This Isn’t What I Expected – Overcoming Postpartum Depression (5)

The fifth chapter is titled “I’m Tired, Fat, Ugly, and Still Wearing My Nightgown at Noon”:  Making Time to Take Care of  Yourself.

–  “Finding time to care for herself is one of the most important yet most difficult challenges for a woman with PPD.  For many women, the effort it takes to do what the baby, the house, other children, and/or the job require leaves no leftover energy for self-nurturing.  For others, it just doesn’t feel right to put one’s own needs first.  But neglecting yourself is costly:  Eventually, you will become so worn down that you are unable to nurture anyone else.”
–  “Taking care of your physical self is a necessity, not a luxury that you can put on hold.  There is a direct connection between how well you eat, sleep, rest, and exercise, and how you feel emotionally.  It is imperative that you pay attention to the signals your body sends out and learn how to take care of yourself, little by little.”
–  “Whether you have been a couch potato all your life or an exercise maniac, postpartum exercise can be extremely beneficial.  One recent study found that people who were very inactive were almost twice as likely as those who were physically active to become depressed.”
–  “Perfection is a very tough standard to meet right now for new mothers.  Perfectionism often masks deep feelings of shame and insecurity.  It’s a trap, though, because it prevents you from actively working on self-acceptance, and it squanders precious energy.”
–  “Women with postpartum stress syndrome are often perfectionists who feel guilty if they “waste time” sleeping when they could be doing something else.  Even worse is the guilt they feel if they fail to provide instantaneous mom/bottle/breast/cuddle at any and all times, day and night.  When you feel like a failure, it’s hard to see depriving your baby of even a few minutes of instant gratification as a positive step.”
–  “The hard part when you have PPD is holding back from immediately soothing a crying baby.  Some mothers feel so insecure that they have mixed feelings about giving up the small amount of self-affirmation that a nighttime cuddle provides.”
–  “We cannot overemphasize the importance of taking a rest during your baby’s nap.  Do not do the laundry, cook dinner, mop the floor, write thank-you notes, address birth announcements, or otherwise lift a finger during your baby’s nap.  Of course, if this were so easy you would have already done it, right?  Trust us, this is the single most important piece of advice we can give you.”
–  “If you constantly feel anxious, you are operating in a chronic overcharged state, like an engine running at high speed all the time.  It can be very hard to switch the engine off suddenly.  You may be having a symptom called “rumination,” in which you cannot stop obsessing and worrying about things, whether large or small.  This is common in PPD.”
–  “Most women are discharged from the hospital within twenty-four to seventy-two hours after giving birth and usually don’t see their doctor until the six-week checkup.  There is hardly time for a woman to recuperate before she is thrust into the throes of motherhood, often without the support of nearby family members.  Although there is much fuss about the baby’s initial adjustment and the baby’s physical needs, there seems to be an expectation that the mother will run on empty for a while, that postpartum physical depletion just comes with the territory.  But all mothers, and especially mothers with PPD, must take special care to monitor their own health and well-being.”
–  “It is essential that you make your own needs a priority.  Taking care of your physical self through good nutrition, sleep, rest, and exercise will better enable you to care for your baby.”

~ by cmb0414 on May 10, 2010.

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