When we added Bug to the mixture, I honestly wasn’t that worried. I was ready to have a newborn and to be completely honest, I thought adding one would be easier than adding a foster child. In some ways, it was easier than saying yes to another placement. In other ways, it was the hardest parenting step I’ve ever taken.
Despite being prepared for the possibility of being touched by post partum depression, I was surprised when it hit. For about 6 months after Bug came along, I swore I wouldn’t be having another child biologically because I couldn’t stand the thought of developing those feelings again.
Obviously, the decision to never have a baby again did not stick. A few months out of the deepest of depths of PPD and Josh and I were already talking about when to have the next baby and the pros and cons of each age range. (We decided for 2/3 years and got pregnant the first month not preventing!)
The memory of my struggles post partum have not become a distant memory though. I swore I wouldn’t let them disappear from my mind and become one of those “This is the best time of your life” women, dismissing the immediate struggles after birth as I moved further and further away from that stage and I haven’t. I’m readying myself for the post partum phase; all the hormones, the lack of sleep, and planning how to combat PPD. For all those other new mothers out there I wanted to share some of my ideas!
- Eating right. This seems so obvious right? It’s easier said than done, new mamas. Your entire day is suddenly spent revolving around this new person. Food is such an important aspect; food is also something you can quickly forget or not find time for. I am eating right, healthy, and enough from the first day out. I already have a “meal plan” in place and an app to help me make sure I’m eating as often as I should be.
- Getting the iron!! After my cesarean, I had very low iron. This is normal; I had just had a major surgery and I always have iron on the lower side anyway. While looking into how to get iron during pregnancy this time, I found a few articles on iron deficiency and the connection to PPD. While I am no scientist or nutritionist, the concept behind this connection makes sense to me. Iron deficiency causes fatigue and can affect depression in general. Why wouldn’t it be connected to post partum depression? I already began taking an iron supplement and will be continuing to take this through birth. As always please never take a supplement without your doctor’s approval.
- Going outside. I need sunlight; I crave natural light. My favorite room in our home is the sun room, which is completely surrounded by windows. This year is much more mild, thankfully, but I will be getting outside and walking as soon as I can-and sitting outside before that. Sunshine is a great resource, y’all.
- Having some mommy and daddy time-even if it means leaving my newborn! My husband goes back to work full time, right as I give birth. With Bug, he did as well. Our time together was usually spent with me handing Bug off and trying to take my own shower or maybe even pee on my own. Date nights were not happening, which was not helpful to our relationship. Josh and I’s “us time” is something we treasure and to not get it for a few months was not great for our marriage. I’m all about intentional dating, even with a newborn, and I won’t allow my mama guilt to stop me from spending time alone with my husband
- Asking for help. This is also about putting aside my pride and asking for help when I need it. This means logical help; asking my sisters to come help me with the older kids, letting them go to friends houses for sleepovers to give me a break, calling in my partners in church functions, saying no to added responsibilities. It also includes talking to people about how I’m doing and feeling and relying on them to not judge my moments of weakness. It’s normal to want to cry at 3am while your child is still not asleep and you know you’re going to have to get up in three hours to get the older ones ready for school. There is no shame that should follow the normal feelings of being overwhelmed and tired after a new baby enters your life. I’m going to ask for all the help I need this time. It takes a village; not just to raise a child but to raise up a mother.
- Saying no to church but yes to God. I’m extremely involved in our church and I love every moment of it. But newbornhood is a rough time frame to be involved. I am all about starting to say no to more responsibilities that first month or two with Bear. I’ve already begun pulling myself out of certain things that would add to the stress and limit my recovery time. I am also all about saying yes to Jesus though; saying yes to easy times of fellowship with friends stopping in and holding the babe while I shower or praying with my husband as I try to make it through a long shift. God is my rock and saying no to Him through this would be a mistake.
- Giving myself grace if it does develop again. I didn’t want PPD. I felt so much guilt over developing it. I spent a few weeks of misery trying to ignore it. Bug was so wanted; he was wanted by both Josh and I and he was tried for for months. I had friends who had been trying for years, friends who had just lost a baby, and friends who had it “so much harder” than I did. I should have simply been grateful and I dared to feel like this? I didn’t want any of it. But I got it. And I may get it again. This time, though, I will not be listening to the feelings of guilt nor will I be listening to the voices telling me I shouldn’t get help because others have it worse. Anyone who takes away the validity of your feelings deserves to be silenced…
evenespecially if the voices are your own inside your head. I am fighting to stay at peace even with the possibility of having post partum depression.
Having a newborn is a hard transition to make in life; your body is going through hormonal changes, you’re lacking in sleep, your body is tired and your mind is exhausted. I’m being intentional about taking care of myself this time and I hope other mamas out there will be joining me!