Post-Partum Depression and making game plan | Southern Utah Mama + Photographer
We mamas know that being pregnant + having a baby leaves us riding a roller coaster of emotions. Weird cravings, being uncomfortable, pushing or cutting out a human, squishy parts that weren't squishy before + alll the hormones. Oh do I remember the days!
When I had my first baby, I struggled a lot with Post-Partum Depression however, it wasn't something that was openly talked about then like it is now. I remember my doctor asking me if I was suicidal or had thoughts of harming my baby and whew, I was wondering what on earth.
Fast forward a few weeks and although my thoughts never really got too dark, I was most certainly down.
I remember one night being in the shower and having Kenna in her bouncer in the front room. Dustin was in our room which in our tiny apartment, wasn't far.
She started to cry and and at first I kind of waited to hear him scoop her up.... a few minutes pass and she's crying harder, etc. I hop out of the shower soaking wet + now sobbing, scoop her up, and held her as I sobbed.
A few minutes go by and Dustin comes in to ask me what I am doing and I snapped at him making a snarky comment about how I was in the shower and how when a baby is crying he should see what's going on.
I had no idea the roller coaster of emotions this would throw me. I was 19 years old and we just got home from a five day NICU stay. I was clueless, but I think we all are.
No one truly knows what having your first baby will be like and when you think you have it in the bag, you are thrown a curveball!
Looking back on things today there is so much that I know now that I wish I would have known then. I was in a fresh marriage + pregnant so we can say that communication was a little rough back then, but I wish I would have spoke up.
I wish I would have known that there are a few things you just have to let go of during the first few months of your baby's life and I want to share them with all you mamas:
01. Lower your expectations
I am talking low mama. The house will not get clean today and laundry will sit until you have nothing to wear, but you will enjoy spending time on that couch snuggling your babe ;)
Don't feel like you have to do it all and stay on top of everything you did before their arrival. You are figuring out a new life so let a few things go + just savor the moment. I give you full, judgement-free permission!
02. Give yourself permission to feel all the feels without the guilt
You just birthed a human and not only are your hormones out of whack, but you aren't sleeping. I don't know about you, but I'm a cry baby when my sleep is lacking so adding crazy hormones on top of that is a recipe for a mess in my book.
That being said, give yourself permission to feel all of it. The entirely new level of sleep deprivation, being overjoyed one minute and wishing someone would watch the baby and give you a break the next. It's new waters you are navigating and a lifestyle change... it just takes time.
Do NOT spiral down the hole of guilt. It is ok and it will be ok. Know that it is a temporary feeling that will eventually pass and you will find your rhythm + be sailing those uncharted waters more freely before you know it.
03. Don't be afraid to ask for help
I made this mistake more often than I like to admit. I was "that awesome mom that had it all under control" when really I was crumpled up on the couch crying more often than not. This got especially bad after having my third.
I so desperately wanted my two girls to be gone for a few days so I could just spend some time with my boy and be able to take a nap without fear of disaster hitting, but here's the kicker, no matter how many times help was offered, I declined.
I'm a people pleaser friends and I didn't want to put anyone out. What a crazy thing for me to think and looking back, I wish I would have spoke up and said yes.
04. Keep communication open with your other half
Do not bottle up your feelings and keep them from your husband. He is the person that you should be able to talk about every aspect of your life with. If you don't tell the guy how you're feeling or where your head is at, he won't have a clue.
I heard a quote that said something like you cannot get mad at someone for not doing something you never asked.
You guys, if you don't ask, the answer will always be no. So tell your main squeeze that you need him to take the baby for a few hours each morning (or evening if he has to go back to work) so that you can do you.
If you do not get any "me" time to fill your cup, you won't have much to give and it will feel like an uphill battle.
People want to help and during a time like this believe me, your hubs feels helpless because if you're nursing, you are the only one that can feed that baby and he wants to help in any way that he can. It's good to feel needed ya know?!
My advice to you mama is to write these four things down + stick them on your fridge or a place that you will look several times a day to remind you that having a new baby is hard, but it does get easier with time.
Before you know it, you'll be chasing your dreams with a baby on your hip! You've got this!!