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Cheat Sheet

Postpartum Depression For Dummies

From Postpartum Depression For Dummies by Shoshana S. Bennett, Ph.D., Mary Jo Codey (Foreword by)

When suffering from postpartum depression, the only thing you want to do is feel better — and you want it to be quick. Recovery does take time, but you can still be proactive about making your way through the day — one thought at a time. Repeating truths to yourself is quite powerful and can advance your postpartum depression recovery in a huge way (and likewise, repeating falsehoods can greatly slow it down).

Postpartum Depression: 9 Ways to Get through the Day

Pull yourself out of the deep pit of postpartum depression (PPD) and get back to normal with these essential tips, including some ideas to help you take care of yourself. Sometimes new moms think that they should be plopped at the bottom of the list as if their own needs don’t matter, and when PPD is added to the mix, a mom often feels unworthy and unimportant.

Use these ideas to help you simplify your day and ease the overwhelming feelings you're probably experiencing:

  • Make a short list of three tasks to accomplish each day. For instance, set out to feed the baby, take a shower, and eat lunch.

  • Lower your expectations to a realistic level. For example, use paper plates, order dinner out, and forget about sending baby announcements.

  • Ask for help. Odds are that people around you are politely waiting for you to call on them for help and who would be delighted to, for example, pick something up at the store, babysit, make lunch, or fold your laundry for you.

  • Accept help that's offered. When your neighbor, friend, relative, or other kind soul asks if he or she can do anything for you, practice saying, "yes!" and give them a specific task that would help you.

  • Gather the clutter (toys, baby blankets, and so on) into laundry baskets instead of putting it all away, since it will all be on the floor again tomorrow.

  • Take breaks from tasks (including taking care of your baby) when someone else is in charge.

  • Take your baby for a 15-minute walk outside during the day (more than once if you're up to it) to help clear your head. Be sure to focus on breathing in lots of fresh air.

  • Set your alarm to go off with your favorite music 15 minutes before your baby usually wakes up (it's worth it) so you can stretch your muscles, shower, and start your day in a peaceful way.

  • Drink lots of water and nibble high-quality protein such as turkey, chicken, fish, or eggs throughout the day.

11 Positive Thoughts to Help Healing from Postpartum Depression

Repeating truths to yourself is quite powerful and can advance your postpartum depression (PPD) recovery in a huge way (and likewise, repeating falsehoods can greatly slow it down). Here are 11 positive thoughts to focus on. You may have a difficult time feeling the truth of these statements at first because the PPD makes you doubt your worth. But, this difficult and doubtful time is when you need to focus on these statements the most.

Carry this list around until these statements come naturally to you (then you know you don't need the list anymore!). Feel free to replace the underlined part of each statement with your own words. If you have difficulty truly believing any of these statements, review them and add your own spin on them with the help of a therapist.

  • I'm a good mom because I'm trying to get well and I care about my family.

  • I'm a good mom because I'm getting help for myself and my child(ren) will benefit.

  • It's important to be kind to myself because it will speed up my recovery.

  • I will take care of myself because I need my strength to take care of my family.

  • I'm taking care of myself by seeing a therapist, and asking for help from others.

  • I have support people who care about me and who are cheering me on.

  • I will ask for help and accept it because that's what healthy people do.

  • This is only temporary — I'm looking forward to enjoying my life.

  • I will follow the plan for recovery because I look forward to enjoying my life.

  • I know I'll get well because I'm following an excellent recovery plan.

  • I know I'm not alone since almost one in five mothers around the world have postpartum depression, too.

How to Reverse Negative Thoughts during Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression constantly fills your head with negative thoughts that bring you down. One of the tricks to recovering as quickly as possible is to catch the negatives as fast as you can and turn them around into positives.

Thoughts that Weaken Thoughts that Strengthen
I'm a bad mother. I'm a good mother who needs help.
I'll never get well. This feels bad, but it's temporary — I will be well.
I'm a weak person. A symptom of depression is feeling weak. This isn't weakness — it's illness.
I'm all alone. I have support. There are people who care about me.
This depression is my fault. I didn't cause this depression, and I'm trying to get better.
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