Exercise & Postpartum Depression

One out of nine women, who give birth, suffer from postpartum depression, according to the CDC. It's the most common complication mothers experience from childbirth... and it's also the least talked about by moms.

Suffering from postpartum depression doesn't just mean you're sad. Any type of anxiety, irritability, insecurity, guilt, fear, or even increased fatigue can be a symptom. For example, I didn't experience sadness at all; but rather I became anxious and irrationally angry. This is why it's so easy for us moms to just think it's a normal part of being a mom to a newborn. But the truth is that, although this may seem like our new "normal", if not handled appropriately, it can truly impact us long term. It can even affect how our children develop emotionally and cognitively.

A recent study showed that women who participated in exercises such as stretching, breathing, walking, Pilates and yoga, experienced less symptoms during the postpartum period than women who were not physically active. It also led the women to be able to rest more than those who didn't exercise. Exercise causes our body to produce endorphins, which are essentially feel good hormones. So what the women in the study experienced was their own body's natural version of antidepressants.

My first postpartum experience didn't include consistent exercise and a healthy lifestyle. With my husband being deployed, I depended greatly on quick fixes that would help me get through the day and ate a lot of fast food because it didn't "make sense" to cook for one person. This truly set me up for failure. I wasn't taking care of my body, which in turn led the stresses of being a new mom with a deployed husband even harder to cope with. This time around with my second postpartum experience, I have prioritized exercises and made healthier lifestyle changes. As a result, this postpartum period has been manageable and I feel like I'm truly capable to handle all the challenges this season brings.

Getting into fitness can be intimidating. Or maybe you feel like you can't find the time, let alone the energy. But I'm here to tell you that it's so simple to get started. You're not trying to become a pro lifter or bikini competition model. You're simply making time in your day to be the healthiest mom you can be. 30 minutes a day is optimal, but you'll feel different even if you begin with 4 minutes and gradually increase. Start by going for a walk with your kiddo in the stroller.

If I can do it, you can too. Let me help you and cheer you on. Motherhood is hard, but we don't have to do it alone.

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Embracing my God-given Worth is a Christian blog about motherhood, health and wellness, and stepping into the value and purpose God has given us.

SAn Diego, CA