“I love this baby so much, but I just don’t “feel” as joyful as I should.
I don’t understand?”
This is more common than you know, so today I am talking about how to beat the baby blues.
When I had our first son, I had heard a little bit about the ‘baby blues’. I didn’t hear much, just that it was sometimes experienced. No one really prepared me for what it was really like. No one warned me about all of the changes that were going to take place.
Your hormones are going to drop after birth. You are going to be exhausted from your delivery and lack of sleep that will not end for quite some time. You will be ‘on the clock’ 24 hours a day, taking care of your baby. You still LOOK pregnant. Breastfeeding is so much harder than you thought! Oh- and by the way, did you make dinner, clean the house, go grocery shopping and remember to pay the bills?”
This ends… It really does. You will feel like yourself again soon, but it may take time.
I struggled with the baby blues for some time- at least a month, I’d say. A friend of mine struggled even harder. She had a diagnosed case of PPD (contact a medical professional or find out about where to find one here). My friend had a rough time and it was hard for her and her family, but was able to seek help and that is what got her though this. (It is so important to seek help if you feel like you are suffering from PPD.)
In the meantime, if you are suffering from the baby blues, here are my suggestions to get you through this and onto your days of laughing when your baby laughs, smiling when your baby smiles and not crying just because the sun is going down.
If your child is born early (ours were), it can make the situation worse because you are adding a lot of fear and nervousness to that already-timid start to motherhood.
1- Get out of the house (and look nice- you’ll feel better!). Go to Barnes & Nobel or Target. Go shopping or just to a coffee shop. Try to meet other moms or join a moms group (MOPS was a great one for me.)
2- Work out! Exercising releases the same endorphines as an antidepressent. It is important and it will be a huge game-changer in how you feel.
Try these 5 quick workouts
3- Ask for help. Don’t try to “go it alone”. Ask for help. Let your mom help you with your laundry. If you have a supportive family, let them help you! If your family is anything like mine or my husband’s family, they are already trying to, so just let them.
4- Call a friend or family member. When I had our first son, we had just moved to a new area and I felt alone. I used to take him on walks around our new neighborhood, pushing the stroller with one hand and holding the phone with the other. Invite them over! Let your friends bring you dinner… and invite them to stay to join you!
5- EAT! Are you eating enough? Really? Are you eating the RIGHT kinds of foods and drinking water? Remember that not eating can make your blood-sugar fall and that makes everyone crabby. Don’t let that happen to you. You may not feel like eating (I didn’t want to eat much for those first few weeks… I wasn’t hungry and I really wasn’t in the mood to cook because I was so tired) but keeping fruits and vegetables on hand is a quick way to grab some much needed energy.
6- Just soak up those little cuddles. Talk to your baby and bond with your baby. Babies don’t stay babies forever…
All in all, you need to talk to someone. It may be your husband, your mom, your friend, your neighbor, your doctor… find someone and tell them how you are feeling because it can become more serious if you let it.
New moms cope with PPD in different ways, especially if the birth of your child was challenging. Following the guidelines above is a great way to get help before you slip into a situation where you are dependent on medication. Sometimes these situations lead to substance abuse, which may mask your PPD issues but don’t solve them. Being open minded to getting help early is the key to success. For example, in a recent study by Adephi University 67% percent of health professionals agree that it’s time to recommend new approaches should you find yourself in a situation where you are dependent. Read about the study here and know that your friends and family are here for you.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Adelphi University. The opinions and text are all mine.