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Melt away your Postpartum Blues

Regardless of the fact that you wanted this child and are thrilled beyond measure with your wonderful new life together, you will also have the inevitable moments of exasperation, crankiness, doubts about your intelligence and patience, wondering why you ever decided to get into this in the first place. What follows is the RELAX! approach: some quick, down-to-earth tips to help keep you in relatively good psychological health. It is especially important to remember these tips in the fourth trimester - the three months immediately following childbirth. 

R Rest Whenever Possible

In this first week home, take to bed and ask for a meal to be served you there. Let a helper watch the baby while you nap (not while you search for the perfect cribsheet or do errands). The baby - and those errands - will be yours forever; the offers of assistance will not. 

E Expect to Feel on an Emotional Roller Coaster

You may feel elated one moment, weepy the next. Exhaustion heightens this dis-equilibrium, which may hit you over the head or creep up on you. All new parents experience this at some point post-childbirth. Remember: you are neither going crazy nor are you a bad parent. 

L Let the Feelings Out

Find a friend to talk with about the experience you're having. Another mother, even one with whom you aren't especially close, is a good bet: motherhood bonds. If that doesn't ease the tension, think about short-term counseling with someone who has no stake in your "acting nice." 

A Alone Time Each Day Is a Must

Schedule15 minutes each day to remind yourself you are a "you" - take a bath, read, daydream, whatever you enjoy. It is too easy to let yourself slip away in the pleasures and pressures of your new family life, and then resent that. 

X Exit for a Date with Your Spouse

It's tempting to get caught up in the joy of your new family and forget the romance of just you two. Don't. Working, caring for baby, helping each other out are wearing as well as fulfilling; you need to spend time alone nurturing your marriage. Have an intimate dinner, play a game, take a long stroll - just schedule some "couple time" each week so it won't get lost amidst the other demands on you. 

Rest whenever possible, expect to feel on an emotional roller coaster, let the feelings out, alone time is a must, and exit the house on a date with your spouse. And it just gets better and better and better... 

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