*Disclaimer- I am not a medical doctor, nor do I claim to be. If you believe that you have mental health issues of any kind, please seek help from your doctor!
I opened my eyes and turned over in the bed. Through my windows I could see the sun starting to peek up over the horizon and her light was filling the morning. It was another day that I didn’t want to get out of bed.
All that I wanted to do was to pull the covers up over my head and never come out.
My husband starts to stir and get up to get ready for work and I realized that I’m going to be alone again today. Just me and my tiny infant son.
I wanted so badly to be a good mama to him. He deserves a good mama.
My husband kissed my head and went into the bathroom to get in the shower.
I wondered how many times I would cry that day because all I ever wanted to do anymore was cry. This wasn’t me. I had never been this person that would just cry for no reason or wish her life away.
That was when I realized that it was time to make a change. But what kind of change?
I had heard that exercise could help with postpartum depression but my running simply wasn’t cutting it and I really didn’t want to get on medicine.
This was two and a half years ago now and that was when I really decided to take control of my well being. This was when I decided that I would start weight training.
I’m not talking about lifting small weights for lots of reps, I’m talking heavy weight training.
I had already started studying for my CPT at this point and it was time for me to really dig in deep.
Because I knew that I wanted to help mamas everywhere on their postpartum fitness journeys. I wanted to get the message out that there were ways to overcome your postpartum weight loss struggles and learning a new lifestyle.
What I also knew was that I had friends that needed medicine to help them through their postpartum and obviously, there’s nothing wrong with that.
The choice I made for me was that I would do everything in my power to not use medicine, and my doctor backed me up on that decision.
There was a study that was published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2018 that showed that weight training had a surprisingly positive effect on depression.
In this study, there was a total of 33 clinical trials that had over 1,877 participants. Guess what this study showed?
The results of the study supported the theory that weight training can help depression symptoms.
Keep in mind that this particular study only was studying if weight training could help with depression, it wasn’t studying [or didn’t have a strong conclusion on] how it could help.
Brett Gordon, MS led the study and according to the full report, this type of study will continue to be able to back up the claim that weight training can improve depression symptoms.
While I know that this study doesn’t specifically say postpartum depression, I think the messaging is there and you can see my point.
The reason that I gave you that brief blurb from the scientific perspective is that I am firmly believe in providing information to mamas that is backed by science.
There is so much to be learned about the human body and why she does what she does, especially after having a baby.
The bottom line is this… If you need to go see your doctor about depression, DO IT, because there’s no shame in that at all. In fact, I kept my doctor up to date on this process. She supported me through it 100%. She encouraged me to try naturally first, but if the symptoms worsened at all to call her. Before you just dive into this, talk to your doctor first.
Through this process, not only did my depression get better, I started seeing some killer changes in my body.
My number one tip for a mama getting started in this process (besides working with your doc!), especially if you’re struggling with depression is understanding your current level of fitness.
As a mama, there’s a 9 out of 10 chance that your body is in a different place fitness wise than it was before you had your kiddos.
You know what? That’s totally okay.
A lot of mamas after they have their babies feel completely disconnected with their bodies and they simply feel out of touch. I know I did right after I had my Joshua!
This will mean that your fitness level will be ‘off’ and you will probably not be able to do things that you did before you had your little love.
GUESS WHAT? THAT’S ALSO OKAY.
I am a huge fan of compound/complex movements in the gym, but sometimes, our fitness levels don’t allow us to do those complex movements well enough to not hurt ourselves, which means we have to work up to them.
While other times we want to use a machine to target those muscles more specifically. (I’m always posting exercise ideas on Instagram!)
This means you can use machines or modify your compound movements. Create success. If one way doesn’t work, try another.
EXAMPLE. LET’S LOOK AT A PUSHUP.
Take a look at the below graphic. There are all different ways to do pushups and this graphic only shows a few. You can pushup into the wall, into a bench, from your knees into the floor, a full plank pushup, or elevated feet pushup.
Find what works and what you can do solidly, then work your way up.
Don’t stress. You’ve got this.
If creating your own workouts stresses you out, I have workout plans in my shop that resemble the types of workouts that I did and still like to throw in my routine that helped me on my journey.
Remember, please talk to your doctor, I am not a doctor and I don’t claim to be.
Postpartum depression is nothing to mess around with and if you decide to try to overcome your postpartum depression naturally, then that is between you and your doc.
Do I think it’s possible to overcome postpartum depression through weight training? Yes, I do, because it worked for me.
But that doesn’t mean it will work for everybody which is why keeping in touch with your healthcare provider is so important and realizing that I am not a medical professional, I’m just sharing what worked for me.
Hang in there, mama. This too will pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass. You are stronger than you know and you are capable of great things.
Believe in yourself and believe that you have the ability to take charge of your life. Because you do.
There’s no shame in postpartum depression, and there’s no shame in wanting to reach postpartum weight loss goals.
Talk to your doc first, and make the decision together on how you want to overcome your postpartum depression. Don’t let it be a cliché subject.