Most moms to be expect their lives to change when their new bundle of joy arrives, however many don’t anticipate the weepy days/months after baby. Those days when one baby cry or comment from your partner can send you into a downward spiral. Rarely do I hear moms even talking about the postpartum blues in fear of appearing weak, thinking that having these moments (or days for some) somehow makes them less of a mom.
In my experience as a mom of 4, I can tell you having these moments when you don’t quite feel yourself after experiencing one of the most amazing gifts in life in downright awful!
With my first daughter, I was young and inexperienced in the baby department. After her birth, I had these feelings of wanting to keep her away from other people. I pretended it was because I was sleep deprived. Luckily, after a few weeks my hormones must have worked themselves out and I felt okay.
After daughter number two, surprisingly, I felt pretty great. Aside from being a tired mom, I felt myself.
So as you can imagine by the time I got to daughter number three, I was pretty cocky in my mom skills and thinking this time would be a piece of cake! After her incredible birth, I held that little monkey. She looked up at me and in this moment, I felt sort of empty. I knew I loved her very much but that incredible full heart oozing with mom love was missing. As the weeks and months went on we grew closer and my bond felt stronger, but I remained a little empty for several months. I didn’t want to admit to my family or friends I was having these feelings, so when asked I simply said I was doing great. Eventually, going back to work seemed to help and make me feel more complete again.
Now as a 34 year old “seasoned” mom I was well aware of the weepy days and the possibility of depression following the birth of my son. And as expected, the few days after I felt the hormones taking over. The best way to explain is going from a huge exciting high to a blah feeling. I felt guilty feeling blah as a looked down at the most amazing little creature my fiancé and I could not wait to experience together. When I arrived home from the hospital, I just wanted to cry. I wasn’t really sure why.
Because I was aware these feelings are”normal” in the first couple weeks but may become worrisome if prolonged, I decided to make a plan to deal with my blues before they got the best of me. As a mom and a teacher, I love my lists!
Here is my baby blues to do list:
- Get showers daily. Get dressed and put a little makeup on. You know how they say dress for the job you want? Really, that is a confidence thing. By putting in a little effort to make yourself look good you actually might feel a little more together as well. Plus you get the bonus of looking cute when all those photos are being taken of you and baby!
- Eat well and eat often! We won’t let our babies go hungry so why would we let ourselves be hungry? Picking healthy nutritious foods will help lift your mood as well as keep you full longer. Try having a protein packed snack in between each meal (homemade protein balls or Greek yogourt are a great snack).
- Exercise! I know it can sound like a daunting task, and when will you ever have time while caring for your newborn? Incorporating your baby into your workout can be easier than it sounds. Pop him/her in the stroller and head to an indoor track (if it’s winter or raining out), or simply stroll in your neighbourhood. You can start walking with your baby as soon as you feel up to it! Once you are cleared by your doc you can start adding in other baby fun workouts. Squats, dancing, shoulder presses, stair climbing, ad more can all be done with you holding your wee one! Getting moving can be one of the most effective ways to make you feel like you again. Or maybe an even better supermom version of yourself.
Here is part one of my Postpartum Workout Series:
- Listen to uplifting music. Put on your favourite tunes and sing/dance! Baby will love hearing mommy’s voice and love dancing with you.
- Get out of the house. I know those first few trips out of the house with baby alone are terrifying. What if he gets hungry at the grocery store, or she has a blow through poop at the park? Let me tell you, you will figure it out. All will be okay and mom will feel good she got out of the house.
- Talk to your partner, family, and friends about your blues. These people love you and they want the best for your mental health! Chances are your mom friends have experienced similar feelings.
Life changes with babies but it can be an incredible change! You don’t have to lose yourself when you become a mom. You can make yourself a better, upgraded Mommy version of the amazing woman you already are!