Did you know that 1 out of every 7 new mums has postpartum depression? Here are 7 simple yet powerful things that helped me ease into motherhood.
Childbirth is perhaps one of the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging events for a woman in her lifetime. After months of waiting, when this wonderful bundle of joy finally lands in your hands, you are left wondering, “Wait, where did all the joy go?”
A survey shows that 1 in 7 new mothers in the US is afflicted with postpartum depression, lasting up to several months. Mayo Clinic suggests that roughly 80% of all women have the Baby Blues, a milder form of anxiety lasting a few days to a few weeks post-delivery. Having a one-and-half-year-old toddler myself, I felt childbirth was life altering. It took me months to get adjusted to the new norm, and perhaps a lifetime to actually get over all of the anxieties related to it. Here are 7 simple yet powerful things that helped me ease into motherhood.
1. Heal your body
It gets down to the same logic applied during an emergency in the flight. You put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping your child. Need some simple ideas?
Duh! Believe me sometimes it’s a huge struggle to get this basic thing done. The moments spent under the warm running water will soothe you in more than one way
I used to carry around a water bottle everywhere I went, especially when feeding the baby. Cannot emphasize enough just how refreshing a few sips can be.
No, not the time to test Jillian Michael’s Body Shred. I mean super simple post-partum stretches that can be done in the bed (after the OBGYN gives you the OK sign). Your stressed back and neck will thank you.
Unless you have a crazy family that lives right next door, chances are that most people do not want to disturb you in the first few months of your baby’s life. I almost felt like I was living in some kind of parallel universe where all adults had disappeared. Pick a quiet time to visit a library or the mall. Or join a local mom’s group around your neighborhood. You are bound to meet similar minded people. Nothing like meeting fellow mommies and sharing your stories.
There is an insane amount of new emotions you will experience during this period. Capture them in ways that gives you an outlet. During my baby’s first year, I created a blog with my best baby pictures and all of those itsy-bitsy things about him that I shared with family and friends. Looking back, it always fills me with fuzziest of feelings and quite a sense of achievement.
4. Move With Music
Studies done by researchers show that music can not only reduce the impact of postpartum blues but can also increase the attachment a mother feels towards her little one. So turn up the music, Mamas! The benefit of music on babies makes this an absolute win-win for both.
5. Do What Makes Sense to You
Be prepared for a barrage of advice from everyone (Ahem! Do not count me). You will need it but filter it for what really works for you. No pacifier, yes pacifier. No to baby sleeping on bed. Yes to baby sleeping on bed. You will hear all sides of a story. There is no right or wrong for most of these things. Do what is right for you and your family.
6. Take it Easy
It isn’t easy to treat postpartum depression. Keep realistic expectations for yourself. I remember, just completing grocery shopping used to be a major activity for the day. And then some days even that wouldn’t happen. It is absolutely OK. Your responsibility with the baby is a full-time job. Give yourself a pat on the back and relax.
7. Get Help
Delegate, simplify, and eliminate. I shamelessly applied all of these principles to my household chores. I delegated cleaning to an outside source and laundry to my husband; simplified cooking with takeout and meal kit services like Hello Fresh; and just did not do the things that I didn’t have to. The pantry can stay as disorganized as it can be. It doesn’t matter now.
Despite your best efforts, if you feel that your progress physically or emotionally is going downhill, get an appointment with a medical professional right away.
Breathe! Take comfort in knowing that every single mother on this planet goes through a similar phase. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Keep swimming, girl. Things do get better. Not sure about that? Wait until you begin planning for your next one!