Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How I Beat the Baby Blues

I would first like to start off by confessing that I really dislike the term "baby blues". In my case, my baby was not causing me to feel blue. Baby blues is just the term commonly used to describe the feelings associated with the hormonal imbalance that inevitably comes after giving birth. If anything, my baby is what would help me shake those hormonal feelings. She would make me smile, and being close to her would help put everything back into perspective for me.




I know that not all people go through the same feelings, but I have decided to share the feelings that came for me after giving birth; how I managed to get through them, and; why I want to share this all with you.

"Baby blues" was a term I was familiar with from all of the books that I read during pregnancy to prepare myself for labor, delivery and beyond. However, the depth of the description would entail something about hormonal changes after giving birth, causing sudden mood swings. Therefore, I skimmed that portion of the book and moved on. After all, I was pregnant. I knew a thing or two about mood swings; I felt as if I needed no further education. Been there, done that, please move on. Right? Wrong.

The "mood swings" from "baby blues" felt different to me than mood swings during my pregnancy; they were more intense and uncontrollable.

The instinctive way that I tried to overcome the "baby blues" was with these three steps:

1. Address the feelings: what are they?
2. Identify any controllable triggers
3. Find ways to help limit the triggers

Addressing the Feelings:

The feelings I experienced lasted the first two weeks and they ranged from anxiety to sadness to complete giddiness. The hardest feeling to overcome was anxiety. I wanted to feel comfortable and confident, not anxious.

After a couple days of analyzing myself for any "controllable" triggers, I found that I would often get more anxious toward the end of the day. My possible reasons: exhaustion, change from day to night, and "cabin fever".

Once I had identified some possible triggers for my postpartum-hormone-induced anxiety (aka Baby Blues), I began to do something about it.

"Baby Blues" Triggers and How I Dealt with Them:

Exhaustion: Each morning, I would wake up with my husband and get ready for the day along with him. Putting on make-up, doing my hair and getting dressed may not make me any less tired, but it does make me feel better. The routine also made me feel good. When I feel good, I am more relaxed. When I am more relaxed, it is easier for me to take a nap throughout the day (which was something I struggled with because of the next trigger).

Change from Day to Night: This was my own personal "witching hour". Looking out the windows to see it was dark as night would make my heart race. I began to think to myself, "Night time so soon? These days are flying by!" I dealt with this trigger by closing the curtains just before it would get dark out, turning on some energizing music and all of the lights in the house.

Cabin Fever: When you just had a baby, you don't get out of the house much (especially when it's the dead of winter and you gave birth via c-section). Given my circumstances, there wasn't much I could do about this early on, but with each day, I was able to do more. It began with me getting bundled up, braving the cold, and just standing outside while I let the dogs out. Then, I was well enough to go on my first ride with my husband. (We just drove to Lowes together one night while my mom watched the baby.) It progressed to me finally being able to drive myself, even if just around the block, so I could "get out" anytime I felt the need to once my husband got home from work.

Thankfully, my "baby blues" only lasted a couple weeks postpartum. I really disliked how uncontrollable the mood swings were. I wanted to feel my best all the time, but the reality was, my body had just gone through a lot, and it was continuing to go through a lot of change. Ultimately, once I realized that I just needed to give myself a break, I was able to start feeling better about it all, and then the blues were gone before I knew it.

(Disclaimer: everyone and every body is different. I am not a medical professional. This is my own personal experience. Please seek medical advice for any help you may need in dealing with "baby blues".)

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Balance Bar Prize Pack Giveaway while you still can! Your chance to enter ends on 2/26/15.

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