I've had several questions in my inbox about depression. All I can share is what worked for me. I do encourage you to follow the links to the conversation, even if you just read and decline to participate.
Here is the quick list of my postpartum essentials, bearing in mind that for me, postpartum continues through weaning;-):
- at least 400 mg of DHA every day. I take mine in the form of Cod Liver Oil.
- 5,000 units of Vitamin D. I don't drink milk when I'm pregnant or nursing (or really any other time, come to think of it). I don't get outside much with winter newborns. This is a huge amount of Vitamin D, equivalent to what you'd find in 40 glasses of milk. I seem to need every drop.
- Progesterone cream two weeks a month.
- A good mulitvitamin and extra calcium and magnesium. Cal-mag get depleted when you nurse for long periods of time and that leaves women very prone to anxiety.
- No caffeine. Depletes vitamins, feeds anxiety. Same can be said about sugar. if you are craving chocolate, you need magnesium.
- Exercise. Absolutely, completely non-negotiable.
- Fresh air and sunshine.
- Sleep. Duh, right? But I've learned to stop myself and ask if I'm genuinely depressed or just so tired that I can't cope. When you are tired day in and day out for many months (years), you stop recognizing fatigue for what it is. Recognition is a skill worth relearning.
- Talk it out. Be careful who you choose as a confidante. Begin with your husband.
- Frequent the sacraments and enlist the help of a good spiritual director. Satan would like nothing more than to discourage good moms in their mothering.