Mateo was about 4 when I reached a point of complete and utter despair. "Mom, I can't do this. I'm going to lose it. Can you please help me with Mateo?" I cried into the phone with tears running down my face.
I hadn't taken care of myself physically, mentally or emotionally since his birth, and my body and spirit were completely depleted. "Hormonal levels drop precipitously the minute the baby is born and the placenta is expelled, because the placenta was the hormone production factory in the body. So the reason different women react differently after childbirth really depends on how their body will cope with the change or the drop in hormonal levels," writes Sylvia Brown, author of "The Post Pregnancy Handbook."
The American Pregnancy Association says watch for three types of emotional changes after childbirth:
• Baby Blues. This is the least severe emotional reaction a new mom might feel. About 50 percent to 75 percent of all new mothers experience some negative feelings within four to five days after giving birth. Symptoms include crying, impatience, irritability and anxiety.
• Postpartum Depression. If your emotional state worsens and symptoms persist, you may be experiencing post-partum depression. Approximately 10 percent of new moms experience PPD. Symptoms vary from mother to mother and can be mild or severe. They can include extreme mood swings and suicidal thoughts.
• Postpartum Psychosis. The most severe of the three, PPP, is the rarest form of emotional upheaval after childbirth and occurs in 1 out of every 1,000 women. The onset is sudden and severe, normally two to three weeks after giving birth. Symptoms are characterized by losing touch with reality and can include: bizarre behavior, persistent suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and delusions. A mother dealing with PPP should seek medical treatment immediately.
Post-Pregnancy Healthy Eating
As a new mom, consider these 12 foods in their diets, according to WebMD, especially if breastfeeding:
1. Salmon:/b] rich in DHA which is good for baby's developing nervous system and for mom's mood.
2. Low-Fat Dairy Products:/b] good source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin D and calcium for bone health.
3. Lean Beef:/b] iron-rich to help boost energy and a good source of protein and vitamin B-12. (According to the Soyfoods Association of American, tofu and tempeh are excellent options for vegans and vegetarians.)
4. Legumes:/b] non-animal protein and iron
5. Blueberries:/b] antioxidants
6. Brown Rice:/b] whole-grain carbohydrates in brown rice help with energy levels
7. Oranges:/b] vitamin C
8. Eggs:/b] yolks provide vitamin D and protein
9. Whole Wheat Bread:/b] folic acid, fiber and iron
10. Leafy Greens:/b] vitamin A, non-dairy source of calcium, vitamin C, iron, antioxidants and low calories; opt for darker greens like spinach, Swiss chard and broccoli
11. Whole-Grain Cereal:/b] many cold cereals fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients meet daily needs.
12. Water:/b] To keep your energy levels and milk production up, new moms need to stay hydrated.
Avoid New Mom Burnout
For most healthy women, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity after pregnancy. It offers these cautions:
• Begin slowly and increase your pace gradually
• Avoid excessive fatigue
• Drink plenty of fluids
• Wear a supportive bra
• Stop exercising if you feel pain
• Stop exercising and seek medical help if you have bright red vaginal bleeding that's heavier than a period
New Mom Support Groups
"Joining a support group of moms going through the same thing (along with those who may have recently gone through the same thing) is one of the best things you can do for your state of mind," Dr. Mehmet Oz says. "In fact, studies show that handling a pregnancy with little emotional support is associated with greater emotional distress, anxiety and depression."
Streamline and Prioritize
Once you become a mom, it is even more important than before to prioritize your commitments. Scheduling too many activities will ultimately result in additional stress and frustration. I had to learn to say no to things not in the best interest of my family. I learned how to meet all my responsibilites within a more simplified schedule.
Don't Forget About Your Husband
When you bring your little one home, it is easy to forget about your hubby. It's not an intentional thing, it's just happens. Nonetheless, it is vital to make time to nurture your marriage and to dote on your spouse.
"Making the transition from carefree twosome to parenting an infant is the biggest challenge to many marriages," says psychologist John Friel, a marriage counselor and co-author of "The 7 Worst Things (Good) Parents Do." Force yourself to make time, he says.
"Focus on each other, and make it a habit."
Nix the Cigs, Body Fat
Did you know that cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects when taking oral contraceptives? The American Heart Association strongly advises women who use oral contraceptives not to smoke.
Losing baby weight is not just important to get back into your favorite jeans. "If you have too much body fat, especially if a lot of it is in your waist area, you're at higher risk for health problems," the AHA says. "These include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Women with excess body fat are at higher risk of heart disease, even if they don't have other risk factors."