Before I go on, let me just start off saying that just because I have two children by no means do I think I am a pregnancy expert. Everyone has their different experiences regarding this vast subject and is entitled to their own opinions. So what I write is based on my own experience, so take it or leave it. 😉
Ive worked for and took care of children for many years long before I was married and became pregnant with my firstborn. And when I did finally become pregnant, like many other women, Ive read tons of books, researched, and talked to other mothers about all things pregnancy, baby, parenting, etc. But there was one thing I wish someone talked to me more about, and that my friends is Postpartum Depression aka the ‘Baby Blues’. Not every woman experience it, and some do. Sometimes for a few weeks, months, or maybe even a year.
I have come across this subject before, glanced across it in many articles, and have heard of the term ‘Baby Blues’. But Ive always associated that term by envisioning some weepy woman sitting in a chair crying over bon bons. Unfortunately, in my case, it was much uglier than that!
When I first became pregnant I knew I wanted to be SAHM and take care of my children. I left a full time job and the opportunities for advancement to take care of my kids and was glad to do so. I have studied some child psychology in college, had worked with kids of all ages, so I believed I was mentally, physically, emotionally prepared for all that my new bundle of joy would bring. Boy was I wrong.
Motherhood is a glorious, beautiful, roller coaster ride and until you experience it you can never be fully prepared for all that it brings. The love that is bursting through your veins, the expectations you may be carrying on your shoulders, the desires and passions you want to make a reality for your children is alot. Beautiful, but not easy.
The actual definition of Postpartum Depression is : (n) Depression suffered by a mother followinf childbirth, typically arising from a combination of hormonal changes, psychiological adjustment to motherhood, amd fatigue.
In the case following my 1st pregnancy, it was much different than being teary eyed, crying over everything kind of depression. It was a lot of inner frustrations, expectations, new experiences, tiredness, all balled up into one and the outcome wasnt pretty at times. I was more upset, angry, and frustrated. I didnt lose the baby weight although I was nursing consistantly because I took everything to another love- sweets. Particularly ice cream. I cant say how long it lasted for me, im guessing on and off for about a year. I wasnt officially diagnosed with PPD, but looking back all my symptoms and situations expressed it clearly, though at the time I didnt realize I was going through that.
Thank God my husband is a patient and God seeking man!
I wasnt prepared for how difficult it can be postpartum. With recovery, nursing a baby around the clock, staying at home full time, coupled with worries and expectations of how I expected things to be it was alot. Dont get me wrong, I loved it, and there was no other thing I wouldve rather been, but it surely wasnt a walk in the park!
This time around with my 2nd pregnancy, I was much better prepared and experienced and have made some changes that have made things alot easier this time around.
So here are the changes Ive made and my 3 important things to do:
Yes, I know, your priority is your children now. But lets not neglect the other relationships that we had before our children came along. It is vital and a neccesity to keep our time with God. I know its difficult with all our responsibilities but its really needful. Im not going to say how long you should be spending time with the Lord, thats between you and him. In Him is where we find grace, stength, wisdom, perserverance, love, patience, things we really need as mothers.
Nexr priority is your husband. Its very easy to be engulfed and enamored by this tiny human being you just pushed out of you that you can somehow put aside other important relationships. Keep a date night with your spouse. Even if your home cooking together. Communicate and explain to him your feelings, expectations, etc. Ask and be willing to recieve help! We cant do everything. Explain to your husband what you need and how he can help make things easier for you. This is a partnership folks.
2. Know yourself
For the sake of my sanity, its important for me to keep a balance. A balance of roles, expectations, priorities. I didnt realize how dificult the transition would be for me from working full time to staying at home. I thought I would enjoy every second of staying home, but being in NYC and being used to the hustle and bustle of city life to staying at home with a newborn who cant even talk yet, the transition was harder for me than I thought. Im a city girl. I love going out, trying new things, traveling, and I thrive on positive fun energy and being around positive people. I wasnt prepared for the isolation I felt and even put myself in.
Theres aint no shame in being open. In calling your closest friends up or moms and saying your havinf a particularly diffucult day or time. That not every minute is a bed of roses.
What I learned this time around is not too lose myself in just one role. I love motherhood, I love being a mom and caring for my babies. But thats not all there is too me. Thats not only who I am and the role I play in this life. I see for myself the importance of balance. Letting go of high expectations is crucial. Stop comparing yourself to other moms, or even the image you prepared for yourself. Know your weaknesses and strengths and let God continue to mold you and guide you into the woman he has called you to be.
If your an outgoing person then this tip is for you. This is is something I wish I did more of postpartum and im not ashamed to say it. Are you ready for it? Here goes:
Yes. Get out the house for a bit. Take a walk. Get some fresh air. Even if its brick outside. Go to a coffee shop, the grocery store. Meet up with some friends for an hour. Go to the gym.
yes I know you just had a baby. Taking a little time for yourself to do something is not a sin. It’ll refresh, and re-energize you for the day ahead.
But you may not be like me and not want to go out. You love staying home and not really seeing people. As for me, I really look foward to this time and have found it really helpful in terms of any PPD prevention
So there you have it. I know this post was really long so If you’ve read the entire post through I hope you’ve found it helpful or atleast entertaining in some way.