I was the happiest pregnant woman on earth, so it didn't occur to me that after delivery, I would have to battle postpartum depression. Sleepless nights of changing diapers, breastfeeding, washing clothes and going to doctor appointments became horrible burdens to me. I was a mess! I did not talk to anyone and I basically gave my husband the cold treatment. One day, he said, "Well, you are unhappy. Do you want me to ask God to take the kids back?" That statement was like cold water in my face, a necessary rude awakening, and from that moment, I knew I needed to battle postpartum depression. Here are seven things I did that helped me overcome PPD.
1. Take a Bath or a Shower
I knew there was a need to battle postpartum depression … and it started with taking a shower. I have always been into long showers and baths even before pregnancy and I felt that I abandoned that the moment my body started adjusting to the two babies. It's a small amount of "me time" in a day dedicated to caring for someone else. Take it!
2. Talk to Your Partner
Or if you are a single mother, talk to any loved one or trusted friend. It helps to have someone listen to what you are feeling. I thought I had it all covered. Believe me, I read every book available about postpartum depression. My husband has been my go-to person, and he was very understanding about what I was going through. In this situation, you just need someone to listen to you and be assured that no matter what happens, they will be there for you.
3. Get out of the House
It may sound drastic to you especially when your baby is only days or weeks old but for the love of long term sanity, you need to get out. I took a timeout every week to just go to the mall and window shop or watch a movie. It is a nice feeling to be reconnected with yourself again and just be away from diapers and milk. I actually went to karaoke by myself in one of those times and it was such a wonderful experience to hear myself again. Spend time with yourself, it does wonders!
4. Consult a Professional
I did and I am not ashamed of it. The problem with me is that I think too much. I often think that I have the answers to all my questions or I can just somehow go to Mr. Google and ask his ten-cents worth about a certain challenging situation. But the thing is, I needed someone who could explain things to me. Someone means a person. A real, live person. It was refreshing to hear the perspective of someone who is not me, and who can look at the situation objectively, a professional.
5. Eat Well
And I mean really well. Getting back in shape (or dieting) immediately after pregnancy is not a priority unless you are a Victoria's Secret model, who needs to grace the runway in a month’s time. No ma'am, you need to nourish yourself well and be prepared for the new tasks ahead. No matter how I feel about my stretch marks, I have learned to accept my body because I was a conduit of two miracles… please do not starve yourself. There is plenty of time for dieting later.
6. Dress Pretty
Sometimes to feel better, I just wanted to look better. I did that again to battle PPD. I knew that if I dressed pretty and put on some happy colors, my mood would be uplifted and that would help me face the challenges that came my way. Dressing pretty means I can be confident and fierce in the way I deal with things.
7. Write Your Thoughts
It doesn’t have to be in pen and paper. I write it in my Android phone, which has been my constant companion ever since I got pregnant. I write my thoughts in a notepad application and email it to myself. Every day, I read the email I sent myself from yesterday and it’s surprising how erratic my emotions are. Sometimes I cry but often times, I laugh at myself. Write it down. It will help you channel those emotions, and identify patterns.
Battling postpartum depression is a tough challenge; but it is something that can be overcome with faith in yourself and trust in the people who love you. At the end of the day, think of the reason why you are here in this world and why you were given the chance to live your life. I would like to hear your thoughts. Do you have any experiences in battling postpartum depression?