If you’re a lucky woman who has just recently had a new baby, you might be suffering from severe mood swings commonly known as the “baby blues.” These extreme fluctuations (highs and lows) in temperament are very real… don’t fall for that trick that “it’s just you imagination!” As a mom of four children who are all five years old and under, I can personally relate to the baby blues! It’s tough being a new mom, especially in that first year. I can remember such feelings of joy, and then mere seconds later, total trepidation and insecurity about my ability to nurture these new precious human beings now under my care (my first pregnancy was twins—so a double whammy!).
Beyond the baby blues, however, is a condition just as real and more severe, called postpartum depression. According to Mental Health America, the nation’s leading community based network for living mentally healthier lives, approximately 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues, while 10-20 percent are diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD). Although I never experienced PPD, I definitely had my fair share of the baby blues. Here are some ways that helped me cope, and I hope these tips are also helpful for you!
- First, take time to talk to someone who can relate. For me, it was my Mom, my mother-in-law, and my sisters. I had plenty of women around me who had been in the exact position I was currently in, and they encouraged me to “get it out.” Find yourself a small network of moms who can be your ears, and support you through this very new and exciting time in your life!
- Secondly, I’m going to share one of the best pieces of advice my family doctor gave me after I delivered the twins. He said, “Sleep when they sleep. No, seriously. Don’t clean. Don’t worry about the laundry. Just sleep or rest when your babies are sleeping.” I’m so glad I followed this, because I wouldn’t have gotten much sleep otherwise and probably would have lost a little sanity in the process!
- Lastly, take it in strides, but do try to get out of the house for a little fresh air and exercise. A 15-30 minute walk can do wonders for a new Mama who has been cooped up in the house all day. This also allows you to sort out your thoughts with a few peaceful moments, so your body and your mind get a nice reset!
If you’re a new mom, congratulations! You’ve come a long way, and life from this point forward will be very different, but every day will be priceless. Cherish it, and amidst all of the “mommy things” you do every day to care for your new bundle of joy, remember to take care of yourself too.
Celeste Jo Walls, Editor