Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Post Partum Depression: A Time to Simplify
Well, once again, I am going to try to type fast! I hope I can get this post finished tonight. : )
I thought I'd post on post partum depression, and how to cope with household responsibilities.
I suppose this would be good advice for anyone who is depressed- post partum or not. Life in a depression (or other debilitating disease) is a time to simplify. A time to get our focus back on what really matters.
So tip number one (and these are not listed in order of priority, just whatever order they come to mind in) is (drumroll, please) use paper plates. : )
When I was depressed, I couldn't even do the dishes. I could get some kind of a premade meal onto a cookie sheet, because I didn't want to starve, but even the idea of clearing the counters was just too much for me most days. Using disposable dishes is cheaper than hiring a maid, and more sensible than spending time in the psych ward, so make things easy on yourself, and just simplify. For the post partum mom, this will give you either more time with baby, or more time sleeping! Very necessary.
I mentioned those cookie sheet dinners. I knew nothing about nutrition when I was depressed, so we ate a lot of hot dogs, etc. I am not recommending that. So:
Tip number two would have to be: simple, healthy meals. You are going to have to eat reasonably healthy foods, if you are making an effort to lead depression behind. This would warrant a separate post in itself, but the main idea is: eat simple:
-Eat a piece of all natural whole grain bread for breakfast, with some organic butter.
-Eat a free range egg. It's not too hard to fry an egg!
-Eat raw fruit with each meal, or a raw vegetable. That's easy, because all you do is peel it.
-Reduce foods that take a lot of effort for your body to digest. Fasting is so good for you because every day it takes a great deal of energy for your body to process all the food you put into it. Now, when you fast, your body has vast stores of energy freed up to heal your body! Now if you don't think you can fast, that's ok, but eat less fatty meats. Eliminate processed sugar. Try a small piece of fish instead of beef, and some raw honey instead of sugar. Eat greens- they are good for your brain, and detoxifying for your body.
I know I am probably writing to some moms who have to feed their family too, and often it seems like a big stretch just to take care of themselves. Well, let me say that joy comes from serving. You will not feel as badly if you find a way to keep your family fed. So:
Buy two or three kinds (only) of good quality, whole grain cereal for breakfast, and eat it with some organic milk or soy milk. No sugar please!
For lunch, serve whole grain toast with natural peanut butter, and some pre-cut carrot sticks; maybe a small piece of cheese, or an apple. Drink water!
Now supper! You may have a hungry husband or group of teenagers who will not be satisfied with just toast for supper, so invest in a crockpot. Yes, we are still staying simple here. A crockpot (slow cooker) is simple because you just put something in there, and leave it. I often put a small roast and potatoes; some onions and carrots, and then leave it all day on low. At the end of the day when everyone is hungry, this is very good. Another easy one is: put some small white beans (navy beans) at the bottom of the cooker (maybe one cup), and cover with water. Then place a small chicken over top and sprinkle with seasoning. Cook on low all day. The beans will cook in the chicken juices, and this makes an easy, hearty meal. Add a precut salad, and a low fat dressing.
Time for tip 3: Pare down toys, and clothes. Just get rid of some of what you have. We often had too many clothes in the house, because I would just bring "a few things" home from the second hand store. I actually enjoyed shopping like this more than I enjoyed washing our clothes. But if I had only had 5 loads of laundry in the house TOTAL, it wouldn't have made such a huge, imposing pile. One load of laundry a day isn't too bad.
My kids always had way too many toys. At one point of exasperation, I put away everything except their Duplo (Lego brand). It was actually such a blessing to them (and me). The children didn't wonder about what they would play, or how to get it all cleaned up. They played a different game with eachother every day, because lego is one of those imagination type of toys, where things are different every time. They've been playing duplo for 9 years now. The odd time, the twelve year old will still join in, because they've built such close relationships playing together, and have such good memories of it.
So, throw some out, and give some away. It will take work at first, but then there will be a lot more peace.
Tip number four: Draft any older children available for chores. If you are post partum with your first, or with only toddlers, then this won't work, and you will have to keep thinking those creative, paperplate kind of thoughts. But if you even have a six year old, you have a valuable helper, one to be thankful for! A six year old can wipe the toilet seat with a baby wipe. They can wipe out the inside of the sink with a towel. They can set the table, and clear it. An eight year old can do laundry, if you have a front load. They can sweep the center of a room. : ) They can make beds, and at least make things look more decent. They can dust, and follow around a toddler. : )
Tip number five is appropriate to end with, even though I'm not done: Get enough sleep. Yes, you've heard it before. But I just want to point out that it is EASIER to get out of bed in the morning if you do it at the same time every day. Even if you are being woken up in the middle of the night by a nursing baby, and feel like you will just die if you were to try to wake up early... Let me assure you, you can! I say this as compassionately as I can from the heart of one woman to another. I've been there. I have felt that way too. I survived, and you will survive!
The one thing that got me through those seasons like that in my life was to read my bible. I would drag myself out of bed feeling AWFUL. (I don't have to tell you, if you have battled depression or any other disease, you know.) But I would put that bible in front of my eyes, and I would get up again the next day and do it again. Sometimes that bible reading would really change the course of that one day, and give me the strength I needed- one day at a time. Other times it was a link to a bigger miracle, that God worked over a period of time. Either way, the bible was my life line during those seasons. When it is hard for me to find time to read my bible enough, I will:
Read it in the middle of the night when I wake up.
Listen to it on cd as I'm falling asleep.
Keep worship music playing in the house during the day.
Pray in the Spirit while in the shower, or doing the laundry.
Pray. Get on my knees alone for even a minute, and ask Jesus to be bigger to me than the pressure I feel at that moment. He always is! He has never left me!
If you don't know Jesus, and you need His help, remember that He came to seek and to save the ones who were lost. He came to undo the work of the devil in your life. He came so that anyone who would believe in Him would not be lost. Do you know Him? All who call on His name are saved. Pray to Jesus, and then listen.