It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes during what is arguably one of the most joyful (albeit stressful) times in our lives, we can’t help but to feel depressed.
Thankfully, it has nothing to do with how you feel about your newborn bundle of joy, it’s actually quite common. Approximately 70-80% of all new mothers experience negative feelings or mood swings after childbirth.
However, if your symptoms last for over two weeks, you might be suffering from something referred to as postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression requires medical treatment, so if you’re still feeling depressed after two weeks, make an appointment with your doctor ASAP.
Keep in mind that postpartum depression can show up anytime within a year after giving birth, so it may not be immediately after delivery.
If you’re suffering from post-baby blues and wishing you could snap out of it and enjoy the new light in your life, here are some tips to try. As mentioned above, make sure to see your doctor if symptoms last for more than two weeks:
1. Create an army of support
It can be easy to feel like you’re on your own when raising a new child, even if you have a partner at home pitching in. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings with your partner, friends, and family. Post-baby blues are normal, and anyone you know who has given birth can likely relate. By sharing your emotions, you should feel less isolated.
Another strategy is to join your local community of new mothers for a support system of women who are going through very similar roller-coasters of emotions. Try looking up Mommy and Me classes, such as these Mommy and Me fitness classes right in Ashburn. As an added benefit, exercise can also help with the negative emotions you may be feeling.
2. Live the type of healthy lifestyle you want your baby to live
It can be easy to care so much for your new baby that you neglect your own mental and physical health, but that will eventually catch up to you. You should want to exhibit the type of healthy lifestyle you ultimately want your baby to live.
This means physical activity, whether it’s the aforementioned Mommy and Me fitness classes, or simply taking a 15 minute walk in your neighborhood – sunshine also boosts your mood as a bonus!
It also means putting the right things in your body. Whole, natural, and organic foods will nourish your body and brain to help you feel better mentally and physically. The last thing you need during post-baby blues is a sugar rush and crash from a soda or bag of gummy worms.
3. Find luxury in the little things
Being a mother can feel like a full-time job, plus overtime. More specifically, a full-time job that you never get a vacation from (at least not in the first year).
Instead of feeling bummed out that you won’t be taking a vacation anytime soon, learn to find luxury and joy in the little things. Use your baby’s nap time to soak yourself in a bubble bath with some fancy products (we love the homemade bath bombs at Be Beauty).
Or, have your partner take on baby-duty one night while you settle in with a hot cup of tea, a face-mask, and your favorite book. While raising a baby, leisure time can feel like a luxury – and it is! Don’t take it for granted.
4. Communicate with your partner and remember that you’re in this together
While it’s important to make time for your partner and to designate couple time during the first year of parenthood, it’s also important that you remember you’re in this together.
Share your feelings with your partner, and never be afraid to ask for more help from them if you feel that they’re not pitching in quite as much as they should be.
Take the tips from #3 and apply them to your relationship – find special moments in cuddling on the couch with popcorn after your child has gone to sleep. It’s easy to feel like taking care of a newborn is work – especially when it comes to delegating tasks between you and your partner. Take a step back and remember how amazing it is that you’ve created a life together – and turn the “work” into “play!”
5. Don’t be afraid to say no
Time is a luxury, and as a new mother much of your time is going to be occupied with your newborn baby. Don’t feel bad saying no to obligations that you don’t want to take on during this time.
Too often we feel like we need to overwork ourselves to get ahead, or take on multiple responsibilities to “have it all.”
Take this time to hone in on the activities and responsibilities that you really want to be doing, not the ones you have to be doing. Don’t feel guilty telling your co-worker that you’re unable to cover her shift, or telling your friend that you’re not going to be able to make it to her holiday potluck. And don’t ever feel guilty telling your partner that you’re tired and need them to help out around the house more.
For more resources on postpartum depression, check out these links: