8 Ways to Beat the Blues During Pregnancy & Postpartum Recovery
"...If you’re feeling anxiety, depression, stress, or worry during your pregnancy, or your postpartum period - you’re not alone. Pregnancy and postpartum blues get the best of us, and it’s not your fault. But, there are some things you can do to take your mind off of depressive thought patterns and shift towards a more positive function. I definitely experienced some anxiety as the time grew closer...."
Hang In There!
If you’re feeling anxiety, depression, stress, or worry during your pregnancy, or your postpartum period – you’re not alone. Pregnancy and postpartum blues get the best of us, and it’s not your fault. But, there are some things you can do to take your mind off of depressive thought patterns and shift towards a more positive function.
I definitely experienced some anxiety as the time grew closer. I was so ready to experience the change of pace that comes with baby being on the outside vs. the inside. I was bored out of my mind. And even though I was taking regular walks and resting when necessary, with my oldest son travelling in Togo, I felt like I had nothing to do.
I know, you may be thinking it sounds like a nice break, but I do enjoy my children and having a community to serve. Nonetheless, I found myself feeling restless from time to time. These are some of the things that helped me during my first and second pregnancies/postpartum periods that may help you too. Hang in there, it may not seem like it now, but only gets better! Remember, no matter how you feel, life changes and time passes.
Carrying a child to term and birthing that child in the best way is of utmost importance. Therefore, there are some behavioral and dietary restrictions that are imposed during pregnancy on the mother to ensure she stays healthy (physically and spiritually) while her unborn child is growing and maturing inside her.
This article is a collection of questions I posed and the responses I received by the elder women who supported me and taught me how to care for my newborn son. Bathing is one of the most important occurrences in the life of an infant and throughout their childhood. In the Tem culture of Sokode, Togo, bathing is done very thoroughly.
Take the time to learn new things
When I was pregnant I was sooo bored with my regular routine, cuisine and overall environment. I craved to eat foods I had never eaten before, meet people I had never met, and travel places I had never been. Sure, not all of this was possible every time I felt restless, but you know what I did? I challenged myself. For me, it was in the kitchen, but for you, do whatever it is that can appease that restlessness that inevitably arises (pregnant or not). It can be learning how to prepare a new dih, reading a book, learning how to sew, how to swim, a particular style of dance, how to play chess, learning a new language, the list is endless…
Granted, writing may not be for everyone, but obviously I had to toss it in the ring Viable option of reducing “mind clutter”. If you want to give it a try. Consider getting a journal and just writing down what went well for you in the day just before bed. Include what you’re grateful for and what experience you want to have during this pregnancy. Writing it down will give you something to transform into reality! You can write affirmation to read yourself in the morning, which I can say from experience, really helps. It can also generate excitement and positivity to include change that your body and baby re going through day by day so that you’ll have something to look back on in the future.
Surround yourself with those who are positive
It helps having people around to listen. The hardest part of being inspired in anything is allowing yourself to be exposed. At some point it becomes overbearing to stay in one place whether internally, or externally. We are the only ones who can motivate ourselves to change our environment. This may require you to do the reaching out, even if it’s just to check on those you care about or invite someone out for a walk, which you should be doing regularly anyway, preggo ;).
Avoid people that like gossip and negative speech. You know that person at work, or in the family that’s always just having the worst of it and never has something positive to talk about? You have enough to concern your mind with right now. The bun in your oven deserves the best of your energies. Be wise how and where you decide to distribute them.
Be A Host!
For the people-person in you, do something to satisfy the inner you that loves to make people feel happy, welcome and well fed. Even if you don’t want to cook anything major, have few snacks and beverages and invite people over to watch something, or just hang out. Make it potluck if you see fit. It can be kid friendly, or just the grown up having adult conversation and enjoying one another’ company.
It can be girls afternoon, couples, family only, or just anyone you want to have around to get your mind off of any discomfort you might be feeling. If you really want to get into it, choose a theme – incorporate something engaging like spades, dominoes, charades, or Pictionary. Trust me, you’ll have blast just watching everyone else
Secure Your Playlist
During my pregnancy I had a playlist for just about every portion of my day. The morning after showering, the evening, my walk, chore, and then my idle time. Music has a big influence on your mood, so go for it. It will inspire you to dance which is even better. Get a few playlists together and get creative.
Make time for yourself
Share older children with your family/friends for the day, the night, or just a few hours and set aside a little “me time”. Have a routine that involves pauses that allow you to decompress. Even a cup of tea, a cup of juice, something that takes a few minutes to sit down and consume. With the off and on lockdowns, it may be difficult to get out and experience a change of scenery, but if it’s possible, sometimes this is all it takes to help change our perspective on things.
Make “me time” more than just a nap (if you can). This can include a quick and easy workout, a walk, some light stretching, a cup of tea, reading a good book, or just watching a movie. If you want to include your spouse or significant other’s company that’s awesome too.
The goal is to take your mind off of any stresses and worries and do what it is you want to do that will lift your spirits. Whatever it is, try to stay off of social media worries and trends. This pregnancy is all about your right now and what is important to you. The opinions and lives of everyone else in the world can wait, trust me. It will be there after your “me time” is complete.
Immerse yourself in Spiritual activity
Your whole being is going through a pretty amazing transformation right now. It’s a good time to focus on greater realities and think about the path you are on in your life. Spend time meditating, connecting with your Ancestral Heritage and exploring the greater meaning of humanity.
Taking walks should be a certain part of your routine. It will help you sleep better, release tension and stress, and allow you to work up a mild sweat if the weather is warm. A little physical activity is wonderful for the baby and will regenerate your body as well as your mentality. Check out my post on exercise tips for more details on which physical activity might be best for you!
I did this video when my first son was about a year and a half, and it was my first go at vlogging so as you can see the whole shot is pretty dark 🙁 But, there’s still some good info in here about making time for yourself during or after pregnancy!
You can check out more videos like this on my YouTube channel here
For more literature on traditional culture, you can also visit the website below where many of these articles (and others similar) are published.
Thanks for reading!
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