Monday, June 8, 2009

Postpartum Depression

Dear Moms,
It is very common for a new mother to feel some depression during the first few weeks after having a baby. I, myself, had post partum depression, with four of my eight children. They may complain of weepiness, mood swings, sadness, or even nervousness. The bout of baby blues is usually related to hormone swings. It may even occur later because of the stress, as well as the changes associated with having a new baby. I wanted to give some practical wisdom that one can do when faced with post partum depression:
1. Go see a doctor. If medicine helps, thank God for it.
2. Eat right (five basic food groups and especially protein) Remember that, “The body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. “ Take care of it.
3. Get plenty of rest (nap if necessary). The word of God says, “He gives His beloved a good night sleep.”(Proverbs 3)
4. Get a Spiritual Director in the form of a Titus 2, Older Woman, who listens, understands and has been there. In other words she has done the journey that you are walking on. Talk it out. Get problems and worry off your chest. Together pray. “Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
5. Take one hour a day for “me time, “doing what you like to do. Rest, relax, and restore. “Love your neighbor as yourself. “
6. Take a date night with you and your husband. The two shall become one. (Genesis 2:24) Avoid talking about your situation on the date night, but rather enjoy one another. Keep it lighthearted and fun.
7. Pray if you are able, but if you can't pray know that others are standing in the gap for you. 8. Receive the Sacraments often; they are grace for your soul.
9. Spend time with Jesus in the Adoration Chapel, just sit at the foot of the Cross with Him and don't say a word.
10. Get someone to come over and help you. Many hands make light work. (A maid, a mother or a friend)
11. Get around people. Find a mom's support group of caring friends (MOPS or Mom's Club)
13. Exercise, even if you do not feel like it. It will lift your spirits. Find the flavor of exercise that you enjoy. Make a commitment to exercise at least three times a week.
14. Fix yourself up. Get a new outfit, a new hairdo, or even a pedicure. This will help to boast your self esteem which always suffers during a depression.
15. Guard your friendships. Get around positive people who will pull you up, rather than drag you down.
16. Plan a trip with your husband or your family. Focus on the detail, rather than your problems.
17. Get a new hobby, join a new class, make a new friend, and join a new ministry.
18. Do something for others. Make a meal for a new mom. Serve at the soup kitchen. Tutor a child.
19, Accept the things you cannot change. Change the things you can. Have the wisdom to know the difference.
20. Remember this too shall pass. One wise woman once told me, "that sometimes it is Ok to put one foot in front of the other and not even smile, but just make it thru the day. God understands and He loves you.” These two sentences freed me up, because she had done the journey that I was on.

Any of these suggestions may help, but it is possible they may also make things worse. So, if you experience more stress or depression with any of them, then obviously you should not do them. If the symptoms of depression are mild you may not need to see a Dr., but if you have any thoughts of harming yourself or family, then you must see your doctor. Above all do not take it out on your baby. If you cannot cope, call for help. Scripture says, “A woman is saved thru childbirth.” This bundle of joy we receive from God teaches us to lay down our lives daily, while God is giving us the grace to do it. The sacrifices we make, form us into the image of Our Savior Jesus Christ. We as moms, bear patiently with sleepless nights, spit up on our blouses, very little time for our self, endless patience and many more daily sacrifices done in love. The rewards however, outweigh the sacrifice given: the first smile, the baby’s first step taken, the first time our baby says “Mama,” brings joy to our heart. Babies will truly win your heart and we will know what God meant by a “Mother‘s Heart.”

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