Mothers experience a whirlwind of emotions after giving birth - from pure unbridled happiness to sudden sadness or frustration. Hormones are raging here, there and everywhere, and with it comes waves of unexpected ups and downs.
This is especially true of first-time moms. In fact, almost 80% of new moms fight some sort of postpartum depression. And while this is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, it can be clouded with what has affectionately been called "the baby blues." So how do you handle it all?
Here are 5 ways to beat postpartum depression so that you can enjoy your new little bundle of joy.
1) Talk about it. Don't keep it bottled up inside. When your friends or family peel themselves away from the baby and ask how you're doing, tell them. Really tell them. You'll find comfort in venting, and you'll likely discover that some of the women in your own life have battled these emotions.
It can be comforting to know that you're not alone in your feelings and that others (especially those whom you look up to and respect) have endured similar challenges after giving birth.
2) Accept other people's offers to help out. Family and friends are prone to offer help with all kinds of things in those first few weeks after you've had your baby, so say YES!
"Can we bring you anything?" "Can I make you something to eat?" "Want me to take the baby for a little bit so you can take a nap?" YES YES YES! Don't try and be superwoman, or you'll crash and burn. If people are offering their help, accept it.
3) This may seem like an ironic piece of advice given you have a new baby (who is likely keeping you busy), but babies sleep... a lot... and this isn't the time to seek solitude.
Isolation will only make your postpartum depression worse, so catch some Z's yourself, fix yourself a meal, or do something that you have always loved doing, like reading, catching up on trashy TV shows, or doing anything that keeps your mind off of the negative feelings you're trying to overcome.
4) Get some fresh air. It's easy to forget that you've been cooped up in your house for days playing "mommy," and a nice walk or some time in the sun could really help to improve things. Sunshine and fresh air could do you a world of good when you're feeling down, even if it's just for a few minutes.
5)Take care of yourself. In those first few weeks of motherhood, it's easy to avoid things like blow-drying your hair or keeping your pedi up. But sometimes we also let basic things go, like showering and putting on actual clothes instead of sweatsuits, and these "normal" things are what can really make a world of difference when it comes to recovering from a bout of postpartum depression.
Also, make sure you are eating enough (and choosing healthy options to get your body back on track) and drinking plenty of water (especially if you're breastfeeding)
6) Exercise or do something active. Exercising is something that you really need to ease into after having a baby, but when your body is ready, it can do a world of good. Just a walk, some light stretching or even a bit of yoga can completely change your mindset.