Rising Above Postpartum Depression

Everyone experiences difficult seasons of life, times that cause us to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities and habits. Although difficult at the moment, these times in our lives can be catalysts for significant growth. 

This was the case for my podcast guest, Ashley Vipond. After giving birth to her son, Ashley, like so many other women, was struggling with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects many women after childbirth. 

The experience of PPD looks different for everyone. Some women struggle to bond with their babies while others feel overwhelmed and incapable of raising their child. In some cases, women may experience thoughts of wanting to hurt themselves or their baby. 

For Ashley, her experience of PPD primarily consisted of extreme exhaustion and a constant anxiety over the health and safety of her son. She also dealt with extreme and sudden bursts of anger, often triggered by situations that wouldn’t typically warrant an intense emotional response, such as her son taking his socks off. 

As is recommended for any woman who suspects they may be dealing with postpartum depression, Ashley sought the help and support of her OBGYN who referred her to a counselor and psychologist. 

The process of developing a care plan for Ashley’s PPD involved a lot of trial and error. She tried various medications, but none seemed to help. She realized very quickly, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to treating postpartum depression. 

For Ashley, overcoming her PPD had so much more to do habits than medication. Her greatest tools were exercise and building a positive mindset

As a certified health trainor herself, Ashley was very familiar with the many benefits of regular exercise. For her, it was so much more than “losing the baby weight.” Exercise is a mood booster that is clinically proven to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression. Building habits of regular exercise had a huge impact on Ashley’s experience of postpartum depression. 

She also consistently filled her mind with positive messages that encouraged her personal growth and development. Encouraging books and podcasts became an integral part of her daily care. 

Over time, these consistent habits made a huge impact on Ashley’s ability to manage and ultimately overcome postpartum depression. She regained her joy for life and confidence in her motherhood.

Now you may be thinking, “I’ve tried to build positive habits like that before, but it never works! They never stick!” 

If you are feeling this way, you aren’t alone. For many of us, we know the changes we need to make and the habits that we wish we had, but actually making lasting change in our habits and behaviors is hard work! 

Ashley’s tips: 

  • Don’t set yourself up for failure! Make realistic goals you can actually keep!

  • Create a plan for success with your partner/support system. 

Ashley was successful because, unlike so many of us overly ambitious goal setters, she didn’t set out to exercise for an hour every day of the week! Her initial goal was to exercise twice a week. That’s it! It may seem small, but it was a commitment she could keep! Over time, that commitment because a habit that had lasting effects on her mood and overall well-being. 

She also created an action plan with her husband. They defined what each of their roles were in taking care of their home and their child. They scheduled time for Ashley’s self-care. They made it possible for her to build healthy habits, because they established shared expectations and made a plan for success. 

To hear more of Ashley’s inspiring story, head over to my podcast (link above!)  and take a listen to her journey!

Jessica Milanes