My postpartum experience had gotten progressively worse with each baby: increasing in depression each time. The worst was when I experienced unusual fear, paranoia, and disturbing thoughts after having our fourth child.
So when I found out I was pregnant with Baby #5, I knew I had my work cut out for me.
With five children relying on me, I knew I had to do everything in my power to protect my health.
I couldn’t afford for postpartum depression to get worse.
So, I prayed and asked God to help me.
I invested those nine months in preparation for the postpartum season. I’m so glad I did.
Now that our sweet baby is 7 months old, I can honestly report that I have felt better and thought better than during any other postpartum season.
I want to pass along the 5 things that have made the biggest difference for me, in case they may help any new mom out there who is googling, “postpartum health”.
- Take a high quality prenatal and postpartum vitamin.
We invested in New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins during my pregnancy and are now investing in New Chapter Perfect Postnatal Vitamins. They have never made me feel sick and seem to impact my energy, mood, and vitality.I actually think that these would be an amazing thing to add to a gift registry!
- Talk to people about postpartum depression.
It was so helpful to say out-loud to someone, “After my fourth pregnancy, I was thinking very strange thoughts that bothered me…” Until then, I had kept it to myself because I didn’t want people to jump to conclusions or make a bigger deal out of it than necessary. But I felt so much stronger once I allowed myself to admit the truth to my husband and a few friends.
I asked them to check in with me during my postpartum months after Baby #5.
- Eat walnuts, almonds, and blueberries every morning.In my research, I discovered that these three power-foods were just what I needed to build my health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A few hours of research helped me to uncover some “best practices” for the way I wanted to feel and heal postpartum.
I made sure our freezer was stocked before the baby arrived and I simply made a habit of eating these foods every day.
This made such an impact on my wellbeing that I actually filled a bag with these goodies for my sister’s baby shower a few months ago. (From a baby’s perspective, what good is anything else if Momma’s not feeling well?)
- Go outdoors and walk.
When I’m at the hospital, I try to stay in bed as much as possible. Then once I return home, I (finally learned to) take it easy as much as possible.
My highest priorities are to rest and to get outside to walk. It’s odd that the two have to co-exist: rest and exercise, but they do.
The first day, I walked to the barn and back. About 50 yards.
The next day, I walked to the other end of the barn and back, 75 yards.
Every day, I try to go outside and walk a little farther than the day before.
- Avoid screens at night.This choice has benefited me so greatly that I’m actually considering making a sandwich poster about this and wearing it around for the next 10 years.My husband did some research about sleep and discovered that postpartum mothers damage their emotional and mental well-being when they read from a screen when they get up to nurse their babies at night.
Sleep doctors say that something about the glow of the screen stimulates the mind so that even if you fall right back to sleep, the sleep you get is jeopardized.
This made so much sense to me because when I was nursing our fourth baby, I was so happy with all of the READING I WAS CRANKING OUT AT NIGHT ON MY KINDLE. I’d fall back to sleep afterward, not knowing that my sleep was less-than-less-than.
So this time, I do not look at a screen at least a half an hour before bedtime and I did not look at a screen when I got up to nurse through the night.
I keep the lights low and enjoy praying and resting during that time.
What a refreshing difference this postpartum season has been! Sure, I’ve had a few dark days, but that’s normal and to be expected. Overall though, I’ve felt energetic, hopeful, clear-minded, and content. And that is like gold!
I just had to share the good news with you.
If you’re about to have a baby, congratulations! I hope that one or more of these suggestions is helpful to you.
If you’ve had a baby, what has benefited your postpartum experience?