Finding HOPE in the midst of postpartum depression can be so very trying . I know, I’ve been there. I understand the isolation, the guilt, the desire to run away.
Right now–today–are you struggling?
Do you feel like no one will ever understand?
Do you feel like a terrible mother?
Do you feel like all the moms around you handle motherhood so much better than you?
I promise you, you’re not alone in these feelings. But there really is HOPE. You will feel better. You will. Sometimes it just takes extra work and support to get there. But you can do it. You CAN.
From a mom of 2 who’s been there, here are my personal tips for starting on the journey to recovery. Ways I found hope.
1. Know that you are NOT alone. Truly. Please try to know that in your heart. I understand and so do many many moms who have been there too.
2. Needing help is NOT a weakness and DOES NOT make you a bad mom. I promise you. Postpartum Depression is a real medical condition that needs real treatment. Just like any other disease or illness. It is NOT your fault.
3. Making a doctor or therapy appointment or finding a support group will absolutely help you. BUT you may not have the energy to do it yourself. Ask a loved one to make the call and even take you. My husband did it for me when I couldn’t. There’s no shame in needing support.
•If you need immediate help, please call (or have a loved one call) the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources:
PSI Warmline (English & Spanish) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)
4. Remove unnecessary stressors. Does your dog drive you nuts? Look for a better home for him/her. Do you hate grocery shopping? Find a grocery delivery service. Does your house being dirty add to your stress? Pay for someone to come in and clean even if its just once, or once a month until you are feeling better. Your sanity is worth it.
5. Distraction. Distraction. Distraction. I know it can feel impossible to get out of the house, but truly being with other adults, and giving your child(ren) time to burn some energy will help you. Find a hobby that will relax or calm your mind. Find a way to take a bath all by yourself. Anything that will help take your mind off of things for a few moments and give you some much needed self care.
6. REST. Other moms have been there. We know what you’re going through. Ask a friend for help so you can take a nap, even if only for an hour. Pump so your husband can take a 3am feeding. 3 or 4 hours of straight sleep will help you so so much. Sleep is so important right now.
7. Arm Yourself with Information. One of the best sources I know for families struggling with postpartum mood disorders is Postpartum Progress. I can’t even begin to tell you how many moms I know who have been helped by this wonderful online resource. And if you’re looking for books to read, here is a great list compiled by Postpartum Progress.
8. Communicate. Please try to be open about how you’re feeling, with your husband, your partner, your best friend, a mom you just met. A therapist. Anyone who will listen and let you get it off your chest. Online support groups are AWESOME for this. Check out #PPDChat on Twitter. On Facebook, join #PPDChat Support or Mama’s Comfort Camp or blog, even if its just for yourself or anonymously. I know its scary to share, but talking about it really does help. Saying the words helps take away some of its power over you.
9. This Will Get Better. If you are feeling like you can’t see past where you are today, you really do need help. Things WILL get better even if you cannot see it right now. I promise you.
Speak Up When You’re Down
May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
Postpartum Support International (PSI) has declared May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and PSI has launched their first maternal mental health awareness month blog hop. 2013 Theme: Maternal Mental Health – Recovery and Coping Skills. If you’re interested in joining this blog hop, please find information and guidelines here.