We’ve all seen it in the movies and TV shows, and probably read it on Facebook as well, the mommy-to-be pushes a couple of times (without even breaking a sweat, ruining her make up or her hair) and a couple of minutes later, she is handed a beautiful baby all wrapped up in a perfect little blanket (no blood, no goo, nothing). He cries, they cuddle, and they all live happily ever after. But then, it’s is your turn, your big day, you pushed for hours, and maybe you were able to have the baby naturally (after sweating, and pushing, and cursing), or you needed a C-section, who cares, you have your precious baby in your arms. You feel like you should be on top of the world, but you are just so tired and cannot stop crying! Feelings of guilt and fear of the unknown start crawling through your skin. Why don’t you feel extremely happy like in the movies? Why does everything feel unnatural? Why is the baby still crying if he is fed, changed, burped? While some women are able to just snap out of the trance a few days after giving birth, it takes a little longer for some of us. The good news is it’s not you… it is your hormones causing the mess. The other good news is, it will pass, and you will feel happy (and tired!), enjoy motherhood and will be able to stop crying.
These are my 10 Tips to help overcome the baby blues.
1. MANTRA: Have a mantra and repeat it every time you feel you are going to fall apart. For example: “Calm and Ease”. This will help you root down and stabilize.
2. CRY. It’s Ok to cry. Life did a 180 on you, and if you add lack of sleep, hormones, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, the emotions will feel very raw and it is perfectly ok to just let it out. No judgment or embarrassment. Then breathe; you will see you have some extra space for air without that in your chest.
3. TALK . It might be your neighbor, it might be your friend or family member, it might be a perfect stranger on the supermarket. But get it of your chest. Whatever you feel like talking about. Even if it is about how much poop a tiny newborn produces. Or how hard it is to breast feed even though your mother in law said it shouldn’t hurt and it was so easy.
4. WALK it off . I know, you just had a baby, and in between feedings and diapers, and burping and more diapers, it might seem really hard to get 5 minutes for yourself. But please, please try to find 5-10 minutes every day to take a quick walk. Preferably outside, the wind will help clear your mind, and make you feel more refreshed than a nap.
5. EAT: Try to make it a priority to have at least one good/complete/sitting down meal per day. It will help you feel like you are doing something for yourself by nourishing your body. (Don’t forget to read the next blog post of what foods to eat)
6. MEDITATE. Yes. At least for 5 minutes every day (Don’t forget to look up the quick meditation video with lots of tips of how to do it). I found it easier to do it in the mornings, right after I woke up on the days I woke up before the baby.
7. DELEGATE. If you are lucky enough to have a support system around you, make sure you keep them busy! They can help with cooking, cleaning, taking care of the baby while you shower, sleep, walk or meditate.
8. LEAVE THE HOUSE. The logistics might seem a little complicated at first (packing the diaper bag, car seat, bottles, blankets, etc), but doing so, will help you feel independent, and will bring some pre-baby familiarity back into your life.
9. FIND A SUPPORT GROUP. Finding a group of other moms going through the same hurdles will definitely make you feel better. The Work(in) is here for you.
10. ASK FOR HELP. If you feel that the baby blues are getting worse and it has been over 6 weeks of feeling down, talk to your healthcare provider.