The "baby blues" affect 60 to 80 percent of postpartum women. Most overcome or cope with the mild feelings of depression and move on to the joys of raising their child. However, for some women, the feelings of depression, anxiety or frustration don't go away and they are left feeling overwhelmed and guilty. If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, take it seriously and get help.
Things You'll Need
- Answering Machines
- Bath Oils
- Bubble Baths
- Aluminum Cookpots
- Freezer Containers
- Plastic Freezer Bags
- Exercise Mats
- Postpartum Workout Video
- Postpartum Yoga Video
Treat yourself right. Know that you are not alone in this struggle. Being a mother, especially a first-time mother, is hard and demanding. It takes a lot of personal sacrifice for the first three to six months, but it will get easier.
Sleep. Heed the old saying, "Sleep when your baby sleeps." Let the answering machine pick up the phone and have your husband return calls.
Ask for help. Let a neighbor make you dinner. Have your mother-in-law watch the baby while you sleep, shop, exercise or take a bath. Find a person you trust to watch the baby on days you just can't take it. If you know other people with young children, they will be more than happy to help. Chances are they have been in your shoes.
Share your feelings with other women. Find someone you can talk to and let it all hang out. Cry, vent, complain - let them know how hard this is for you and that you appreciate them letting you get things off your chest.
Join a support group. If you don't have anyone to talk with and can't find a group on your own, call your local hospital. Chances are the maternity ward will be able to point you in the right direction.
Exercise. Increased metabolism is a result of exercise and will significantly improve your frame of mind and health. Try walking for 10 minutes every morning and gradually work up to a speed and time that fits your schedule.
Take time to look good. Sometimes looking good makes you feel good. Put on some makeup if you usually wear it. Go to the mall and buy a new outfit. Change your hairstyle. Go to a salon and get a facial or manicure. Spend time on you.
Eat right. Eat breakfast every day - it's a good start. Stay away from caffeine and sugar; they'll give you a quick boost, but you'll crash after they wear off. Keep plenty of fresh fruit on hand. Fruit is a natural energy booster.
Buy a book about postpartum depression and read it. There are many women out there who suffer from this disease every day. Find the resources to help yourself or ask someone you are close with to help you.
Tips & Warnings
- Make a list of things to do when you are feeling down. Some items on your list might include: lie in the sun (but wear sunblock!), take a bath, read, go shopping, go to lunch, invite a friend over, go for a walk, or exercise.
- Make meals ahead of time and freeze them for the days you just can't get it together. You will have something to throw in the oven for dinner. Better yet, ask friends to make meals and freeze them for later.
- Do the laundry once a week. Don't clean if you don't feel up to it; it can wait. Put off thank-you cards until you feel like doing them. Pretend you're not home when unexpected visitors arrive, or politely ask them to come another time.
- Seek professional help immediately if you have thoughts of suicide or a desire to do harm to your baby. If you actually do harm your baby, call a crisis line or your partner and ask for help immediately. These are not feelings to mess around with. Don't feel guilty about the way you feel. There are people who can and will help you to overcome feelings of deep depression.
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