My thoughts on Postpartum Depression + Postpartum Anxiety and why you shouldn’t suffer any longer.

Today’s blog post can be found in audio format on
The Blossoming Mommy And Baby Show {iTunes + Sticher!}

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With bright red, illuminated numbers, the clock blared: 12:23 AM. It’s as if I never went to sleep from the night before. I quietly turned over and caught a glimpse of my son swaddled in his bassinet and then looked back at the clock again. 12:24 AM. I knew it wouldn’t be long until he woke and all I could think about was how heavy my eyelids felt, almost like wet, freshly laid concrete from days of exhaustion.

Was this it? Was this really what motherhood was going to be like?

I don’t know about you, but my perfect idea of what I thought motherhood was going to be like didn’t match reality. So there I was. At the crossroads again. The once conquered season of anxiety was back and in full force thanks to postpartum hormones, lack of sleep, and false expectations of what I thought motherhood was going to be like.

Postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression, along with a lineup of other mental health conditions continue to take the motherhood community by storm. If we don’t do something about this statistic, the amount of moms struggling with mental health will continue to rise and sweet friend, I’m not about to have that happen. If you’re reading this, you’re exactly who I wrote this article for and I’m going to take a guess and say that you’ve most likely had some kind of experience with your mental health and motherhood.

I too struggled, but I’m here to say that you can find victory in your journey! For me, postpartum anxiety was something that I struggled with in silence for the first 3 months of my son’s life. The racing heart, panic and anxiety attacks, and the emotional roller coaster I endured felt like a never ending battle.

Momma, if you’re here now, please know this- there is a way out and although the journey looks different for everyone, the only way you can find healing is if you take action! Today I’ll be sharing the tools that helped me transition from anxious and overwhelmed living to truly thriving and enjoying every second (well, mostly every second ;) ) of motherhood as a modern momma.

Recognize

One of the absolute worst things we can do as Moms is ignore our mental symptoms. Think about it. It’s a heck of a lot easier to overlook and dismiss feelings of overwhelm, burnout, fatigue, anger, anxiousness, fear, and sadness then it is to acknowledge it, right? The issue here is that if you continue to stuff or numb out your emotions instead of facing them head on, you’re more prone to eventually explode OR you’ll wear yourself down so much that you completely lose your drive, passion, and zest for motherhood.

The moment I felt my anxiety begin to creep back into my life I sprung into action. I had already been down that road and I wasn’t about to go there again. Here’s my call for you, friend. Take a step back and think about how you mentally feel right now. Maybe you’ve got a handful of emotions that you’re feeling or maybe you’re just struggling with one, whatever your case is, call it by NAME and face it head on.

We’re so afraid these days to talk about how we’re doing mentally. DON’T BE. The first step towards improving any area of your life is to first acknowledge where you’re at and where you wan to go… so do that, NOW!

Take Action

Now that you’ve recognized how you’re feeling mentally, it’s time to take action! I don’t believe God wants us to be anxious, fearful, or mentally burdened. In fact, the bible talks about abundance and the power of giving our worries and fear to Him. How powerful is that!

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

John 10:10 (NKJV) 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Remember, it’s your choice to decide if you’re going to stay in the pit or take action to climb out. Here’s how I want you to get started on your journey:

  1. Recognize God’s role in your life. Are you giving Him your honest thoughts, feelings, and concerns or are you trying to handle your mental battlefield on your own? We don’t have to journey through life alone, so don’t!

  2. Next, list out (literally) all of the emotions you feel throughout your day. Start a journal and take note of what you feel and when. Are there certain triggers that set you off? Record this! It’s important to know what things (or people) cause you to trigger and WHY. In knowing this, you’re laying down the foundation for healing this area of your life!

  3. Now it’s time for you to open up! Confiding in your spouse, trusted friends or mentors, a counselor, doctor, or even members at your church is an excellent place to start. Sharing what you’re going through and how you’re feeling is hard, scary, and vulnerable, but it’s often a very powerful space for you to get support and guidance.

  4. Lastly, be proactive! It’s so easy to fall into the victim mindset instead of being the victor. You are NOT your anxiety. You are NOT your depression. You are NOT your fearfulness or anger. You are YOU and you struggle with ____________ (fill in the blank). It’s your job now to be proactive and to develop your tool belt in moving forward.

Develop Your Tool Belt

The tool belt. (Thanks Dad ;)). Maybe it’s the way I was raised in rural Alaska, but if there’s one thing my parents taught my sister and I, it was to work hard. We chopped wood, scrubbed floors (and toilets), painted sheds, plowed snow, cleaned out boats… I mean y’all, when you live in Alaska you have no choice but to be tough and I 100% believe this toughness has translated into the way I approach and handle life.

So, the tool belt.

Whether you’re an Alaskan, a sunny California girl, or somewhere in-between, there has got to be a time when you realize that having a set of tools on your tool belt is the best think that you can do when it comes to combating your mental health. These are the 4 tools I want you to get started with today:

  1. Identify your triggers. Who, what, where, when. Are there certain people, certain things, certain times of the day, or certain locations that cause you to experience your mental health encounters? Identify first and record in your journal.

  2. Develop the tools. Seeking out help from your counselor, doctor, a community of Moms just like you, or leaning into podcast shows like The Blossoming Mommy And Baby Show, or mental health programs like Grounded + Glowing will help you learn the skills you need to move through your mental health flare ups.

  3. Take a break! It’s easy to fee guilty about needing time for yourself as a Mom. Girlfriend! DON’T! It’s absolutely vital that you take time to refuel and recharge! You free up your mind and body when you do this so make sure you’re prioritizing it! (if you need help here, be sure to checkout Blossom After Baby!)

  4. Don’t do it all! Newsflash… we can’t do it all, so why put that much pressure on yourself? Take a look at your day and get very clear with what you can and can’t do. Prioritize your schedule. Be diligent about delegating. Know what roles you and your husband are both working towards in running your household. AND don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family.

Sweet friend, struggling with mental health and motherhood is a very real thing. Don’t be ashamed of it. Instead, recognize it and be proactive with how you are going to heal and grow through this! When you recognize, take action, and develop your tool belt, you are well on your way to becoming the healthy, happy Mom who were meant to be!

Cheering you on always, Momma. Oh! And don’t forget you can listen in to today’s blog post on The Blossoming Mommy And Baby Show on iTunes or Stitcher! You’ll LOVE the audio version! Just make sure you download + subscribe, then let me know over on instagram what your thoughts are on today’s message!

XO,
Jen

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