Bringing a child into the world is one of the hardest transitions a woman can go through. Being thrown head-first into the late night feeds, the crying, the soothing, the epic diapers, and the sleep deprivation, you’re already hanging by a thread. Add postpartum depression to that mix, and coping with motherhood seems utterly hopeless.
I know. I’ve been where you are and you’re not alone. You can cope.
The feeling of being disconnected is common in moms with postpartum depression, as is feeling hopeless, sad, or anxious.
In my own experience, I had a real problem connecting with my baby because I just felt so emotionally numb. I went through the motions, and had trouble focussing on things. I wondered, “Is this what it’s supposed to be like?”.
No, ladies. It’s not.
After getting help from my doctor, I started to find my way back from postpartum depression. With medication, support from my family and some low maintenance self-care, I was able to clear the fog and begin enjoying my baby.
Here are a few things You can do to cope with postpartum depression:
- Stay Clean: take a shower, or even a gentle sponge bath. Brush your teeth and hair. Get into some clean, comfortable clothes that you haven’t already slept in for three days. There’s a reason moms love yoga pants. Take advantage of the comfiness.
- Eat and drink: Keep it light and low maintenance. Try some toast with jam, and maybe a glass of juice for a boost. Stay hydrated throughout the day, sipping on water. Keep it basic, and healthy. Put good things in your body.
- Sleep: I know it seems impossible, knowing the baby could jump into a cluster feeding session at any moment, but do try. Take a bath to help relax you, or turn on some soft music. Tag your spouse or loved one in on baby duty and go to bed. Sleep is your ally, and it’s the best way to start feeling functional again.
- Ask for help: This is no joke, ladies. Ask a friend, your mom or dad, your spouse or a close co-worker for a hand. Invite them to visit, to bring you a coffee and stay for a chat. Ask them to just watch T.V. for an hour while you sleep. They care about you and what you’re going through. They want to help, but they can’t read your mind, so ask.
Sleep is Your Ally, and it’s the best way to start feeling functional again.
- Exercise: Do some stretching on the couch. Roll your head in a circle and roll your shoulders forward and back. Stretch your sides and point and flex your feet. Basic stretching will keep your blood flowing and your muscles relaxed. If you’re up for it, try some gentle yoga. The deep breathing and movement together will feel good, and that’s what we’re aiming for.
- Get out of the house: Is it spring time where you are? Put the baby in the stroller and walk around your block. Is it winter? Drive to your local mall, and walk around there. With or without the baby, change the scenery.
I’ve Been That Scary Place Too.
- Talk/write about how you feel: Your mind may go to some scary and lonely places on your way to recovery. I know, because I’ve been to that scary place. It’s what you do with those thoughts and feelings that matters. Keep the lines of communication open with friends and family. They’re there to support you in your recovery, and talking about how you’re feeling will get it out of your head and into the open.
- Stay in contact with your healthcare provider: If you’re able to, weekly follow-ups with your doctor/midwife will keep the communication flowing and any adjustments needed to medication can be addressed quickly.
The most basic elements of self care will go a long way to help you cope with postpartum depression and make you feel like a human being again, rather than the “mombie” you are right now.
Remember, recovery takes time. Try to give it to yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be kind to your mind and body. The fog will eventually clear, and you’ll start to become the mom that everyone else already sees.
If you know someone who you think might be suffering from postpartum depression, do her a favour and share this post with her. She and her family will thank you for it.
Thanks so much for reading,