(5 month old Duke and me)
Two days ago, I posted a bit about my experience with postpartum depression. As I said, time is your best friend. It seems that's the only thing you've got on your side sometimes. But I wanted to share a few more things I found to be helpful.
1. Listen to your body/mind/heart and act accordingly. If you need to say no to a friend coming over, say it. If you feel up to it, say yes. If you desperately need help, ask for it. Don't make decisions based on what other moms do or what you think people expect you to do. Do what feels right and comfortable.
2. Go outside! In the days right after we got home from the hospital, my mom would come over and we'd walk up and down my neighborhood street. Seriously, just 15 minutes outside can help your outlook - even if it's just for that 15 minutes.
3. Try to be around people every once and awhile. Yes, take #1 into consideration. But if it's been weeks since you've seen life outside the four walls of your home, then it may be time to get out. Even just getting in the car to drive through Starbucks can be enough sometimes.
4. Sleep. And I'm not going to say "sleep while the baby sleeps" because I don't think that works for everyone. But I will say sleep sometimes when the baby sleeps. There were times I actually felt normal because I got to do house chores or mindlessly read my Facebook feed while Duke was sleeping. If that makes you feel normal, do it! But do try to take a few of those naptimes and get sleep yourself.
5. Have some alone time with your husband. (No, I'm not expecting you to leave your 6 day old baby for 7 hours to go play at OSU Walkaround. That was crazy.) I am suggesting a quick getaway to somewhere like a coffee shop with your spouse. It doesn't have to be long - just enough time to talk without interruption and focus on one another. It's a helpful reminder of why you did this whole thing in the first place.
6. Write it out. Write out how you're feeling - what makes life hard, what makes it easy, when you are the happiest, when you are the saddest, how you feel about your new baby, etc. Writing it out helped me. I ended up sharing a lot of it on my blog after the fact. Hearing from other moms who felt the same way was so encouraging and refreshing.
Like I said before, none of these things are "quick fixes" for PPD. They won't solve the problem, but they will help. They will allow you the breaks you need and they will get you through to the next day. And sometimes, that's all you can do - get to the next day.
In the meantime, know that your feelings are temporary. I know, they feel permanent. I literally thought my life was over for good. I loved my son so much, but my life? I didn't even know what it was anymore. That will go away. Your hobbies will find their way back into your life and the things that make you you will return. Thankfully, it is just a season.
Any other helpful tips or words of wisdom from moms out there?