Photo: Leeann Surfleet
Finally, everything is peaceful. The babies are asleep and the house is all quiet. I’m supposed to just sit back, relax and enjoy some alone time. But all of a sudden, a wave of sadness sweeps over me and tears start falling down my cheeks.
What happened to me? I feel like somebody else has taken over my life and I can’t do anything that I want.
It’s a beautiful day, the sun is out and the wind blows a gentle morning breeze. But I wake up feeling like a storm cloud is hanging over me. It’s as if everything is wrong in my world. Instead of feeling upbeat, I feel so low and pathetic.
Poor me. Here’s to another day of household chores and diaper-changing.
Have you ever gone through the blues like these?
Photo: Anna Gay
I remember those scenarios so well since I’ve experienced them a number of times after giving birth to my daughters one after the other.
It’s commonly called postpartum depression because it happens months after giving birth.
But I think that motherhood has more than enough challenges that can drive you to depression any time of the year and at any stage of your children’s growth. It can strike anyone, even the most optimistic and committed mothers.
Thankfully, as the years pass and I’m growing into motherhood, I am learning more and more how to handle my emotions better.
These are some of the lessons I learned as I battled with the depression a couple of years ago.
How do you deal with motherhood depression?
Photo: El Fotopakismo
I realized that emotions don’t happen by accident. They come as a result of my thoughts. Yes, maybe the hormones had something to do with it. But what I was thinking was a major factor to what I was feeling.
To deal with depression, I needed to take charge of my emotional well – being and take control of my thoughts.
I would look inside myself and identify my depression triggers. When a negative feeling comes over me, I take hold of it. Instead of just succumbing to the feeling, I ask myself:
Why am I feeling this way? You felt bad because of a thought you had. What negative thought or situation triggered your negative emotion? Most of the time, it’s frustration over the things you cannot do, worry about the meeting the expectations and responsibilities of parenthood, or exhaustion because of trying to do everything by yourself.
Can I let this emotion go? Remember that you have a choice over what you feel and you can choose to shift your emotions when you want to. You just have to be conscious about it.
How do I replace this with a positive feeling? Decide to do something to shift your emotions. If you want your situation to change, you’ve got to take action.
Discover your triggers and take action
During those days when I was going through the blues, some of the emotional triggers I discovered in myself were:
- Trigger 1: I felt like my family has taken over my life and I can no longer do things for myself.
- Trigger 2: I was tired after trying to do everything myself because no one can else can do it just right.
- Trigger 3: I was worrying about how I can be a good mother.
I decided crying only made me feel worse and it won’t really change anything so I decided to do something that would address my triggers.
Photo: © Melinda Nagy
Action 1: Make sure to have “me time.”
Reserve one hour every day to do something for myself. Whether it’s taking a nap, going out for a walk, doing a little shopping or reading a book.
I need to remember that my needs are as important as everybody else’s. If I am capable of meeting my needs, I become more efficient at meeting other people’s needs as well.
Action 2: Learn how to ask for help.
Moms can be like superheros. But there are times when heroes need help too. Whether it’s from a hired helper, friend or a family member, I realized that having an extra helping hand can save me some time to rest or to do other things that are important to me.
Action 3: Have an emotional outlet.
Sometimes I need to unload all that worry and negativity so I can get rid of it completely.
- Talk to a friend. Oftentimes, having somebody who will listen is all I need to put things back in perspective.
- Write in a journal. Let it all out and let the words flow. When I’m done, I tear the paper into pieces and throw them away. Then I start writing a gratitude journal and list down all the things I am thankful for in my life. This will help shift my focus into positivity and make me feel good too.
- Take a walk. A physical activity is proven to activate “happy hormones” that relieves stress and gives you energy.
Everyone goes through depression at one time or another but as I learned, you can get through it if you choose to.
Crying and sulking can be a form of release, but at a certain point, you need to stop and do something to change your situation.
These are some of the things I did to get over my depression. Every mom’s situation is unique and I’m sure you have methods that worked for you.
Did you experience the blues? Did you experience motherhood depression? What did you do to handle them?