How to Kick the Baby Blues
I think this will be my last post about baby blues and postpartum depression for a while. At least until we have another kid. I selfishly wanted to have all these tips (some of which you guys shared with me via comments and e-mails) in one place, so here they are!
Below are a few natural (and mostly inexpensive) ways to ward off the baby blues. It is totally common to feel down in the weeks after birthing a baby, and it most likely will get better quite soon.
If none of these work for you, or if you don't want to wait to see if they do, don't be embarrassed or afraid to seek professional help (medication and/or counseling). Believe me, I completely understand that at the end of the day, you can't talk yourself into feeling better or just "snap out of it." There are lots of resources out there that can help!
First, you must know...
You are a good mother. The best possible mother for your child!
My Best 16 Tips:
- Talk to your husband, family and care provider about how you're feeling. Be completely honest. This is not the time to hide your true feelings and emotions.
- Lean on your faith. Read the Bible or a devotional, or memorize a verse that calms you.
- Do something familiar - something that makes you feel better. What is it for you? A trip alone to the mall? A warm shower? Getting dressed? Once you figure it out, make time for it on a regular basis.
- Get out of the house (once a day or every other day). It may stir up anxiety at first, but most times I found it to be worth it.
- Watch a TV series. Preferably one that makes you laugh. We started with Modern Family. I also watched Ellen every day.
- Go for a walk with your baby in a sling or stroller - preferably in the sunshine and fresh air. Exercise is great for the body and the mind.
- Listen to music. Music can be medicine, if you ask me. My favorites were "Healer" by Kari Jobe and "You Are the Best Song" by Bethany Dillon.
- Laugh. Read this if you need help.
- Go to local breastfeeding support group to be with other nursing moms.
- Think positive thoughts. Look at your baby's tiny feet. You may be tired, but you are holding a miracle. You made that miracle! You can do it! You will get through this!
- Read a book to gain knowledge, and to keep your mind productive. Some recommendations were Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg; The Baby Book by Dr. Sears; The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International Staff; Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth; The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp; On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam; and First Time Mom by Dr. Kevin Leman.
- Rest. Sleep deprivation can cause depression, so resting your mind and body can help a ton.
- Accept help when it is offered to you. I had Eric, my mom, Eric's mom or my sister with me for the first three weeks.
- Take a B-100 vitamin. Vitamin B helps convert food into energy and helps maintain chemical balance. Can't hurt!
- Consider placenta encapsulation, if it's not too late.
- Take each day as it comes. The only way out (with or without medication) is straight through it. Things will get better and start to level off. Don't worry about tomorrow, or the next day. This moment is exactly as it should be.
8 bonus tips! These are from my friend Missy (who had four girls in two years) that I think are great (and hilarious):
- Do crafts. This may sound weird, but having something to “complete” each day helped me. I made hair bows for the girls (she had triplets!), jewelry, did some wall paintings. I even did puzzles.
- I agree with the TV series. You can even check them out at the library. Choose something hilarious. We own ALL seasons of The Office if you would like to borrow them.
- Get out of the house at least every other day. Make “play dates” (totally for moms) with other stay-at-home mamas. It is like free therapy.
- Go shopping for ingredients for a nice supper at home, walk the mall, etc. Make sure you leave WITHOUT baby for an hour or two and do something for yourself. Ice cream, nails done, coffee with pals, anything to help you remember that you are not only a wonderful mommy, but a wonderful individual.
- Continue to reach out. Talk to your doctor, talk with other moms. NEVER feel guilty for not pooping rainbows about motherhood. It is the hardest job on earth.
- Cry. A lot. Then laugh. Get in your car in the garage and scream. If anyone calls you crazy for doing all three things within the same five minutes, then they are not a mother.
- Talk about old memories with your spouse. It helps to connect and remember life outside of parenthood.
- Ignore any of the above advice or any other advice others give you if it overwhelms you. You will know what to do. Out of all the parents in the entire world, God chose you two for this job and it will unfold naturally.
I hope these help you even just a little bit! I remember when I was in my dark days, reading your comments over and over and letting them soak in, and gaining strength with each day. Please let me know if I can answer any questions or help you further! You will get through this!