The cold, dark, and dreary months of winter can be hard for anyone struggling with depression but even more so for moms struggling postpartum with the “baby blues.”
Three out of four postpartum women will struggle with short-term mood swings, known as the “baby blues.” This is different than the longer-lasting, more severe postpartum depression which impacts 12% of new moms.
The main difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression is how long depression feelings last and how intense those feelings are. If you think you may be struggling with postpartum depression, or you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional. At Move Forward, we have specially trained postpartum mental health counselors. We see clients from around the state of Pennsylvania for online counseling.
The baby blues usually begin a few days after delivery and last a couple of weeks. Generally, baby blues are a time when you are full of feelings. You may be weepy and feel sad, you may cry when you look at your baby because of all the different emotions you are feeling, and you may snap at your spouse or partner because you are overwhelmed and exhausted.
If you are struggling with the baby blues and postpartum mental health during the winter months here are some tips to help you cope:
1.) Get Some Light
Light can have a huge impact on your mood. Open the blinds if the sun is shining. Sit by the window if you are able. Another option, if you struggle with depression during the winter, is an artificial sun lamp. You can purchase one and sit by it for 15-30 minutes a day to help boost your mood.
2.) Get Out
After having a new baby it can be hard to get out of the house but a short change of scenery can really help to boost your mood. If you don’t want to go into any public spaces you can go for a drive and listen to your favorite music, you can bundle up and take a short walk, or consider visiting a friend.
3.) Stay Connected
Don’t avoid phone calls from friends or family, even if you may be tempted. It can really help to share your troubles, concerns, or even daily routine with others. Or, consider an online moms group to chat with others about how you are feeling.
4.) Don’t forget to take care of yourself
You just had a baby and your world has been turned upside down. You probably aren’t getting much sleep and your every waking minute is left to care and respond to your baby. But, you must also care for yourself. This isn’t a time to worry about the dishes in the sink or the laundry piling up. It’s a time to sleep when the baby sleeps, eat well and whenever possible, and go easy on yourself.
5.) Embrace help
However help shows up at your door, try not to turn it away. Yes, you can do this alone but you don’t have to. If your mom wants to clean your house, let her. If your sister wants to hold the baby while you sleep, let her. If your neighbors want to bring you meals or groceries, let them. Communities gather for these sorts of things and for good reason— it is a stressful, all-consuming time in life.
6.) Lean on a friend or partner
You might feel super disconnected from your spouse or partner right now, and that is ok. Both of you are going through a lot. You can use your mutual stressors to bond with each other. Share your frustrations. Hug, hold one another, talk about your feelings. If you don’t have a spouse or partner, then call a friend to come sit with you.
This Won’t Last Forever
The baby blues are a common part of transitioning into having a new baby. While challenging, they won’t last forever. You will adjust and come into your new life as a new mom or mom of multiple. Know that whatever you are struggling with—it is ok.
If you are struggling with your mental health, consider reaching out to a licensed mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can help you process your feelings and provide helpful coping tools to get you through this challenging time.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
At Move Forward, our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to get started. You can get the tailored help you need right now. We are here.