I definitely had postpartum depression after I had my first child. I went from working a regular 9 to 5 to staying home with a colicky, jaundiced love-of-my-life baby and I felt so alone. My husband worked right across the street but yet I felt completely isolated from the rest of the world. I know other moms who felt the same way but were too embarrassed or sleep-deprived to say anything. Let me share with you what worked for me. I want to help you get up and get out of bed today, tomorrow and the next day, too.
1. Wash your face.
Yes, I know this sounds simple but seriously, it feels good. Even if you have to let the baby cry for a few minutes, your senses will thank you. Invest in a nice face wash that makes you feel clean and sparkly. You’re ready to move on to the next thing in your day.
2. Put something comfy on.
If you stay home, put on clothes that make you feel relaxed. It will change your whole day if clothes are one less thing you have to worry about.
3. Brew yourself a cup of coffee or tea.
Set the tone for your morning by hydrating yourself. You probably feel very tired from not getting much sleep the night before. Making sure you get enough fluids is the first step in feeling more awake.
4. Take it slow.
Unless you have somewhere to go, keep things simple. Your emotions and hormones are out of whack after giving birth and having low expectations about what you can and cannot do will set you up for success.
5. Pick one thing to accomplish today.
Just one thing. This might be hard for you go-getters but picking one thing and completing it – especially when you have postpartum depression -- is a miracle in itself. Try this, make your bed. That’s it. Just make your bed and go snuggle with your baby.
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6. Call a friend.
This is probably one of the hardest things to do when you’re feeling down. Calling someone is too much effort and talking is not even on your radar. Just pick up the phone and tell your friend that you are tired and just need an accountability person. Be honest and tell her that you don’t feel like talking but want to know if she’ll check in with you each day either by text or a phone call.
7. Get some fresh air.
Sounds easy enough, right? Not for people with postpartum. If it’s winter time, open the front door and breathe in the cold air. If it’s a heatwave in the summer, sit by the window and let the sun shine down on your face. It is so important to get light, actual light on your face when you have depression.
8. If you feel up to it, take a walk.
I started small. I was never into walking all that much but things change when you become a stay-at-home mom. Get a jogging stroller and get yourself out the door. One day turns into the next and then the next and so on.
9. See a counselor.
This might seem impossible with a new baby and it may be for you and your family but if you can, make an appointment with a counsellor and tell her what you’re feeling. You might benefit from one or two sessions. Either way, having an hour to yourself to talk to another adult who is trained to listen and knows what to say can make a huge difference for your self-esteem.
10. See a doctor
if you think you need professional help. You might need medication. That’s okay. It took me a long time to be open about being on medication for my depression. Now, I talk freely about it because I want other moms to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes taking medication is just for a short season in your life. Or, you might need it long-term. Whatever your situation, it is okay.
Having a baby is such an amazing time. Post-partum depression comes with the territory sometimes. Hang in there. Try these tips and work on getting yourself out of bed tomorrow morning.
Meagan Ruffing is a freelance parenting writer who finds purpose in sharing the hard things with other moms. She wants to help one mom at a time by encouraging them to be the best version of themselves. Follow her on social media and visit her website www.meaganruffing.com to sign up for her free 12-Day Mom Challenge.