I know that after I had my daughter via unplanned c-section, I was itching to get back into the gym by the end of week 2 of recovery. I was active throughout my entire pregnancy and was actually having contractions while walking on the treadmill the day she was born. So to say not being able to do much of anything was tough for me is a serious understatement. I’m not one who was depressed before I had my daughter, so I didn’t really focus on the possibility of PPD very much.
However, come mid-week 3 I felt beyond worthless. I felt like time was moving so slow, I depended almost completely on one my husband or my parents the first month of my daughter’s life. I am so not used to depending on someone else to get things done. I was humbled real quick. At the time I didn’t feel comfortable asking for any more help than I was already given.
I told myself the cloud would lift as soon as I could walk around, get in and out of the shower by myself, and get back into some sort of fitness routine. I said, just stick it out. You’ll be fine. My daughter will be 6 months in 2 weeks.
I am still struggling with bits of PPD here and there. Some days are great, some days are just the opposite. Some days I feel like I’ve come a long way considering my body now looks about the
same as it did when I was 5.5 months pregnant. Some days I feel like a cow and don’t understand how my husband loves me. But what I have noticed is the days I feel bad, the days I look at myself and say “ew” the days I cry because I should be happy but I’m not and then I look at my beautiful daughter and cry harder because I feel guilty for feeling that way, are days when I don’t exercise for at least 30 minutes and the days where I eat junk.
I’m not saying that diet and exercise cure PPD because I still have down days.
But there is a positive correlation between healthy eating habits, 30 minutes of exercise a day, and your mood.
Other factors include how long you sleep and the quality of that sleep, if you are having trouble breastfeeding (which I was,) your baby’s overall health, if you are having issues in your family, you have bipolar disorder, or you have a history of depression (got that from Mayo Clinic). As moms, we now have a responsibility to be a positive role model for our children. For moms with daughters, she will grow up watching the way you speak to yourself, she will watch the way you love yourself, she will watch how you reward yourself (with diet and exercise, shopping, getting your hair and.or nails done) and she will watch the way you punish yourself (excessive exercise, binge eating or drinking, smoking, etc.)
And they will strive to be just like you, because you are their MOM, their baseline of how to act, react, interact, and just BE! For moms with sons, they will watch you and set the standard of what a woman they look for in the future should look like. They will watch how you act at home, how you interact with people, how you handle yourself, how you handle tough situations and they will judge the women they date based of the standard you set for them. So how do we beat this thing? How do we make sure we are setting and being the best example for our children? I’m not entirely sure to be 100% honest with you. But I do know that when you love yourself when you have self-confidence, and when you are happy, you set the best example.
Everyone may have different ideas of happiness, what makes me happy may not make the mom-next-door happy. But I can absolutely share about what makes me happy in hopes it’ll inspire them to find just what it is that makes them happiest, most confident, and have the most self-love they can have for themselves. That’s exactly why I became a personal trainer! I love to help people, I love to see them do things they never thought they could (most of the time, that’s push-ups, pull-ups, or run a mile.)
I love seeing people smile when they reach their goals when they finally see some muscle definition show up when they finally get a rein on their eating habits. It’s the most fulfilling thing on the planet to me. But what I also love is seeing my own journey, how my own body has changed, how I figure out how to eat postpartum because my body is totally different now than it was before.
My daughter will physically turn around to watch me while I’m working out. That makes my heart swell with happiness because I know she sees me taking care of myself and she will grow up with that being the normal thing to do. She is my WHY in everything I do. I know that on the days that I wake up in a funk, that my daughter deserves the best of me no matter how I feel. Especially on the dark days, I make sure my butt gets to the gym, that I eat as healthy as I can (lets be real, I REALLY love chocolate. It’s my downfall for ) and I try to write down 3-5 things I am thankful for. And most of the time it does the trick, even if I have to talk myself into it for an hour or so.
Postpartum Depression is rough, it doesn’t go away overnight. It doesn’t go away 3 months after you have your baby. It can last for years, some PPD even turns into regular depression. And I know the pharma companies would love nothing more than for us to continue to underestimate the power of diet and exercise so they can keep depression meds as the HIGHEST selling drug category in the US. SAY WHAT NOW?! Yep, it sure is.
So I’m going to challenge all of you out there to do this workout anywhere you can anytime you feel like you’re completely beat down. Take a few deep breaths, recall 3-5 things you are thankful for and then go about your day! I promise you’ll feel better, even if it’s a little better! You are strong, you are amazing, you are a mom! And you may not feel like you’re a superhero, but your kids sure think you are! If not for anyone else, fight for them! They deserve a happy, loving, self-caretaking mom who will show them how to do the same through this crazy thing called life!
You CAN do it mama! Keep your head up!
Here is one of the exercises I did to kick my PPD in the face!