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When I brought my daughter home, I was on that birth high. Sleep had been non-existent in 72 hours, but it didn’t really matter. I had the most perfect baby and I was so certain that I had managed to escape the clutches of the baby blues.
Well, I was wrong.
The day after we got home from the hospital, I hopped in to the shower, excited to get clean finally. I turned the water on, reached for my scrub, and bam! Out of nowhere, I was hit with a wave of anxiety and sadness. It had washed over me and overtook my breath all at once. My husband came in to check on me. He found me sobbing underneath the shower head. I couldn’t even find the words to tell him what I was feeling.
Let me tell you, that hormone change is no joke. Baby blues kind of gobbled me up and spit me out whole for that first week. So, I’m here to tell you what you can (probably) expect with the blues and 5 ways you can overcome them.
What to Expect
About 70-80% of new moms experience at least some symptoms of baby blues during the first two weeks postpartum. While it’s not totally known why it occurs, it’s often attributed to hormonal changes. Symptoms include:
- mild detachment
- poor concentration
- mood swings
I had all of the above in some severity. What I wasn’t expecting at all was how confused my feelings made me. I worried that they would never end, that I would never feel elated with my baby. And to top it all off, I have the worst coping habits! Learn from my mistake.
5 Ways to Overcome Baby Blues
- Ask for help. This was my biggest weakness of all. I wanted to be Super Mom and do everything all on my own. That just made it harder on me and my pressing anxiety. You know all of those people that said, “If you need anything, let me know” ? Well, joke’s on them. Now is the time to kindly accept their offer. Have people bring you food, or watch the baby for 10 minutes so you can shower. We were incredibly fortunate to have my husband’s mom and sister around. Dinner was cooked and laundry was folded.
- Take 5 minutes for a morning routine. It sounds kind of funny, but trust me, it helps. My 5 minute routine was brush my teeth, wash my face, brush my hair, spray on perfume, and stretch. Just taking those small hygiene steps right when I woke up helped me feel human again.
- Talk it out. Ugh, I know. I hate talking about my feelings and I hate admitting when I’m having trouble. (Maybe it’s that Super Mom thing.) My husband- bless him- would practically have to pry my emotions out of me. But boy was I glad when he did. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner, might I suggest online groups? There are plenty of mom groups on Facebook you can join. They’ve been through it, too!
- Go outside. I cannot stress this enough. Sunshine, fresh air, a change of scenery. I began going for morning walks with my little one in her stroller. Just 10 minutes outside boosted my mood for the entire day.
- Eat well. I don’t know about you, but I’m basically a different person when I’m hungry and lacking nutrition. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, it’s important that you get in your daily calorie intake with quality food. I planned ahead of time and stocked my breastfeeding survival basket with granola bars, fruit snacks, and I always had water on hand. Remember to ask for help! Have someone cook or pick up food. After all, you just popped out a human. You deserve it.
It’s Not Getting Better
If you’re still experiencing severe symptoms longer than 2 weeks postpartum, be sure to speak with your doctor. Postpartum depression is real and deserves to be treated with care. Find help at any of the below resources:
Postpartum Support International– 1 (800) 944-4773
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