Are you a mom struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or another form of postpartum mental health illness? Do you feel like something isn’t quite right, but you’re not sure what’s normal and what’s not?
Maybe you’ve heard of postpartum depression and anxiety, but you don’t know how to tell if you are dealing with them. You can read more about the symptoms of postpartum mental health disturbances here.
While struggling with postpartum mental health illnesses can feel like a scary and hopeless position to be in, I want you to know I’ve been there. I understand what it feels like — needing help, not knowing where to turn, maybe not fully realizing you actually need help.
Your postpartum mental health is so incredibly important for you and also for your baby. If you believe you are dealing with postpartum mental health disturbances, prioritizing your health is a must.
Baby Panache was born in a very dark time, as I struggled to cope with severe postpartum depression. At a time when I felt I could barely survive, I found a purpose to help me push through.
I needed something to focus on, something that gave me a drive and a passion. I needed a lifeline to pull me out of my postpartum depression. Baby Panache was all that for me.
So believe me when I say I get it. Postpartum depression and anxiety can feel crippling… They’ll have you wondering where you went wrong.
Remember, you haven’t done anything wrong!
Postpartum mental health illnesses affect more than half of women. It’s an unfortunate part of reality for moms.
The good news is you can turn it around. You don’t have to live with postpartum anxiety and depression forever. There are things you can do right now to help you cope.
Self-Care — Postpartum Mental Health Tips for Moms
Let’s talk about self-care. As a new mom, you might be rolling your eyes and sarcastically thinking “what’s self-care?”
I get it! After you have a baby, it becomes so hard to have time for yourself. It doesn’t come as easily as it did before kids. Any free time is now consumed with keeping little humans alive.
But when you choose not to prioritize yourself, you’re running on empty before you realize it. You ignore your basic feelings and needs, and you give, give, and give to those around you.
Do you see the pattern? When you’re constantly putting out and never putting in, you’re setting yourself up for burnout. And as a new mom, this often takes the form of postpartum mental health illnesses.
Listen, I’m not saying that postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression plagues you because of something you did. What I’m trying to say is there are guards you can put in place that fight against the onslaught of postpartum mood disturbances.
So, what does self-care look like postpartum?
These five tips are a good place to start creating healthy self-care habits postpartum.
Nutritional foods for postpartum mental health
Eating well is essential for busy moms. Do you know how much impact food (or the lack thereof) has on our mental health? Moms are great at eating a granola bar and calling it a meal.
Eating multiple balanced meals throughout the day is imperative to your postpartum mental health. Studies suggest that a balanced diet can help prevent postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.
In addition, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re burning an extra 500 calories a day on average. Take a little extra time to put together a nutritious meal for yourself. I promise it’s worth it!
Quality sleep improves postpartum mental health
We all know that sleep is a necessary component for the human body to function. We also know, as moms, how hard it is to get enough sleep. Especially in those early postpartum days, the adrenaline is still pumping and your hormones are raging — it can be hard to settle down and sleep.
However, studies show that adequate sleep can help prevent postpartum mental health disorders. So, do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Ask your partner to help with your baby at night, or ask someone to keep your baby for a few hours during the day so you can take a nap.
Exercise prevents postpartum mental health disorders
As soon as you feel up to it, you can resume gentle exercise postpartum. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about working out. Generally speaking, any exercise you were doing during pregnancy is safe during postpartum.
Several studies suggest that exercising during pregnancy and after birth can help prevent postpartum mental health disorders. Aiming for 30 minutes a day is ideal, but even a few minutes of exercise is better than nothing.
A few ideas for postpartum exercises are:
There are also a variety of postpartum courses, classes, and videos online. So even if you don’t feel like leaving your home, you can still get a workout in!
Self-pampering improves postpartum mental health
Taking time for yourself and doing things you enjoy can help prevent postpartum depression and anxiety.
Doing things for yourself doesn’t have to involve a lot. We all know time is limited as a new mom. It could be as simple as lighting your favorite candles around your home and playing your favorite music.
Maybe you enjoy reading — something you can do while the baby sleeps. Getting outside in the fresh air is always a good way to lift your mood. If you like to garden, you can lay your baby on a blanket beside you.
Creating Baby Panache was what helped pull me out of my postpartum depression. But it took a lot of work and time to make it happen. Doing something for yourself may require extra effort to fit it into your life.
The point is, you want to take a little time to make yourself feel cared for and loved too.
Social support, helping hands, and postpartum mental health
And lastly, make sure you have the support around you that you need. A loving partner, supportive family members, and trusted friends all play a part in your postpartum mental health. Studies show that strong social support systems can decrease the likelihood of postpartum mental health illnesses.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to those you trust if you need help. Their help could look like:
- Listening as you vent
- Scheduling an appointment for therapy
- Taking care of the baby while you sleep
- Coming over to clean your home
There is no shame in admitting that things aren’t right and that you don’t feel ok. In fact, there is strength in speaking out and asking for help.
If you are concerned that your postpartum mental health is not what it should be, talk to your doctor. Don’t let postpartum depression or anxiety continue to affect your relationship with your baby or those around you.
Head over to Our Story to read more about my own postpartum mental health journey and how Baby Panache became my saving grace.