Facing your Family: Managing your Postpartum Anxiety

With the holiday season approaching, I realized how we can get triggered with our postpartum anxiety. Let’s talk about that for a minute now: Imagine that you are in a room full of people (some you may never have even met before…like Aunt Gerty’s BFF) for a family dinner. You have your adorable baby in tow and everyone and their mother wants to gobble her up; they want to hold her, feed her, maybe even kiss her (oh, boy..let’s save that for another post!) how does that make you feel?

Is your heart racing just thinking about that? It’s alright because I get that. Postpartum anxiety is a real (insert female dog word here) and it can make you want to run and hide indoors with your baby. Alone. Preferably with some Netflix and hot chocolate.

 

 

Now to get back to my scenario from before, what would YOU do in that predicament? Would you not say anything (even though your insides are as hot as lava and you are screaming obscenities)? Would you watch over every single person handling your baby like a worried Mother Goose? Would you kindly mention that your babe needs a diaper change and run away with her to the nearest bathroom to escape the infinity of hands laid upon her? Would you escape to the bathroom just to breathe…and cry?

Let’s talk about managing your postpartum anxiety this holiday season.

I want to help you manage your postpartum anxiety with some tips and words of encouragement (because I got you, mama!!!)

 

 

Decide if it’s the time to let it happen

Maybe this will be the first time taking your baby around so many new people and you don’t feel comfortable with it.

Will it be the first time that other people will hold your baby? Will you let it happen?

Setting up a game plan can help you determine what you’re going to do (yes– Aunt Gerty’s BFF can hold my baby or not. I’m going to baby wear the whole evening) knowing your decision can help ease your anxiety.

 

Write your anxieties down

What triggers your PPA? Write it all down so you can (not only) get it off your chest, but to understand your PPA a little bit better. Knowing what triggers you may help you start to overcome your PPA.

 

Establish boundaries

If you don’t like it for other people to change your baby’s diaper or to kiss her on the face, then establishing boundaries is key and it’s okay to let people know this.

You are your baby’s advocate.

 

Bring along a moral support buddy

If you’re unsure whether or not you can make it through the dinners or parties this year, bring along a moral support buddy.

A great moral support buddy can be your significant other or a trusted friend. Ask them to stay by your side throughout the event; even talk about using a code-word in case things get too heavy and you need to leave.

 

Meditate before those big dinner parties

Try to meditate before heading out to a family function– Headspace is a great app for meditation (and even better, it’s free!)

Meditating can calm and relax you… just what you need before facing families and big crowds.

 

Sit this one out

If you’re not feeling ready to face your family this holiday season, consider to sit this one out.

Remember: you know yourself, and your baby, better than anyone else. Choose to put yourself in a healthy and happy environment!

 

 

 

How can I help you face your family this holiday season?

Do you have any…

questions, comments, concerns, or just need to talk? I’m here. Reply back to me or find me on facebook.

I’m wishing you a happy and healthy holiday. Keep smiling~

 

 

 

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7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues with Postpartum Depression

Hey there, mama. Chances are, it’s cold (or getting cold) wherever you may be in the world; perhaps you like the change of the season, or perhaps you don’t (I’ve always been partial to fall and winter). While the falling leaves and snow can be pretty, the novelity only lasts so long…because when we’re four months in and there’s no end in sight of gloomy days, it can put us in a slump.

The winter blues (and for some it can be seasonal depression) can literally be the pits. Seriously. When the clocks turn back and it’s dark outside for more hours than the sun is up, that is freaking depressing. I hate it. And having postpartum depression sure doesn’t make it any better.

It’s proven that when fall time rolls around, people can get into major slumps. And that’s expected. The days are shorter, the weather gets a lot cooler, and with the holiday season approaching, it can make depression deepen.

 

 

I can remember last winter: when I was at the worst of my postpartum depression. I felt so lonely and isolated. The days were so gloomy here in Germany…where spotting the sun was such a rare occurrence. I wondered how I would survive the winter with feeling so depressed.

Somehow, I got through that ever gloomy fall, winter, and spring (it was a very rainy year) and since the winter time will be approaching, I want to share some of the things that helped me battle the winter blues last year.

 

 

*disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. 

 

 

 

1. Stay on a routine.

Staying on a routine can keep you busy and focused on life. This rings so true for me– if my routine is out of whack, my mood can be severely affected.

A few ways I like to incorporate a routine into my lifestyle is:

*create monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists to keep you organized,

*set monthly goals to keep you focused,

*wake up a little earlier (before the kids) and have some time for yourself– workout, coffee, shower,

*invest in a kick-ass planner to help keep your life on track– this planner is perfect for every mom.

 

 

 

2. Take daily vitamins and supplements.

Not just in the winter time (but every season) is it important to consume daily vitamins and supplements. When the weather begins to change– hello cold and flu season— it’s crucial to supply your body with the proper vitamins. Not only can vitamins help keep your body healthy, but also your mind.

A few recommended vitamins and supplements to have on-hand during the winter:

Vitamin D

A lack of Vitamin D can result in: depression, fatigue, muscle pain, and getting sick often. During the winter months, include 1 dose of Vitamin D with every meal.

 

Elderberry syrup

A daily dose of elderberry syrup can prevent sickness and promote a healthy well-being during the winter months.

Check out my past blog post on elderberry gummies (syrup recipe also included).

 

SAMe

SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) is a naturally occurring chemical component present in all cells of the body. SAMe appears to be an effective treatment for depression and may be used in conjunction with antidepressants.

 

Natrol 5-HTP mood and stress

Helps promotes a positive mood and can be used in conjunction with antidepressants.

 

 

3. Get outside

Yes, even when it’s cold and drab outside, you should still get outdoors; bundle up in layers and go for a walk! The fresh air can really do wonders.

I make it a daily habit to get outside with my kids– we dress up in the warmest clothes and just get out. It can be a simple walk to the park or even sitting in the backyard for a couple of mintues. It helps so much.

 

 

4. Invest in a hobby

Investing in a hobby can make the winter slumps a bit bearable while giving your mind something to stay on track with. Need some ideas? Here are a few… you can:

*take up knitting

*scrapbooking

*writing (my personal favorite)

*refurbish old furniture

*learn to play an instrument

*start a new workout regimen

*sew

*arts and crafts

 

 

 

5. Stay busy with friends

Another great way to help beat off the winter blues is to make plans with a friend. Go out for coffee. Meet for brunch. Go shopping or to see a movie. Have a game night with some wine. Just talking to a friend can make you feel so much better!

 

 

 

6. Soak in an epsom salt bath

If you know me, you know how I love my epsom salt baths. No joke, I take an epsom salt bath at least once a week…and I try to take more during the winter months.

It turns out that soaking in a warm, epsom salt bath has sooooo many benefits (and yes, I am going to list them right now)

*relaxes the body and mind

*soothes sore muscles

*detoxifies the body

*uplifts your mood

*improves circulation

*promotes a restful sleep

I always reccomend the Dr. Teal’s brand of epsom salt- looooove it!

 

7. Exercise

Of course, I can’t leve out exercise on this list. Why? Because exercise is really so good for your mind…I exercise mainly for my mental health (and I get rather cranky when I skip a couple of days.)

When it’s too cold to leave the house for a run and gym fees are a thing you can’t afford, Daily Burn and YouTube offer at-home workouts that can be done right in the comfort of your home.

 

 

 

How do you beat the winter blues? I would love to hear about it. Reply back with a comment!

 

 

 

 

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How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

Okay mamas, let’s admit it: we all have suffered from mom guilt from one time or another. Maybe it’s because we bottle fed instead of breastfeed or let our kids eat Fruity Pebbles for dinner– whatever the case, the mom-guilt just happens. We are all human.

Mom-guilt hit me full-force when I was struggling with my postpartum depression.

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

 

As moms, we not only want the absolute best for our babies, but we want to BE the best FOR our babies. Let me tell you right now, mama: that is NOT always going to be possible (or realistic!) If you’re struggling with postpartum depression right now, you already know what I mean by feeling the mom-guilt— it can be so debilitating and exhausting! But, I can promise you one thing: it will not last forever.

I’ve managed to learn a few things along my journey with PPD and I want to share them with you.

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

 

Admit that you need help sooner than later

If you believe that you have PPD, let me tell you something mama– it’s way better to seek help now than later.

I will admit that I waited too long to seek help and it was a lot harder for me to get back to being my old-self.

I also learned that it’s perfectly fine to admit that you need help! It doesn’t make you a bad mom!

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

 

Stop falling into the traps

There are so many traps of motherhood– believing that we need to always be physically and emotionally present for our children may be ranked number one on that list. It’s very easy to get caught-up in these feelings, it’s even easier to guilt ourselves into thinking that we are a “bad mom.”

When we struggle with PPD, it’s incredibly difficult to feel like we are doing “our best” as a mom. The truth is, many days, we don’t even feel like getting out of bed and getting dressed, let alone plaster on a happy face to take care of tiny humans.

It took me over two years to realize something: I will never be the perfect mom. I will never be totally available for my kids 24/7– things may happen completely out of my control. I won’t always be able to make my kids happy. And all of that is perfectly okay.

You are struggling with PPD and in this moment of your life, it’s okay to not be totally available, it’s okay to not be happy all of the time. Remember: you are still human, and it’s okay to not be okay.

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

Find your tribe

Postpartum depression can feel like you are the only one in the world going through it. I want to reassure you, that is the furthest from the truth.

It is possible to get through this, and finding your tribe makes postpartum depression so much more bearable to get through.

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

When you find your tribe, other women that you can connect and relate with, you will find so much support with your PPD– you will know that you are not alone. It’s also essential to get out and talk with other moms and to vent about how shitty motherhood can sometimes be (I won’t sugarcoat that, honey.)

I think it’s critical to have at least one mom-friend that you can call whenever the proverbial shit hits the fan. We need to know that we’re not the only mamas struggling in the trenches of motherhood.

 

Do it for your babies

You need to get into the mind-set that your babies need you and they need you to be a healthy mama.

Perhaps you feel guilty whenever you practice self-care (again, another pesky mom-trap) but you need to know that taking time for yourself isn’t only beneficial for you, but for your babies.

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

The same goes with reaching out for help– it’s all part of that self-care love that you, as a mama, need to practice.

Remember: you need to be the best mama that you can be for your babies. They need you. They love you.

 

Know your worth

Mama, you have to know your worth in this world, and that is this– you’re an awesome, bad-ass mama that can get through anything. Now is the time to say, screw those people that want to judge you, they don’t know you.

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

I want you to start to focus on you. I want you to start to eliminate all of the garbage from your life– whether it’s a toxic relationship, social media, or self-loathing, I want you to eliminate all of that and focus on yourself.

You are so much more than you give yourself credit for, and it’s time for you to start to acknowledge that!

 

Those are some of the ways that I stumbled through my mom-guilt while I was struggling with PPD. I have to say, that I’ve really come a long way– the mom-guilt is no where near as strong as it used to be. Maybe I needed to grow more as a women, or maybe I needed to grow more as a mother, but whatever the case may be, I know I was able to push through it thanks to close support and of course, this blog. <3 so thank you, my trusted readers! You have given me the outlet I needed.

Now, I want to hear from you– have you experience the mom-guilt? What was it, and how did you deal with it? Leave me a comment or message me.

 

 

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Oh-So Yummy {And Toddler-Approved!} Elderberry Gummies

Goodbye Summer! The end of summer, for me, is a bit bittersweet– I’m always said to see the warm, sunny days go away, but on the other hand, I love the cool, crisp autumn days and seeing the beautiful fall foliage around me. (And do I need to mention, pumpkin spice lattes?!)  Yes, I’m a sucker for everything fall.

 

 

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

But what I’m not a sucker for is my kids getting sick. The cooler weather always brings on those seasonal ickies– Mother Nature’s reminder that it’s officially time to put the swimsuits away–the dreaded cold and flu season.

During this time of the year, I would rather stay in my house every single day then to risk exposing my kids to a potential germ. However, that is not possible and since nobody has invented a human bubble yet, my plan has been to load my kids up with vitamin goodness.

Which brings me the reason for my post: Elderberry gummies.

I will tell you how to make them…keep reading!

Last winter, I discovered the amazing benefits of Elderberry syrup. Holy moly. I swear by this stuff now. I really do. My I’m a believer story is when I was feeling a sickness coming on, so I took a tablespoon every 2 hours– I kid you not when I say that I felt better the next day. No Advil, Day or NyQuil needed! Elderberry syrup has since been stocked in my fridge ever since.

 

all that yummy goodness!!

 

With the cold/flu season approaching, I wanted the syrup in full-stock for my family, but I also needed an easier way to make sure my two toddlers were getting the goodness into their tiny bellies. Because if you have toddlers, you know how, *ahem* difficult, they can be.

It’s when elderberry gummies came into my mind– so I began to research how to make them. It turns out, making your own elderberry gummies is INSANELY easy. I mean, really, really, stinkin’ easy. And wayyy cheaper than buying them already made.

Before you make your gummies…

You will need elderberry syurp. I make my own because again, it’s so insanely cheap and easy.

Here is my favorite (and I’m tried quite a few) recipe that is tasty and equally easy to make!

courtesy of Wellness Mama

2/3 cup dried elderberries, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen

  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (local honey is best)

Instructions

  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
  4. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
  5. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  6. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
  7. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
  8. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  9. Ta-da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.

Notes

Standard dose is ½ tsp – 1 tsp for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

 

Now, what you have all been waiting for…..

 

recipe adapted by Coconut Mama

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons gelatin
  • 1/4 Cup Homemade Elderberry Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 Cup water

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup of elderberry syrup with gelatin.
  2. Let the gelatin sit in the water for a minute or until it gels up.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan on low heat. You want the water to be hot but not boiling.
  4. Pour the hot water over the gelatin mixture.
  5. Use a whisk and mix the ingredients together.
  6. Add the honey and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour mixture into molds.
  8. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set.
  9. Store fruit snacks in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Take 2-3 gummies a day for optimal well-being!

 

toddler approved by my picky three-year old (:

 

 

I’m happy that I could share with you my trusted and well-loved recipe for elderberry gummy bears. These gummy bear vitamins will help keep your little ones healthy this cold/flu season.

Did you make these? I want to hear what you think in the comments, please!

 

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How to Feel Better When You’re a Sleep-Deprived Mom

If I were to ask you, what is the number one thing that you miss pre-children, what would it be? I can guarantee that half of my moms out there would tell me the number one thing they desperately miss is sleep.

Are you shaking your head right now? Can you totally relate? I’m not surprised!

*disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

My boys are 3 and 18 months and I’m still exhausted so I get you, mama. The truth is, the sleep-deprivation doesn’t go away when your baby hits toddler hood.

I know how tough it is in the beginning of motherhood– you’re experiencing so many new changes, (with your body and your new baby) you’re juggling this new normal, (whatever that may be) all while battling barely any sleep.

I’ve always heard people say that moms need to rest when they can, but in reality, that is just not happening– even when we know how crucial sleep is for our overall health.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

Getting enough sleep isn’t just crucial but  it turns out, when we are sleep-deprived, it can drastically affect postpartum issues such as postpartum depression and anxiety and intensify the symptoms. Sleep-deprivation also leads to these other health issues:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • affects mood
  • problems with relationships

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

I will share with you how to feel better when you’re a sleep-deprived mom.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

 

1. Sign up for a sleep program

 

Do you need help with getting your baby on a good sleep schedule? Is your 6 month-old still waking up several times during the night? Is your toddler waking up or taking short naps? Are you just about at your wit’s end because of exhaustion?

I may be able to help with that!

Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel drained, overly emotional & irritable on a daily basis?
  • Are you anxious at bedtime, worrying about how much you’ll be up at night?
  • Is your marriage strained, because you have no energy for each other?
  • Do you get frustrated or impatient with your baby because you feel like you never get a break?

Signing up for a sleep program for your baby may be your answer to getting more Zzz’s at night time. I have teamed up with Jilly Blackenship from Baby Sleep Made Simple— a Mom as well as a Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Registered Nurse to give tired mamas everywhere a chance to get a better night’s rest.

21 Days to Peace & Quiet may be for you!
for more information:

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

2. Take an epsom salt bath

A simple self-care love can do wonders when you feel down and out! My favorite go-to is to soak in a nice epsom salt bath.  I looooove Dr Teal’s epsom salt soaks, like these ones from Amazon.

These are my favorite epsom salts because essential oils {like lavender and eucalyptus} are already mixed in for an extra soothing experience.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

3. Call a friend

It’s crucial to have a mom tribe– we all need a helping hand now and then– to call upon a trusted girlfriend and just say hey, I’m exhausted, Timmy has been running me ragged… send help {and wine!}

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

It’s the best when you can just unload on someone to help you out in times of need!

 

4. Eliminate the toxins from your life

When your already exhausted, even the littlest things can set you off– try to eliminate the toxins from your life so you can focus on yourself and your family.

Some small ways to eliminate toxins from your life are:

  • limiting social media
  • improving diet
  • cutting ties with non-supportive people
  • limiting alcohol/drugs/etc.

 

5. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating a well-balanced diet can drastically improve the way you feel. This means…

  • cut out sugars/processed foods
  • cut out soda/sugary drinks
  • cut down on coffee/other caffeinated beverages
  • eating more veggies
  • getting enough protein and good fats
  • drinking at least 8 oz. of water a day

Not only will you begin to feel better, but you will gain more energy to keep up with your tiny human(s)!

 

6. Exercise

It may sound a little counterproductive, but fitting in at least thirty minutes of exercise per day can have you feeling energetic and just plain great. I realize how hard it can be to fit in a daily workout, but I’ve made it a priority to squeeze in some form of physical fitness 3-4 times per week.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

Daily Burn offers amazing workouts that you can do {right in your home} and there are various fitness channels available on YouTube. Involve your baby. Get creative with it. You will feel better!

 

 

7. Meditate

Get out of your head for a little bit and meditate to feel better. In case you are totally new to meditation, Headspace is a cool app that offers guided meditation and psst, I heard meditation helps with insomnia.

 

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

8. Know your limits

Forget about all of those dirty dishes waiting in the sink or the mountain of laundry scattered on your sofa. It’s okay to not get it all done right now and it’s important to know your limits and rest.

Remember: your house will never be spotless again and that’s okay. Take care of your baby and yourself. Rest when you can and know that you are doing an awesome job!

 

I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to feel better when you’re a sleep-deprived mom and that you will use these tools to help yourself. What did you think of them? If you have any tips of your own, please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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