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.
When I was pregnant with Baby #5, I decided to take postpartum depression seriously.
With five children relying on me, 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 the nine months preparing for the postpartum season.
I’m so glad I did.
Several years later, I can report that I felt better and thought better than during any other postpartum season.
I want to pass along the five things that made the biggest difference for me, in case any one of them help you.
- 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 they seem to improve my energy, mood, and vitality. Consider adding these to your baby shower gift registry!
- Talk to people about postpartum depression.
It was so helpful to confide in a friend, “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 assume the worst or make a bigger deal out of it than necessary. 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.
- Eat walnuts, almonds, and blueberries regularly.
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 well-being 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. Research shows that postpartum mothers compromise 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 nursed our fourth baby at night, I read from a screen. I’d fall back to sleep afterward, not knowing that my sleep was less-than-ideal.
With Baby #5, I did 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 kept the lights low and enjoyed praying and resting during that time.
What a refreshing difference this postpartum season was! Sure, I’ve had a few dark days, but that’s normal and to be expected. Overall, I’ve felt energetic, hopeful, clear-minded, and content. That is a gift.
If you want to pursue a healthy postpartum experience, I cheer you on! Your health and wellness are so important. Take care of yourself as you take care of your precious baby.