After suffering in silence with postpartum depression for nearly a year after giving birth to my firstborn, I was determined to have a much more positive postpartum experience this time around. This Saturday will make three months since birthing Legend and so far I’ve had just that, a more positive postpartum experience. I know a lot of women go through some degree of postpartum depression whether they are aware of it or not. If you’re reading this post, you’ve been led here for one reason or another. Of course I recommend seeing a therapist or professional for all mental health concerns but here are some more ways to be proactive in managing postpartum depression.
Limit Meat from your Diet
I could be biased about this one because I don’t eat meat at all anymore. September will make a year since I’ve had any. I noticed that without the added hormones from meat, it’s a lot easier for me to notice when my hormones are off balance. I’m not suggesting that you completely cut meat out of your diet if you don’t want to, but consider making some alterations. Just having one meal a day without meat you would notice a difference. Pancakes, fresh fruit, and hash browns make a great meatless breakfast by the way. Limiting meat doesn’t mean that you have to eat salad for every meal.
(Vegan pancakes and a mushroom, spinach, and sweet potato medley I made for breakfast two weeks ago)
(Barbecue cauliflower and a baked potato topped with sautéed onion, mushroom, and barbecue sauce)
Move Your Body
I know exercising is the very last thing that you feel like doing. You’re tired and I empathize with you. However, when you move your body, you gain energy. Before my 6 week check up, I made a point to do some kind of light movement every day or every other day. Rather it was dancing with my son in the living room, walking up and down the stairs once or twice, or taking a short light paced walk outside, I instantly felt better. Energy in the body can get stagnant if we don’t move. I would stay in bed all day after having my oldest son and that kept me in a slump. After I got cleared to go to the gym at my 6 week appointment, I waited an additional 2 weeks before I went to the gym. I listened to my body, I wasn’t quite ready at 6 weeks. I exercise now because I want to feel good. I always have more energy when I leave the gym, feel more confident, and I feel stronger. I’m not focused on getting my body back, just being my best version. Let that be your motivation too. Don’t do it for the gram.
(10 Weeks Postpartum)
Find a Creative Outlet
You just brought the life that you created into the world. You still have a bit of creative energy in you even if you don’t “feel” too creative. My art has been my therapy. I write poetry, music, stories, and paint. Coming up with new recipes is another way that I utilize my creative energy. Find something that works for you. That could be crafting or finding some simple diy projects on Pinterest.
Painting: “Sacral Power”
Make time for meditation even if 5 minutes. It helps me get grounded, centered, and calms me. I’m also less irritable throughout the day and can think clearly. A good app for beginning meditation is “Headspace” available for free in the App Store and Google Play.
I may not be able to manage without my journals every day. I have to write my thoughts on paper. It’s therapeutic and gives me comfort in having a safe space to be honest. Let’s be real, there are some things that you’d rather not say to anyone even if they are willing to listen. My journal is a judgement free zone and I can always go back and see my growth when I want to do some reflecting for personal development.
Writing or saying affirmations are beneficial. During this time you’re more vulnerable to believe things about yourself that do not serve you. Speak positively over your life until you believe it. Write affirmations in your journal, type them in your notes on your phone, or say them in the mirror. I also write positive words on my vision boards, the walls, or a place that I look often. I post affirmations at least three times a week for daily inspiration blog posts. I also have some in my last lifestyle post, Affirmations for Postpartum Depression.
Find Your Thing
My thing has been blogging. I purposely started my blog right before Legend was due. I wanted to have a way to do something towards my purpose on a daily basis. Before having Jarvis Jr. I was accustomed to being busy all the time. I usually worked multiple jobs, volunteered, and served in some capacity. After having Jarvis Jr. I didn’t have my own “thing” until three months later when I returned to work. Even if it’s reading a new book on something that you want to do, that will help. Or maybe your thing is makeup. Play in your makeup or watch some tutorials on YouTube. Just do something that you feel good doing that empowers you.
When you look good, you feel good. Putting on some clothes or simply combing your hair will boost your mood almost instantly.
Ask For Help
Easier said than done but you must communicate your needs for help if you feel overwhelmed. Don’t allow your pride to get in the way of optimal mental health.
Communicate with your Partner
After my first pregnancy, I expected my husband (fiancé then) to just know what was wrong with me.That wasn’t fair to either of us. Now I’m quick to let him know when I need help. I even tell him when my energy is low and that I just need a moment to shake back. Sometimes that moment can be a few minutes or sometimes a few hours. Either way I communicate my needs.
Positive Vibes Only
I know it’s not possible to be positive every second but it helps to try. Surrounding yourself with positive people, listening to positive music, watching positive shows, and looking at positive images are all ways to increase the positive energy in your life. This is not the time to watch sad movies or drama filled shows. My thing last time was watching lifetime. That never made me feel good, just more down about something when the movie went off. Sad songs aren’t the way to go either. Listening to upbeat songs or “positive energy music” on YouTube is free.
Spend Time Outside
There is healing in Mother Nature and this is something that you can do with your baby or your other children.
Limit Social Media
If you don’t have time to try anything in this post, use the time that you scroll social media. Also I find that scrolling social media can be depressing, especially Facebook. While you can find inspiration and encouragement from social media, it also creates a false perception of your reality. Remember most people are posting what they want you to think about them or what’s popular, not necessarily what’s true.
Don’t let this information overwhelm you. See these as tools that you can experiment with at your own pace. Remember that at every given moment that you’re always doing your best and that’s always more than enough. Share this with someone that you feel could benefit. Love ya!
Here’s a pic of me and Legend 10 weeks postpartum. I’m happy to be able to smile this time around.