How I Prepare Postpartum Self Care Tips for Depressed Moms
What this matters to you
Depression is extremely common. About 1 out 8 or 8% to 13% of mothers are affected by depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
You will have worse odds if you are in Mississippi, where close to 1 out of 5 – 23.5% of new moms had suffered Postpartum Depression.
Self-care is extremely hard when you have postpartum depression.
I know. I have been through it. For me depression self-care checklist is not just some info that’s nice to have; it is my must-have tool.
My own experience fighting the demon
After two miscarriages, I didn’t don’t feel like myself. I wonder when and whether I will ever be me again.
I sometimes wonder why. You would be wondering why.
You will sacrifice. A lot. To you baby, husband, and family. You will feel trapped, stretched thin, and exhausted from all the sleep deprivation. Your brain will start playing tricks on you. You will find yourself less smart, more forgetful, and less attractive. Your body shape will be as if you were still prego!
You are constantly worried about your baby. And some of you may even feel worried about your husband.
These are the feelings and thoughts that might occupy your mind.
Don’t worry. Don’t fret. You are not alone.
Many new moms face such self-doubt.
Many new moms are not aware of the life-changing events they are about to experience. All at once.
It’s good that you are reading up on this. Do your research. Be prepared.
Having a well-structured approach will make it easier to regain physical and mental health. Things won’t go according to plans. But, you feel ready. You are ready for it. You are strong. You are strong because your baby needs you to be.
And, you can.
Let’s get started.
Taking Care of Yourself when you have postpartum depression
Why this is happening
I have read a ton during my search to understand more about depression – what causes it and how to deal with it. I do not want to talk about the specifics of any event, but the causes seem to all boil down to 3 things:
- We tend to blame ourselves more when shit happens
- We tend to ignore and are not good at talking about our emotional hunger
- We simply don’t think we get depressed easily or if we do, it won’t be hard
Can you self-diagnose depression?
Mental health is something that is generally hushed and swept under the carpet. But with a lot of people opening up about their struggles with depression, there is much more awareness.
Postpartum depression is very normal in new moms across the globe.
Do a small assessment and identify areas you need information or initiatives. Use the Depression Self Care Checklist below.
Depression Self Care Checklist: Quick assessment
- Do you find that you’re not bonding with the baby?
- Does caring for your baby make you feel worse and that stresses you out?
- Are you always on your phone and haven’t been outside in a while?
- Are you always feeling sad and feel that your life is in a downward spiral?
- Is your diet (eating style) what you want it to be?
- Do you go out for a stroll and get some fresh air?
- Do you want to visit a cafe, spend time on your own and feel guilty if you do so?
- Have you had a bad day caring for the baby and that has been leading you to suicidal thoughts?
- Do feel you are not good at looking after the baby and that leaves you feeling bad and makes you depressed?
- Do you feel you are no longer physically attractive and are losing your positive body image?
Generally, the more yes you have, the more you want to talk to someone who listens – start with your family, close friends, and don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling if time permits.
Public resources to help you with mental health:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: a mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress
- Postpartum Support International: help you can get for the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum.
Creating Your Own self care rountine
- Grab a piece of paper or use Google Doc
- Call it daily self-care routine
- Write down your answers to each question
- Write down the event or image that leads you to think it’s a “yes”
Tips: Confide in a friend who will hear out your frustrations without judging you for your depression helps improve your mood.
- Next, seek some actions and changes
- Write down what you don’t like in some areas
- Write down why to get to the specifics, e.g., my belly fat or lack of sleep
- Prioritize by assigning a) difficulty and b) impact or value to you
- Brainstorm a list of initial ideas – be flexible and collaborative
- Work with your partner – by now you should have specific examples to give, constructive ideas to work with your partner
- Negotiate with your partner or family
- Keep track of the things you are working on
- Get help from your family and friends, e.g., get someone to babysit for some time and utilize that time for your mental wellbeing
Tips on Creating Your Own Self Care Routine:
#1. Be honest with your answers.
There is no point lying to yourself.
#2. Be patient.
Don’t attempt to fix everything at once. Write down what you need to do first. Do them later. It’s easy to get overwhelmed (which is normal). Take it slow.
#3. Be consistent
Start really small and get into the habit. Try not to focus on intensity on day one. Do one thing each day until a month, three months, six months.
#4. Be flexible
Your first version of self care routine won’t be the final self care routine. You simply cannot foresee all the obstacles life will throw at you.
#5. Be mindful of your depression self
Your depression self is not you. It might be your alter ego. Try label her or give her a name. Winsont Churchil calls his depression self “black dog”.
#6. Take it easy.
Know that there is no right or wrong answer to self care routine.
#7. Make it a daily self care routine
I will give some ideas for things you can put into your daily self care routine, such as taking a walk with your partner after dinner.
Ideas for your depression self care routine
List out all that you loved to do before the baby, your daily self care checklist before the baby, and write down those things.
Focus on your well-being, have fun with the baby, and keep the negative thoughts and feelings of being depressed at bay.
Create a to-do list for yourself. Keep updating as and when you get time.
When the tasks are listed out, you tend to complete them in the short breaks that you get while the baby is sleeping. And once the tasks start getting done and out of the way, you can relax.
With the erratic sleep schedule of the baby, a new mom tends to struggle for enough sleep. Sleep when you can.
Continue to practice self care routine for at least 21 days, as they say any habit takes that long to create.
1. START YOUR DAY WITH AFFIRMATIONS
Start your day with the kind of person you want to be. Say at least three positive things about your identity but make it a bit more forward-looking.
Your identity plays a key part in your life. That’s why you have to hear yourself say these affirmations out loud. Don’t just say it to your heart.
- “I’m a strong woman! I can do this!”
- “Today will be the best day of my life! I will learn! I will grow! I will become better and stronger! Nothing can bring me down. Nothing!”
- “I’m bigger than my problems. I will look back and laugh at these problems 10 years later because I will be 10X better.”
- “I’m resourceful! If something doesn’t work, I will find 10 other ideas and try it 10 different ways until I find a solution. Nothing can stop me!”
Finish your day strong. Go over these affirmations when you go to shower, that’s usually when I have my own time. Make it a point to write down three positive things you should be grateful for. Make it about yourself.
- I am thankful to have a healthy body/body part that you are proud of
- I am thankful for the hardships which made me a better person
- I am thankful to have a healthy baby such as [Name of your baby]
that you aim to do during the day. Train your brain to look for positives and there is a high chance that you will start feeling positive.
2. DO A POWER POSE
Do a power pose in front of a mirror. Pretend you are a wonderwoman. Stand tall. Mind your body posture. Watch how you talk to yourself and others.
3. CREATE YOUR “ME TIME”
Yes, now you are a mom and you are responsible for the well-being of a little human, but that doesn’t take away the focus on the person you are; a lady who likes to be pampered, to have her ME time.
Run a bubble bath and soak yourself for the longest time, and shave your legs.
Take your time.
4. LOOK GOOD AND FEEL GOOD
Working on your appearance because is one of the best self care routines to start with. Don’t feel if you are a stay home mom, your appearance doesn’t matter anymore. You matter to yourself. Do this for yourself.
So, get yourself ready every morning. Put on a little make-up to start small. Apply mascara today. Wear that thing you once always do.
Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. If applying some make-up can lift your mood, why not?
If your husband asks you what’s the occasion, say “I’m in the mood for it.”
5. BE SOCIAL
Being on social media does not count. You have to go out and really be SOCIAL.
Go out for a drink without the baby, have a double date with hubby and friends, go shopping with your mother, go to a cafe, spend time with yourself, listen to your favorite music.
Don’t be afraid to contact an old friend and say Hi, I need some girl time, lets get lunch.
Or just call someone while the baby is sleeping and talk to them.
No one does phone calls anymore, it will surprise you how nice it is to talk to someone even about the silliest things.
Have a real meal and order your favorite dishes, healthy or not, eat them in front of the television, just as you did before the baby.
Getting out of the house for fresh air, or having an adult conversation can make the difference between feeling like you’ve lost yourself to mental illness and gaining who you were before.
6. SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS FOR YOURSELF
Your family needs you to be good, they rely on YOU!
So it is high time you start taking responsibility for your self care.
My favorite thing to do is use a 90 Day Planner (which is included in the Envisioned Motherhood Guide) and every 3 months I schedule things like:
- Nail Salon
- Hair Salon
- Doctor’s appointments
- Dental Appointments
All you have to do is set ONE day where you start calling or setting up appointments for these items. You put them in your schedule and when it is time YOU ACTUALLY GO.
I know for me when I schedule something I am more likely to do it.
Instead of saying you will go tomorrow, make an appointment.
By making these adjustments for yourself (not just for your baby – all those doctors visits the first year are draining) you are more likely to keep putting yourself first when you need it.
7. MAKE A LIST
What is it that you miss the most from your old life? Staying up late, going on dates, eating pizza every Friday, dancing, taking a shower without interruption, painting while drinking wine.
Write it all down, even the silliest things.
Try to incorporate at least 1-2 items that you used to do before kids into your life now, and see how you feel by doing so.
8. EAT REAL FOOD
Food can change your mood, too. You might think you are busy to eat. Most of us just forget to buy good food. Make real food easy to make and readily available. Make it a point to have a real meal once a week.
9. CREATE A SIMPLE EXERCISE PLAN
No exercise is too small to do. Think squats, push-ups, and planks. Do 1 a day. Increase gradually. Push up when you get off the bed. Squat when you waiting for the water to boil.
Walking around the block does wonders. Fresh air helps you regain your body and mind. Bring your husband with you. He will appreciate your help to be healthy. Get his ideas on an exercise that you can do together.
Here are a few ideas you can start doing (after 6 weeks postpartum & having the okay from your doctor)
- Take a walk
- Weight Lifting
- Mommy & Baby Yoga
- Stroller Jogging
Read up on depression self care is a good step to help yourself.
Self care helps.
Let’s recap the big items you should have gathered from reading this.
- Take care of yourself and your mental health, when you have postpartum depression, is a slow and steady marathon that ONLY you can control
- Remember to take care of your outward appearance that is the easiest thing you can start doing right now
- Then work on being social with family and friends
- You also have to put yourself first and set your appointments up
- Create an Exercise Routine that you can actually follow
- Then place it all together and make a list of things you loved before and try some of them now as a mom
Depression makes life difficult, but staying depressed is not a choice that one should make for themselves. Self care is a powerful tool.
Include the simple steps on this postpartum depression self care checklist– you can start making daily changes to your self care routine and start implementing self care tips while you also help heal and overcome your postpartum depression.
Remember that a mom is first a human. Don’t lose hope and don’t forget that the worst is over.
Now go ahead and read the below for more tips
Let me know which part of this article has been most helpful to you