After having my baby, Mia, in December, I never thought in a million years I would get the "baby blues." Having a baby was something I’ve always wanted, and I was thrilled to have her.
Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that are outside of our control — your hormones go absolutely crazy after giving birth, and there’s very little you can do about it. I just had to ride out the hormonal and emotional changes the best I could. I spent at least 10 days feeling really sad and crying constantly.
This wasn't the first time I'd battled emotional issues: I struggled a lot with low self-esteem as a teen. I would constantly think I wasn’t pretty or skinny enough, and I was a victim of classroom bullying. I was called "stick creature" because I was tall, and kids would make frog noises when I walked past them because of my big eyes.
I followed the magazines' step-by-step instructions in the gym, and started looking online for workout videos. I started to feel better almost instantly on the inside and the outside: I discovered self-compassion and how to nurture and love my body, and the endorphins reduced my stress and anxiety and boosted my self-esteem.
I was able to flip my mentality and start looking in the mirror every day and say "I am good enough!" Fitness was a big part of finding my happiness.
It wasn’t until I started doing some light workouts that I started to feel better after giving birth to Mia. It’s so amazing how good you can feel after moving your body and getting the blood flowing again. Finding time to work out with a baby has been challenging, but I manage my time wisely. I know if she’s napping, it’s my time to exercise. I also do light cardio or floor work while she’s sitting in her swing.
Each day I try to eat feel-good nutritious foods (I love almonds, whole grains, lean protein like chicken or salmon, and I’m a sucker for fruit smoothies with some coconut water or Greek yogurt) and make sure to go outside and get some sunshine.
One of the most important things I’ve learned has been to put my phone down every once in a while. I think we’re all guilty of spending too much time on our phones instead of being in the moment, so I try to take walks without mine, and of course, I try to disconnect when I’m with Mia to be fully in the moment.
Other women need to know that they shouldn’t feel ashamed if they’re battling depression or the baby blues. Talk to someone—a loved one, a counsellor, a friend, or anyone you feel comfortable with. It’s so important we talk about depression more and end this cultural taboo of keeping it hush-hush.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US