When I was in the depths of my depression, I knew I had to get out of the house. I did not know what was wrong with me, but I knew I was spending too much time home alone with my baby. But I was too overwhelmed to do laundry, let alone plan an expedition to the park. It was much easier to stay at home.
Let me plan some easy outings for you. I will tell you everything you need to know so you do not have to worry about the logistics. I have been to all of these places and think they are great places for a mom with PPD to go. These are the sorts of outings that will help you build momentum and confidence.
First easy Pasadena outing: the pet store. Specifically, PetSmart.
Pasadena's PetSmart is in East Pasadena in the shopping center off Foothill Blvd with Best Buy, Old Navy and Nordstrom Rack. It's website is here. For our purposes, it is almost always open (every day, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Parking is easy and free. There's a big lot, and there is always plenty of parking available right by the PetSmart entrance. (Ok, it might be crowded on Black Friday and Christmas Eve You have my permission to avoid those crowds.)
The doggy day care is at the back of the store and the dogs are lots of fun to watch. I took Pippa there all the time when I was still recovering from PPD. We spent a lot of time sitting on the floor watching the dogs. For a little baby, it's better than the zoo because the animals are right there. I'm not joking. I used to take Baby Pippa to the zoo and I'd be pointing at the zebras and she would be admiring the fence post. But if I took her to PetSmart, she would watch all the animals furiously while buzzing with joy. In addition to the dogs, Petsmart has fish, hamsters, birds, mice, guinea pigs, turtles and sometimes even a chinchilla. (Chinchillas are so cute. Just Google.) There are also cats, but most of the time, they are in their cages sleeping.
In the back of the store, there is a bathroom AND IT HAS A CHANGING TABLE. And it's always clean! My grocery store does not have a changing table, but PetSmart does. WTF?
This outing is FREE. You don't have to buy anything. Ever. If that makes you feel guilty or a little anxious, I understand. PPD really knows how to press our guilt and anxiety buttons. Take a deep breath. Try to summon up a feeling of calm. Guess what? Dozens and hundreds of people wander into PetSmart every day to look at the animals and they do not buy anything. The PetSmart employees do not care if you spend money. (They will care if you let your child wreck the display of Martha Stewart dog outfits.)
Breastfeeding: Full disclosure - I stopped breastfeeding when Pippa was four months old, so I have not personally vetted this issue. If you want privacy, and the car does not work, you could try the dressing rooms at Nordstroms Rack and Old Navy.
What to turn this into a bigger outing? Hit the shopping center's Starbucks and get yourself a treat. After you have spent enough time admiring the goldfish, visit Party City. If your baby is old enough, buy her a mylar balloon. It will stay inflated for weeks. Have lunch at Chipotle or Togo's. Or just hit and run PetSmart. There is no wrong way to do this outing.