My PPD manifested as anger

If my toddler's feelings were big, mine were bigger. I had been a parent for 2 years before the birth of my son, and I felt like a really good one. Like, SO good. When my son was born I felt a shift occur between me and my firstborn. She was angry with me and didn't know how to say it, but goodness did she show it. She became louder & more aggressive and my patience just fizzled out entirely. Caring for a newborn, hormone fluctuation, sleeplessness, & her escalating behaviors drove me to a pretty ugly place. I would think to myself, "I don't like my kid" and then be gobbled up by the ensuing guilt. She'd hurt her brother, or throw a very normal tantrum and I'd yell, and then spend the next several days reminding myself that I'm a gentle parent. When I recognized the pattern we had fallen into, I did a handful of things to improve my mental health.

1. Buy a Good jogger

Securing this used double Bob stroller was one of the best things I did for future me. When my son was just 4 months old, my 3 year old fractured her tibia. At the time, it felt like drowning and someone handing me a three year old casted to their groin. For two months we strolled. We strolled to the coffee shop, to the park, to get groceries. We made multiple trips a day, rain or shine. The fresh air, the endorphins, the coincidental naps, it all played a huge role in bolstering my mental health.

2. Noise Cancelling Headphones

When my little ones would be crying in tandem, I would feel like coming out of my skin. Noise dampening headphones were like my secret weapon. My husband would walk in the door as I was cooking dinner, spot the red headphones, and instantly know that it had been a particularly hard day. Of course I could still hear my kids if they needed me, but for those of us battling overstimulation, these take the edge off.

3. Feed-n-Read

no more doom scrolling

The English Major in me was so proud when I decided to put down my phone during, what felt like, endless nursing sessions, and pickup a book. This one book was the catalyst for dozens more. My brain was so fried at this time, I couldn't have handled any book. I needed spicy, fairy, fantasy, and I needed it now.

4. Invest in a Massage Package

I knew that once my second child arrived, it would be more difficult to prioritize time out of the house. Birth, feeding, and co-sleeping put my body through tremendous strain. I was hurting and that only made me angrier. Massages were therapeutic and gave me a quiet space.

future you will thank you

Investing in your mental health is arguably the most important things you can do as a mother, and I'm a firm believer that you cannot poor from an empty cup. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and of course seeking medical advice is a great place to start. For me, these were very tangible things I could do daily (weekly for massage), to pull myself out of the throws of postpartum depression. Of course you can do hard things, but wouldn't it be nice if they didn't feel quite so hard?