptions they may have and also give your loved ones tips on how to best support you through this time.