Facing your Family: Talking About Postpartum Depression

With the holiday season approaching, it can be a joyous time– cozy fireplaces, yummy food, festive activities, and being with the ones you love. It’s also a time where families come together to share in the holiday spirit. Extended families near and far, travel to spend these precious days catching up; which can be extremely overwhelming for someone diagnosed with postpartum depression (the questions, the looks, the assumptions).

 

 

For the women that may be reading this that do have a stable and supportive family- that is fantastic and you are pretty dang lucky. However, I’m aware that not everyone can be so lucky as to have an understanding and supportive family when it comes to serious issues.

Case in point: Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum depression is now just getting recognized as a serious condition (finally!) and that’s because of our amazing generation of strong mamas that have been courageous enough to open up and talk about it.

Unfortunately, postpartum depression can still be viewed as a non-existent or easily brushed-off condition…which is why some mamas may have a hard time talking about it.

 

 

I’m here today to help you gain the confidence to face your family this holiday season if you have postpartum depression.

 

I don’t want to point fingers or anything, and I know it’s not their fault, but our mothers and grandmothers generations kind of screwed us over on this one.

Back in “the day” (yeah, I went there) women kept all their shit held deep inside. Motherhood was nothing short of amazing. Smiles, as well as spotless homes and home-made meals from scratch, were expected.

 We know that there is a HUGE difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression since the mothers before us came home from the hospital with their newborn babies.

 

 

Are you afraid to face your family this holiday season or you’re unsure how to talk to them about your postpartum depression? I have some tips that may help you.

 

 

 

Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself, or your condition

You should never have to feel like you have to explain why you’re feeling the way you feel. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’re depressed.

Also, don’t need to explain your condition– if someone doesn’t understand postpartum depression, then that is on them to research the condition. Not you. Please don’t feel like you owe anyone an explanation for your mental health.

 

Be prepared to answer the questions

Some people are genuinely concerned with how you are doing, so be prepared for rapid-fire questions, such as:

“how are you doing?”

“are you feeling okay?”

“how have you been?”

“do you need to talk?”

“do you need any help?”

I assure you that these questions are not meant to hurt you, but to help you.

 

 

 

Remember that most people really just want to help (and accept that help)

It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help is actually a sign of being a pretty kickass mama…and not to just ask for that help, but to ACCEPT it. If you aren’t feeling okay, then accept that and talk about it. You will have bad days during your journey, and that is okay.

 

 

When it becomes too much, change the subject

When you become tired of the endless questions and worrisome stares, changing the subject can be a great way to steer the conversation to a lighter spot. Some conversation ideas can range from the weather, the food (because it’s the holidays and we are ALL eating), to which types of movies are playing in the theater.

 

Bring along a moral support buddy

If the thought of visiting family really skeeves you out and you’re unsure how to do it by yourself, bring along a moral support buddy. Tell your buddy to stick close by your side and even make up a code word that you can say to him/her when things get too much.

 

It’s not you, it’s them

If anybody seems standoffish since they found out you’ve been diagnosed with postpartum depression, remember: it’s not you, it’s them.

They don’t understand what you’re going through and chances are, they don’t even know what to say to you. I think it’s still important to engage with these people, however, if your effort is more than they are willing to give back, it’s okay to take a step away from this relationship. Perhaps they will understand your struggle someday, or perhaps they won’t, either way, it’s not you, it’s them.

Try to stay out of uncomfortable situations

If you know that going over to Aunt Gerty’s house will be emotionally and mentally exhausting, perhaps it’s best to sit this one out. You don’t need to worry about whose feelings you may be hurting if you don’t go to the big dinner– because your mental health is the most important.

 

 

Place yourself in comfortable situations

When we are in our own environment, we can feel less threatened by our worries and fears. Perhaps having the holiday get-together at your home (where you feel most comfortable) is an idea.

If the thought of having a house full of people overwhelms you to the point of hiding under the covers, you don’t have to plan it alone! Call up a trusted family member or pal to help you coordinate the party or dinner.

How does the holiday season affect your postpartum depression? What would you like me to talk about in my next Holiday survival post? I would love to hear about it in a comment or through e-mail. I’m always here to listen, and I know how important that is this time of the year.

I hope you have a fantastic holiday this year and remember~ 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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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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How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

It’s easy to put off getting treatment for postpartum depression or anxiety when your a busy mom but unfortunately, having no time isn’t the only reason for not seeking treatment. One huge reason may be that moms don’t know where to even go or to talk to for help. And if you do find someone to talk to, when will you go? Who will watch the kids?

 

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!)

Thankfully, thanks to modern technology, help has come a far way from sitting in your therapist’s office on a chaise lounge. Now, you can get help from the comfort of your own home. And in your PJs, if you please.

I’ve put together a few ways to get online help for postpartum depression

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Online therapy

Online therapy is a thing, and yes it is legit.

You can sign up for online therapy in the comfort of your own home and have the ability to speak with your therapist through a live chat or e-mail.  There is no waiting for a referral from your doctor or sitting in a stuffy waiting room.

Online therapy is great because:

you don’t have to leave your house, so you don’t have to worry about the stress of finding someone to watch your kids.

somedays we don’t feel like leaving the comfort of our home and interacting with people.

you don’t sit face-to-face with a therapist, so it appears a little less intimidating.

you get a therapist fitted to your needs.

you can arrange your sessions on your time.

you have a plethora of resources at your disposal– much more than a therapy session, you get workbooks, meditation, and much more– available to you whenever you need it.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Send a text

Sending a text message can literally save your life.

When your feeling overwhelmed, talking to someone on the phone may feel like an impossible task, but texting is a modern convenience that moms can take advantage of.

Here are numbers you can text for 24/7 help:

IN THE US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

CANADA:

Text HOME to 686868

 

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Make a phone call

There are numerous hotlines you can call when you need to reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

US:

1-800-273- TALK (8255)

CANADA:

1-833-456-4566

INTERNATIONALLY:

International Bipolar Foundation has a list of international phone numbers.

Join a Facebook support group

There are Facebook support groups out there for every mom that needs help and encouragement. I know how tough it may be to want to open up to someone about the feelings you are having and especially to people you don’t even know. But a Facebook support group is great because you can be as active (or inactive) as you’d like.

Here are some Facebook support groups for PPD and anxiety:

A New Day Peer Support Group for Moms with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group

PPD and anxiety: Moms Helping Moms

Life After Baby (PostPartum Depression/Anxiety Support)

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Download an App

In this ever-so-growing-technology World, there is literally, an app for that. Busy moms can now download an app at to have for their own convenience and help.

Here are some apps you can download for PPD and PPA:

PPD ACT- The app will be a way for us to collect information for the study, which has two parts. You will be given feedback about your responses to the questions. We can point you toward doctors in your area who specialize in evaluating and treating women with postpartum depression.  Available on iOS devices in Australia, Canada and the US and on Android devices in Australia and US.

MGH Perinatal Depression Scale (MGHPDS)- a free iPhone application designed to refine how women around the world are screened for postpartum depression (PPD). The app includes questionnaires about mood, anxiety, sleep and stress at important time periods during and after pregnancy. The questionnaires will identify which specific symptoms are most critical in the diagnosis of PPD in women ages 18-45 who are pregnant or up to 12 weeks postpartum. 

Announcing the MGH Perinatal Depression Scale at the App Store- The MGHPDS smartphone app includes digital versions of perinatal depression screening tools including the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) as well as other instruments which measure relevant symptoms associated with peripartum psychiatric illness: sleep disturbance, anxiety and perceived stress.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Message a Friend

It’s always nice to have an open support connection with a friend that can be your emergency contact in times of need. This friend should be someone you can absolutely trust and depend on to help you when you really need it.

With the vast array of information at your fingertips, it can be easy to find help for postpartum depression, but please always consult your doctor, especially if you believe your PPD is getting worse.

 

 

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