Moms, let’s face it, one day we are jumping for joy at the birth of a newborn and the next day we are weeping for no reason at all. Life can become an emotional “Roller Coaster Ride” if we don’t understand how to get up when life gets us down. I have journeyed this road and have gained a little wisdom to help moms avoid the pitfalls in the road ahead and chase the blues away.
If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it would never have started with “labor.” Each time we hold a new life in our arms we begin a new journey on the road of motherhood. This is because every baby is different, and we are always a different mother to each baby. It is very common for a new mother to feel some sadness during the first few weeks after having a baby. New Moms may complain of weepiness, mood swings, sadness, and anxiety which are usually related to hormone swings. This occurs within the first couple of weeks after birth due to the stress and changes associated with having a baby. In my case, I experienced Postpartum Depression after I weaned a baby.
Before I begin, if your feelings go beyond simple “baby blues” and you show signs of postpartum depression, such as if you are having thoughts of hurting someone, yourself or your child, get help immediately. This is a “red flag” and a serious situation. Do what the doctor tells you. If medicine helps, be thankful.
For simple blues, here are some ways for chasing them away. Not everything on this list will work or be appealing for everyone, but if you can choose one or two that speak to you, it will go a long way. Taking care of yourself will make you better able to mother your little one.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Aim for eight hours of sleep.
- Find a mentoring mommy to talk to, or a professional psychiatrist.
- Schedule daily “me time”.
- Hire a maid, or ask your mother or a friend to come weekly to lend a helping hand. You may wish to hire a postpartum doula who can help with housekeeping, meal preparation, and even infant care to make sure you are able to get the recuperation your body needs.
- Get around people. Find a mom’s support group like MOPS or Mom’s Club.
- After your lochia stops, you may feel better and have increased energy if you ease into a gentle exercise routine.
- Give yourself a “Mommy Makeover”. Buy a new outfit, try a new hairdo, or even give yourself a spa day.
- Get around positive people who will pull you up.
- Give yourself permission to get out of the house to do something for yourself once a week. This is probably especially important for extroverts!
- Talk and connect with girlfriends.
- Write in a journal five things that gave you joy.
- When life stresses you out, change what you can, then accept the rest.
- Perhaps most importantly, give yourself permission to rest. Resist the pressure to jump into your old routine and handle too much too soon. Arrange to have a lying in period and honor it!
Remember this too shall pass. One mom gave me this wise advice, “Sometimes it is OK to put one foot in front of the other and not even smile; to just make it through the day.” This piece of wise advice helped me a lot when I had postpartum depression. You see “super moms” exist only in our imagination. We all have our limits. Some days we are helping a friend out of an emotional pit, while other days a friend is pulling us out of a pit by our pony tails. Getting through a day with the “mommy blues” is like climbing a mountain with a backpack full bricks. So never judge another woman unless you have walked a mile in her high heels.
If these suggestions help, great! However, if you experience more stress and depression with any of them, do not do them. I repeat, if the symptoms of sadness are mild you may not need to see a doctor, but if you have any thoughts of harming yourself or your family then you must see your doctor. Above all do not take it out on your baby. If you cannot cope, call for help. As moms we bear patiently with sleepless nights, spit up on our blouses, very little time for ourselves and many daily sacrifices are done in love. The rewards outweigh the sacrifice! So take some clues from a mom who knows: take better care of yourself so you can take better care of your family. This may be the perfect prescription needed to take away the “mommy blues.”
Link: For more information on postpartum depression – http://www.postpartum.net/