Preventing/Combatting PPD on Blogher’s Mother Act Day

24/Oct/2007

I’ve been pretty open about my past experience with Postpartum Depression (or Postpartum Mood Disorder as it’s now known as). I always thought this was important because nobody was talking about it when I was going through it in 2004. I felt alone. I was lost. Nobody told me I might not want to be around my new baby or that I’d regret having her in the first place. I assumed this made me a horrible mother. What I didn’t realize, is that 80% of new moms feel this way.

Obviously, I wasn’t alone.

There’s been a movement to make women aware of the danger signs and symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorder. Instead of re-telling my tale here, I thought I’d conclude the helpful tips I learned after I got help.

Let’s recap: The

Five

Six things to focus on to combat/prevent PPD are (as told to me by my health care mental professional: AKA Shrink).
1. Adult Social Interaction
2. Exercise
3. Sleep.
4. Nutrition.
5. Creativity.

and 6 (Added by me): organization.

You’ll see that number 3: Sleep, is a riot. HAHAHA! SLEEP?! Yea, right, if I was sleeping, I’d probably not be K-EERAAZZYYY. And it’s true. You would be a lot better off if your sleeping wasn’t being interrupted five to eight times a night by a screaming child. That alone is enough to make someone off kilter. Add in the hormonal changes and the change in your brain chemistry and you’ve got a recipe for fun.

Since you can’t control how much your new infant sleeps, the other things become that much more important. Nutrition becomes a priority. If you let your cravings take over during pregnancy (let’s face it, who doesn’t?) it’s time to get back on track. Make sure you eat. Eat protein. Eat healthy carbs. EAT. Depression can suppress your appetite so that you won’t eat which spirals your blood sugar down and your mood along with it. So please, eat. Even if it’s a royal pain in the ass (and it can be). Do it.

The creative portion can be a tough one, too. While you’re caring for your newborn, you might forget that you are an adult, not just a parent now. You have ideas! You have thoughts! You know things aside from sleeping schedules and feeding times. Tap in to your previous hobbies. Write. Blog. Paint. Play your musical instrument. Maybe even find a new hobby, something to focus on like knitting? Playing the guitar?

And, number six, added by yours truly, a type A specialist in todo lists, organization. Depression, as I was told, creates a sense of overwhelmed-ness (is that a word? No? It is now. Look! I’m being creative! With the English dictionary, no less!) I suffer from this even in the best circumstances. I take on too much and then can’t remember what I was doing. It’s become especially bad since having Baby O. My brain? It is fried. I barely remember what I was working on when the next task pops in to my head and I’m off to do said Next Task.

What was I saying?

See… it’s ok to become an idiot. It’s a THING. It’s called Mommy Brain. Learn it. Love it. Use the excuse. It’s real. But don’t spiral in to a catatonic state. Make a list and check it twice. You’ll find control in something again.  Since that tiny person has so much control over you, it’s important to feel like you are still in charge.

Please join us today as an act of making this mood disorder public. Speak out. Tawlk amounst yourself. And if you are participating, please sign the Mr. Linky here. Please? Let’s reach as many people as possible.

*Please check back later today for a podcast on Mamas Pod about our experience with PPD. Three out of Four friends has some experience of various degrees. Come identify with us as we share our stories. (Coming 4pm PST)

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Comments

  1. This is a great list, thanks, L. I will be printing out and saving for February. I had a serious case of baby blues last time (I don’t THINK it was outright PPD, but maybe), and don’t want to repeat that to such an extent. I know it’s unavoidable, but hopefully these things will help.

    By el-e-e on 2007 10 24

  2. Thanks for letting us know about this.  the first step in combatting is education.  Thanks for helping mothers like me.

    By rebecca on 2007 10 24

  3. I really liked the organization bit! I’m so trying to get more organized before baby #3 comes along. Get a cleaning routine… dinner routine… TIME FOR SELF routine… I wish my damn printer worked so I could plaster this list ALL over my house. Seems like your feeling much better this time around. I’m so glad. XOXO.

    By kelli on 2007 10 24

  4. This is great!  I just love the practical-ness of this.  The fact that somehow I’ve managed to implement some of this stuff on my own, makes me realize that yeah, I was dealing with a little bit of PPD myself.  Thank God I seem to be coming out of it too! 
    Thanks for sharing!

    By sarahgrace on 2007 10 24

  5. I completely agree with the organization thing. My son was 7 1/2 weeks premature and spent the first 15 days of his life in the NICU. I filled up my time (when I wasn’t at the hospital) with making lists of what I still needed to get, Doctor appointments that needed to be made, writing thank you notes. Basically anything to keep busy and keep my mind off being home without a baby. Oh, and lots of Target therapy. Baby shopping at Target makes everything so much better.

    By Someone Being Me on 2007 10 24

  6. I am here!

    By Secret Evil Blog on 2007 10 24

  7. I love that you are posting about PPD. I am a fighter of depression since 2000, and everything you talk about for PPD are things that I have learned to apply in my daily life.

    By Mrs. Mustard on 2007 10 24

  8. Just knowing that you are not alone is so very very important.

    By Oma Flinger on 2007 10 24

  9. I know I appreciate this list. I was a bit depressed with my first, but more so with my second child who is clingy and does NOT like to sleep in her crib. She prefers the couch. So yeah, just getting the—sleep—would make a huge difference in my attitude towards life.
    Thank you for sharing Mrs.F.  Still working on getting out of this but ever so often I see light at the end of the tunnel, and I know there is hope. Yes, Hope. Sweet Hope (here is to hoping she sleeps through the night tonight).
    I am not an A type personality; but I really couldn’t agree with you more…when things are organized and run smoothly, that really helps. Guess what I just did the other day? I organized our laundry bins—one for each person in our house plus one for towels. It is making my life so much easier because I **HATE** Laundry. Now to do that for dishes…

    By hilary on 2007 10 25

  10. Those are great tips, even if a person doesn’t have PPD!  Thanks for sharing!

    By Holly on 2007 10 25

  11. you rock

    By candace on 2007 10 26

  12. As mommy of baby #3, I am already crazy.There is no time, I am exhausted and need abreak, but what you said is sooooo true!

    By Jen Rizzo on 2007 10 28

  13. I’d like to invite you to join our Surviving and Thriving Mothers Photo Album (http://postpartumprogress.typepad.com/photos/happy_healthy_mom/index.html) at Postpartum Progress. The photo album helps to show mothers who are currently suffering that they will survive and become happy mothers.  It features women who have recovered from postpartum mood disorders and their children.  If you would like to be in it, email me a jpeg to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), and include your first name and last initial, as well as which illness you suffered and what year it was, and the state you live in!

    By Katherine Stone on 2007 10 30

  14. I found myself with PPD just last month when my 4th child was born Between a baby, full time business, no sleep, and general life, I was a bit stretched to the limit.

    For about 3 weeks I was just out of it. So I can relate to PPD allot and the idea of talking about it is great!

    You have a great blog here Mrs. Flinger!

    By Tara V on 2007 11 01