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Beautiful baby…but feeling blue?

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What are baby blues?
Your baby’s birth has set into motion great changes in your body and in your life, and your emotions are reacting in a normal way. Dramatic hormonal shifts occur when a body goes from pregnant to not pregnant in a manner of minutes. Add to this your new title (Mommy!) and the responsibilities that go with it, and your blues are perfectly  understandable. You’re not alone; this emotional letdown during the first few weeks is common after birth. Just remember that your state of mind has a physical origin and is made worse by challenging circumstances ⎯ and you and your body will adjust to both soon.

How do I know if I have the baby blues?
Every woman who experiences the baby blues (also called postpartum blues) does so in a different way. The most common symptoms include:
•Anxiety and nervousness
•Sadness or feelings of loss
•Stress and tension
•Impatience or a short temper
•Bouts of crying or tearfulness
•Mood swings
•Difficulty concentrating
•Trouble sleeping or excessive tiredness
•Not wanting to get dressed, go out, or clean up the house

mom-baby-depressed Could it be more than just the baby blues?
If you’re not sure whether you have the blues ask your doctor or midwife, and don’t feel embarrassed: This is a question that health care providers hear often and with good reason. If you’re feeling these symptoms to a degree that disrupts your normal level of function, if your baby is more than a few weeks old, or if you have additional symptoms ⎯ particularly feelings of resentment or rejection toward your baby or even a temptation to harm him ⎯ you may have more than the blues, you may have postpartum depression. This is a serious illness that requires immediate treatment. Please call a doctor or professional today. If you can’t make the call, then please talk to your partner, your mother or father, a sibling or friend and ask them to arrange for help. Do this for yourself and for your baby. If you can’t talk about it, hand this page it to someone close to you. It’s that important. You do not have to feel this way, and safe treatment is available, even if you’re breastfeeding.

How can I get rid of the blues?
While typical baby blues are fairly brief and usually disappear on their own, you can do a few things to help yourself feel better and get through the next few emotional days or weeks:

Give yourself time. Grant yourself permission to take the time you need to become a mother. Pregnancy lasts nine months, the adoption process can take even longer, and your baby’s actual birth is only a moment ⎯ but becominclock-sad-faceg a mother takes time. Motherhood is an immense responsibility. In my opinion, it is the most overwhelming, meaningful, incredible, transforming experience of a lifetime. No wonder it produces such emotional and physical change! 

No other event of this magnitude would ever be taken lightly, so don’t feel guilty for treating this time in your life as the very big deal it is. Remind yourself that it’s okay (and necessary) to focus on this new aspect of your life and make it your number-one priority. Tending to a newborn properly takes time ⎯ all the time in his world. So, instead of feeling guilty or conflicted about your new focus, put your heart into getting to know this new little person. The world can wait for a few weeks.Consider as objectively as you can just what you have accomplished: You have formed a new, entire person inside your own body and brought him forth; you have been party to a miracle. Or, if you’ve adopted, you’ve chosen to invite a miracle into your life and became an instant mother. You deserve a break and some space in which to just exist with your amazing little one, unfettered by outside concerns.

Talk to someone who understands. Talk to a sibling, relative or friend with young children about what you are feeling. Someone who has experienced the baby blues can help you realize that they are temporary, and everything will be fine. A confidante can also serve as a checkpoint who can encourage you to seek help if he or she perceives that you need it.

Reach out and get out. Simply getting out (if you are physiIMG_4627cally able and okayed for this by your health care provider) and connecting with people at large can go a long way toward reorienting your perspective. Four walls can close in very quickly, so change the scenery and head to the mall, the park, the library, a coffeehouse ⎯ whatever place you enjoy. You’ll feel a sense of pride as strangers ooh and ahh over your little one, and your baby will enjoy the stimulation, too.

Join a support group. Joining a support group, either in person or online, can help you sort through your feelings about new motherhood. Take care to choose a group that aligns with your core beliefs about parenting a baby. As an example, if you are committed to breastfeeding, but most other members of the group are bottlefeeding, this may not be the best place for you, since your breastfeeding issues won’t be understood and you won’t find many helpful ideas among this group. If you have multiples, a premature baby, or a baby with special needs, for example, seek out a group for parents with babies like yours. And within those parameters, look for a group with your same overall parenting beliefs. Just because you all have twin babies doesn’t mean you will all choose to parent them in the same way, so try to find like-minded new friends.

Tell Daddy what he can do to help. It’s very important that your spouse or partner be there for you right now. He may want to help you, but he may be unsure of how. Here are a few things that he can do for you

show him this list to help him help you:

  • Understand. It’s critical that your spouse or partner feel that you understand that she is going through a hormonally driven dad-and-newborndepression that she cannot control ⎯ and that she is not “just being grumpy.” Tell her you know this is normal, and that she’ll be feeling better soon. Simply looking over this list and using some of the ideas will tell her a lot about your commitment to (and belief in) her.
  • Let her talk about her feelings. Knowing she can talk to you about her feelings without being judged or criticized will help her feel much better.
  • Tend to the baby. Taking care of your baby so Mommy can sleep or take a shower can give her a breath of fresh air. Have her nurse the baby and then you can take him for a walk (using a sling will keep Baby happy) or go on an outing. A benefit for you is that most babies love to be out and about and will enjoy this special time with you.
  • Step in to protect her. If she’s overwhelmed with visitors, kindly explain to company that she needs a lot of rest. Help her with whatever household duties usually fall to her (or get someone to help her) and do what you can to stay on top of yours. Worry about the house’s cleanliness or laundry upkeep will do her no good whatsoever. If relatives offer to take the baby for a few hours, or to help with the house, take them up on it.
  • Tell her she’s beautiful. Most woman feel depressed about the way they look after childbirth ⎯ because most still look four months pregnant! After changing so greatly to accommodate a baby’s development, a woman’s body takes months to regain any semblance of normalcy. Be patient with both her body and her feelings about it. Tell her what an amazing thing she’s accomplished. Any compliments that acknowledge her unique beauty are sure to be greatly appreciated!
  • pippTell her you love the baby. Don’t be bashful about gushing over the baby. Mommy loves to hear that you’re enraptured with this new little member of your family.
  • •Be affectionate, but be patient about sex. With all that she’s struggling with physically and emotionally, weeks may pass before she’s ready for sex (even if she’s had an OK after her checkup.) That doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you or need you ⎯ she just needs a little time to get back to the physical aspects of your sexual relationship.
  • Tell her you love her. Even when she isn’t feeling down, she needs to hear this ⎯ and right now it’s more important for her health and well-being than ever.
  • Get support for you, too. Becoming a father is a giant step in your life. Open up to a friend about how it feels to be a Dad, and do things that you enjoy, too. Taking care of yourself will help you take care of your new family.

Accept help from others. Family and friends are often happy to help if you just ask. When people say, “Let me know if I can do anything” they usuaIMG_4624lly mean it. So, go ahead and ask kindly for what you want, whether it’s watching your baby so that you can nap, taking your older child to the park, helping you make a meal, or doing some laundry. 

Get some sleep. Right now, sleeplessness will enhance your feelings of depression. So, take every opportunity to get some shuteye. Nap when the baby sleeps, go to bed early, and sleep in later in the morning if you can. If you are co-sleeping, take advantage of this special time when you don’t have to get up out of bed to tend to your baby. And if your baby’s sleep patterns are distressing to you then reach out to an experienced parent for help, or check out my book The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.

Don’t fret about perfection right now. Household duties are not your top priority now ⎯ in fact, nothing aside from getting to know your baby is. Remember that people are coming to see your baby, not your house, so enjoy sharing your baby with visitors without worrying about a little clutter or dust. Simplify, prioritize, and delegate routine tasks, errands, and obligations.

Enjoy your job. If you work outside the home, then view your time at your job as an opportunity to refresh and prepare yourself to enjoy your baby fully when you are at home. Go ahead ⎯ talk about your baby and share pictures with your co-workers. Chances are, they’ll love to hear about your new little one. This is a nice and appropriate way of indulging your natural instincts to focus on your baby when you can’t be with her.

Get into exercising. With your health care provider’s approval, start exercising with short walks or swims. Exercise will help you feel better in many ways both physical and emotional. Even if you didn’t exercise before you had your baby, this is a great time to start. Studies prove that regular exercise helps combat depression, and it will help you regain your pre-baby body much more quickly.

Eat healthful foods. When the body isn’t properly nourished, spirits can flag ⎯ particularly when the stress of recovery makes more nutritional demands. If you are breastfeeding, a nourishing diet is important for both you and your baby. Healthful foods, eaten in frequent meals, can provide the nutrition you need to combat the baby blues and give you the energy you need to handle your new role. And don’t forget to drink water and other healthy fluids, especially if you’re nursing! Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches.

Take care of yourself. Parenting a new baby is an enormous responsibility, but things will fall into place for you and everything will seem easier given time. During this adjustment phase, try to do a few things for yourself. Simple joys like reading a book, painting your nails, going out to lunch with a friend or other ways in which you nourish your spirit can help you feel happier.

Love yourself. You are amazing: You’ve become mother to a beautiful new baby. You’ve played a starring role in the production of an incredible miracle. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and take the time to know and enjoy the strong, capable, multifaceted person you are becoming.IMG_4644

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

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Work it baby!

STROLLER
 Getting in shape after having a baby can be quite a challenge for many new mothers. But there’s a group in Vero making working out very easy for moms  with new babies…
Arm yourself with your stroller and your baby…Head to the shady oaks of Riverside Park for
Stroller Buggy  Boot Camp!
Stroller Buggy Boot Camp is a fitness class for moms and babies that offers both cardio and strength training. With these classes you can:

* Bond with your baby.
* Get fit, strengthen, and exercise.
* Have fun!
* Meet new friends

There is no need for babysitters or day care and all fitness levels welcome!

Please bring Towel, Water, Sunscreen, and Baby Essentials.

Class Schedule:
Classes begin Monday, October 12th @ 9:00am
Classes will be held on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays only. (Make-up classes for inclement weather will be held on Tuesdays)

Cost:
First class is FREE!
Single Class: $15
10 Class Card: $100 (3 month expiration)
Monthly: $50 (unlimited classes) 20% off for Christi’s Family Fitness Members!!

Contact Information:
Trish Boddy: 772-778-9611; StrollerBBC@aol.com

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Fresh air… exercise…and friendship…

Good for baby…good for Mom!

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This is supposed to be the happiest time in my life…why am I so miserable??

Postpartum Depression…

Bringing a baby home can also bring major emotional and physical adjustments. You – and the people who care about you – don’t need to need to face these changes alone.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a real illness caused by changes in biology, psychology, environment and hormones. PPD is the most common complication of childbirth.

  • You are not alone. PPD affects up to 20% of new mothers anytime in the first year after delivery.
  • You are not to blame. PPD can affect any new mother regardless of age, race, income, education and/or marital status.
  • You can feel better with help. PPD can be treated with self-help techniques, social support, counseling and medication when necessary.

 

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Women Experiencing Postpartum Depression Say:

  • “This is supposed to be the happiest time in my life…why am I so miserable?”
  • “I love my child, but I hate my life”
  • “My marriage cannot survive this”
  • “Having a baby was a mistake”
  • “I feel like the worst mother in the world”
  • “Everything would be better if I got a good night’s sleep”
  • “Why can’t I ‘snap out of it’?”
  • “I can’t take it anymore!”
  • “Why am I such a failure?”

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Signs and Symptoms

A new mother experiencing postpartum depression might have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Feel sad, hopeless, overwhelmed
  • Feel anxious or panicky
  • Regret having a baby
  • Have trouble sleeping, even when baby sleeps
  • Think her family would be better off without her
  • Fear leaving the house or being alone
  • Isolate herself from friends and family
  • Have unexplained anger or irritability
  • Fear she might harm herself or her baby
  • Have trouble coping with daily tasks
  • Have difficulty concentrating or making simple decisions
  • Feel “out of control”
  • Feel guilty for feeling this way

Experiencing three or more of these symptoms, especially if they last for more than two weeks, could indicate postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician.

 

Where To Go For Help

Mom And BabyPostpartum Support International (PSI) is the world’s leading organization in advocating, educating, and providing support for women experiencing postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. PSI volunteers offer support, encouragement, information, and local resources. PSI’s website includes state-by-state listings of volunteers who provide one-on-one FREE support (via telephone and email) and group support.
www.postpartum.net

 

PPD Self Test

Using the Edinburgh Scale as a self test for postpartum depression/postpartum mood disorders.
The Edinburgh Scale is well-known as a tool for new mothers to determine whether or they might have postpartum depression. Are you thinking you might have postpartum depression (PPD)? Take this simple test and use the scoring system indicated below. You should complete the test yourself. You are asked to check the answer that comes closest to how you have been feeling in the last 7 days.
In the last 7 days:
1. I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things:

1.
As much as I always could

2.
Not quite so much now

3.
Definitely not so much now

4.
Not at all

2. I have looked forward with enjoyment to things:

1.
As much as I ever did

2.
Rather less than I used to

3.
Definitely less than I used to

4.
Hardly at all

*3. I have blamed myself unecessarily when things went wrong:

1.
Yes, most of the time

2.
Yes, some of the time

3.
Not very often

4.
No, never

4. I have been anxious or worried for no good reason:

1.
No, not at all

2.
Hardly ever

3.
Yes, sometimes

4.
Yes, very often

*5. I have felt scared or panicky for no good reason:

1.
Yes, quite a lot

2.
Yes, sometimes

3.
No, not much

4.
No, not at all

*6. Things have been getting on top of me:

1.
Yes, most of the time I haven’t been able to cope at all

2.
Yes, sometimes I haven’t been coping as well as usual

3.
No, most of the time I have coped quite well

4.
No, I have been coping as well as ever

*7. I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping:

1.
Yes, most of the time

2.
Yes, sometimes

3.
Not very often

4.
Not at all

*8. I have felt sad or miserable:

1.
Yes, most of the time

2.
Yes, quite often

3.
Not very often

4.
No, not at all

*9. I have been so unhappy that I have been crying:

1.
Yes, most of the time

2.
Yes, quite often

3.
Only occasionally

4.
No, never

*10. The thought of harming myself has occurred to me:

1.
Yes, often

2.
Sometimes

3.
Hardly ever

4.
Never

 

Scoring

1, 2 and 4 without an asterisk:
Answer number 1 is valued at 0 points; number 2 at 1, answer 3 at 2 and answer 4 at a value of 3 points
3, 5-10 with an asterisk:
Answer number 1 is valued at 3 points, answer 2 is 2, answer 3 is 1 and answer number 4 is valued at 0 points.
Maximum Score: 30 points
Possible Depression: Score of 10 or higher
If you have a score of 10 or higher, be sure to contact your medical provider as soon as possible. If you scored answer 1 to question 10, seek help immediately.

 

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Sources for Edinburgh Scale, directions and scoring:
Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M., and Sagovsky, R. 1987. Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry 150:782-786.
K.L. Wisner, B.L. Parry, C.M. Piontek, Postpartum Depression N Eng J Med vol. 347, No. 3, July 18, 2002, 194-199.