The 45 Best Tools for Fighting Postpartum Depression

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fight postpartum depression, baby bluesI’ve been having a little bout of depression, as you know. This means my trusty sunglasses and baseball cap are doing overtime duty, just as they did when I had postpartum depression.

When I’m depressed, I don’t care much about things like covering under eye circles with foundation, or minding the grease quotient of my hair, so I resort to full disguise. With glasses and a hat, who can see how bad I look? Who, I ask you?!  No one, that’s who!

At least that’s what I tell myself.

This led me to wonder what other handy tools a postpartum depression sufferer might want to have at her side. What are the best things to wear, eat, do, drink, and mask your body odor with? I decided to find out, so I turned to the experts: postpartum depression and anxiety survivors, also known as Warrior Moms.

Herewith, a list of the world’s 45 greatest tools for fighting against postpartum depression and anxiety, as offered by the readers of Postpartum Progress:

1. Sunglasses. Designer, preferably.

2. Baseball cap and/or dry shampoo.

3. Sweat pants. Or yoga pants. Or pants with an elastic waistband. ROOMY. PANTS.

4. Actually, get seven pairs of yoga pants so that way you can skip laundry for a whole week.

5. A “piss off” sign to hang on the door.

6. Chocolate in the form of brownies, M&Ms, ice cream, raw cookie dough, chocolate pie, swiss cake rolls … whatever it takes.

7. An empty health food bag to shove your chocolate in when someone’s coming.

8. Pony tail holders.

9. Bright red lipstick, to dazzle, disorient, distract and deceive.

10. Waterproof makeup. Like you’re going to put on makeup

11. Coffee.

12. Better yet, an espresso IV drip for a continuous source of caffeine to stay awake.

13. Listerine breath strips, for when brushing your teeth is not an option.

14. Extended paternity leave.

15. Microfiber cloth to clean the spattered salt of dried tears off of your eyeglasses.

16. Grey’s Anatomy marathon so it doesn’t seem as strange to sit on the couch all day crying.

17. Comedy.

18. Take-out food for when you just. Cannot. Cook. Another. Meal.

19. Memorizing your credit card number so you can order take-out from the car or wherever you are.

20. A punching bag or pillow for when the rage of postpartum depression is overwhelming.

21. A fake doctor’s note stating no sex or any other form of intimacy for six months.

22. A makeshift bed under your desk at work, a la George Costanza on Seinfeld.

23. Earplugs and blinders to drown out the judgemental comments and disapproving looks from people who don’t understand postpartum depression. Oh, and a spare set of thick skin.

24. Headphones that play the Peanuts teacher sound — “Wa-wah-wa-wah-wah” — to cover up family members’ not-s0-helpful suggestions.

25. A daytimetalk show that makes your life seem not as bad as theirs and/or Netflix documentaries so you can focus on problems too big for you to fix instead of the problems in front of you for a little while.

26. A “canned” auto-reply email for those down days that basically says, “I’ll get back to you.” Maybe.

27. Your favorite music, preferably loud enough to drown out any intrusive thoughts.

28. Exercise.

29. A Starbucks card and a full tank of gas so you can drive from one Starbucks drive-thru to the next while the baby is napping, allowing you to “get out” without actually getting out.

30. A closet to hide in.

31. A hot shower, for the accomplishment of cleanliness and/or crying in.

32. Obnoxiously strong men’s deodorant or body spray for when you just don’t have the energy or motivation to shower. Buy extra.

33. An “emergency” sitter who gets it when you say, “I need four hours free of my kids.”

34. Fuzzy socks and a fuzzy robe.

35. Sleep. And sleep aids, if necessary.

36. A good therapist.

37. Wine by the glass. Or the box.

38. A bar fridge next to the bed. To store the wine. And chocolate.

39. A television mounted on the ceiling so you don’t even have to sit up to watch TV.

40. Massages.

41. People who love you.

42. Connection to the outside world via text, telephone, cellphone, video chat, mommy and me classes or postpartum depression support groups.

43. Kleenex. Lots and lots of Kleenex.

44. A psychiatrist who can see you immediately, not in six weeks.

45. Postpartum Progress, “because no one else seems to get it like you ladies get it.”

I’d like to thank the following Warrior Moms for their contribution to this list, and for making me laugh on a day when I’d been crying. I love you all:

Melissa M., Alyssa H., Candace E., Kelly S., Adriana C., Jennifer C., Sarah R., Kimberly S., Robin M., Stacy R., Becky P., Arja L., Vanessa M., Brittany M., Tannis C., Melissa A., Amanda L., Naomi N., Christy B., Laura M., Reney F., Jessica M., Geraldine K., Holly C., Jixolet M., Ashley Y., Shannon A., Amber KP., Jennifer F., Candis T., Shannon F., Elicia B., Linsday H., Geneva K., Amy M., Kelly O., Lyla J. and Krista K.

Photo credit: © benchart – Fotolia.com

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  1. These are the greatest. I wish I would have seen them 4 years ago after the birth of my first child. I still appreciate and will share!

  2. I really love this list. First, because it’s hilarious. But also, because it’s all about *embracing* how you’re feeling, instead of trying to pretend it’s not happening. (Mood going pear-shaped? Own it! Starbucks, takeout, and Netflix will help you muscle on through…) On a personal note, I’m pretty sure dry shampoo saved my life during my PPD.

  3. Yup. I think you pretty much hit every nail on the head right there with those points. Although the idea of getting 7 pairs of yoga pants intrigues me. I was just recycling the two pairs I have all week long and hoping nobody got too close :-)

    I would also suggest a raucous sing along session to your favorite songs of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Ain’t nothing like a little “Cars” or “Duran Duran” to make me feel light again. The key is you must sing AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE.

    It will make you feel better. I can’t promise about the people around you!

  4. Thank you for this informative article. Also educate your readers about placenta encapsulation. Especially for a mother who has depression before she gives birth, she should save her placenta and have it turned into pills.
    The hormones in her placenta is a natural medication that will chemically balance her AND increase her breast milk. This is opposed to medication that in addition to Side Effects, is also unsafe for the baby.

    IPEN is an international directory for placenta specialists.
    Also try http://www.avoidthebabyblues.com

    I did this after I had my 2nd child, and my recovery and emotional stability was far better than after my 1st child, where I did not do placenta encapsulation.

  5. Dear Katherine. I love what you do here, but I need to tell you that this article bothers me a bit. In a recent post you were angry about people joking about “happy pills” but it seems ok to joke about drinking wine to alleviate depression. Especially since those of us on “happy pills” are not supposed to drink while medicated. Especially since so many people with depression in general turn to alcohol to relieve symptoms and end up in an even worse state. Please reconsider “wine by the box” as a tool for fighting postpartum depression.
    -Deanna

  6. The closet. Wow. Couldn’t believe it when I read that. When it was really, really bad, that’s where I would go – in the fetal position on the cold linen closet floor. I think it was the darkness that soothed me.