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*I am not a medical professional. Please talk to your doctor if you are experiencing postpartum depression.*
I’ve mentioned before that I experienced postpartum depression after each of my children were born.
Postpartum depression is something that isn’t talked about enough in our society and something that a lot of people still don’t understand. It’s not just feeling sad and crying all the time. It’s a medical condition, usually caused by a combination of imbalanced hormones, lack of sleep, stress, and lack of support. A mom suffering with postpartum can’t just “cheer up” or “get over it.” Something is wrong in her mind, and being judgmental about the condition will only make things worse.
If you feel like you might be suffering with postpartum depression, please please please reach out for help. Reaching out for help is the hardest part. Once you’ve asked for help (from someone who will take you seriously) everything gets easier from there. It’s scary to admit that something is wrong because of the attitude our culture has regarding depression and mental illness. But for your sake, and for your family’s sake, please get help.
That being said, I wanted to share 10 things I’ve found helpful in my battle with postpartum depression.
10 Ways to Fight Postpartum Depression
1. Reach out for help
You can read about my breaking point and how I reached out for help by clicking here.
There is no shame in using medication to treat depression. Like I stated earlier, depression is a medical condition and there shouldn’t be any shame in treating a medical condition with medication.
3. Sunlight/vitamin D/Ion Therapy Lamp
Sunlight is so important to the state of my well-being. I can tell a huge difference in my mood when I’m able to get outside, in nature, and soak up some sun. (With sunscreen!) In the winter, I always get a little blue from lack of sunshine. This year I bought an Ion Therapy Lamp and I felt like it helped a lot during the weeks when the weather was gloomy. I also like to take Vitamin Dsupplements during the cold months. *I’m not a medical professional so please talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.*
This one is so hard, because when you’re depressed, you have no energy and the last thing you want to do is exercise. But again, I can tell a huge difference in my mood when I’m able to work out. Even if it’s just doing a few jumping jacks or walking one lap around our street.
5. Take a mom-break
If you have family that lives near you – take advantage of them!! Seriously – call them and ask them to babysit. Just for an hour or two. Or find a babysitter in your area. And if all else fails, plop your kids in front of the TV or the iPads, and hide in the bathroom for a while. Whatever you need to do to have a few quiet minutes to yourself.
Make self-care a priority. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty for scheduling that babysitter or leaving the kids with your husband for a while so you can get your hair cut or get a pedicure. Stay on top of your health – go to the dentist and the doctor on schedule. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of your children. Confession – I’m so bad about this one. I haven’t had my hair cut in over 6 months!
7. Find a creative outlet
Do something that you enjoy. Read, craft, cook, start a blog! My blog has been instrumental in keeping me from slipping back into depression. Summer is a tough time for me because I don’t get as many opportunities to take my mom-break and focus on exercise and self-care. But blogging gives me something to focus on other than my children. It’s not selfish to want to have something that’s just for you – something that fills your thoughts with something other than your kiddos.
8. Get enough sleep
This is another difficult one to accomplish, especially if you have a newborn or a baby that’s a terrible sleeper. But never feel guilty for making sleep a priority in your life when you’re suffering from depression. Sleep is so important for me in my battle with depression. If I go a few days with interrupted sleep, I can feel some of those old feelings creeping back in. I’ll usually try to grab a nap when I can, even if it’s just for 15 minutes while the kids are watching a movie next to me on the couch.
9. Give yourself grace
Give yourself grace during this time of your life. Don’t feel guilty. Let the dishes sit. Let the laundry pile up. Let the kids have more than the recommended screen time. All of those little things can wait. When you’re suffering with postpartum depression, you have to focus on yourself, which is such a hard thing to do when you have kids. We moms just naturally center our lives around our children. But I’ve learned that if I don’t take care of myself, it’s going to negatively impact my kids anyway.
Speaking of grace, relying on the grace of God has helped me more than anything else on my list. Prayer has been my ultimate weapon in this battle. I have to remember that God forgives me for all the mistakes I’ve made – all the times I lashed out, all the wrong things I’ve said, all the wrong choices I’ve made. His grace is the answer. I don’t have to be perfect. We’re all flawed. One of my flaws is postpartum depression, but that doesn’t mean I’m weak. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom. It doesn’t define me. I overcame it, and I can recognize those feelings of depression so much easier now.
Have you experienced postpartum depression? What are the things you’ve found helpful in treating your postpartum?
If you’re suffering with Postpartum Anxiety, check out this post written by Jessica Hughes – another awesome Atlanta blogger.
More Postpartum Depression Resources: