In my eighth week of being a mom to two boys, I’ve been reflecting on how much smoother this postpartum period has gone in comparison to my first.
I was truly traumatized after giving birth to Porter (you can read more on my first birth experience if you’re curious). My OB literally thinks I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During the immediate months after I gave birth, I would wake up in complete hysterics. I had sudden flashbacks of lying on that table, unable to communicate while they were cutting into me. I didn’t want to be touched and would subconsciously and sometimes consciously push Ryan away when he tried to hug me (his love language happens to be physical touch, so that was just great). It was pretty bad. I would obviously be a horrible candidate to fight in a war.
On the other side of the spectrum, this planned C-section was a complete breeze. Aside from having major abdominal surgery, I felt good physically AND mentally. But I don’t think that’s the only reason I’m doing better this time. During the past 2.5 years as a mom, I’ve learned a few things about myself. I now know what I need to do to keep myself out of crazy town…for the most part haha ;).
But really, my mommy meltdowns have been much fewer this go around and I’m able to objectively identify what I need in order to regain my sanity. This is what works FOR ME. This is not a solution for everyone, but I do think it might be helpful to anyone suffering from a little case of the baby blues. Not to confuse this with PPD. If you think you have PPD, get off my blog and call your doctor.
1. Don’t slack on your hygiene
Take a shower Every. Single. Day. Seriously ladies, don’t skip taking a shower just because you’re a mom. You’ll feel better if you just give yourself a quick wash. I’m not saying you need to wash your hair/shave your legs every single time, but at least rinse yourself and do a quick soapy wipe down. With that being said, don’t go too long between hair washes and leg shaves. It will boost your mood to have clean hair (even if you let air dry) and smooth legs. Put on some yummy smelling lotion afterwards.
2. Put on your make-up and WEAR LIPSTICK
Again, I’m only talking about what works for me here. There’s actually some science behind the psychological benefits of wearing lipstick. I’m like Speedy Gonzoles doing my make-up these days and I’m usually interrupted midway through, but I always make the effort to do it and I always feel better afterwards.
3. Get dressed
Even if you want to wear leggings. Don’t wear your spit-up leggings if you can; try to keep a clean pair on hand even if that means you need to buy a few more. And pair it with a cute top/shoes/jewelry.
4. Do your laundry
Even if you don’t have time to put it away. During this newborn phase, you’ll often find piles of clean clothes throughout my house.But isn’t that better than piles of dirty ones?
5. Get out of the house
I cannot stress this enough! Sometimes I cringe at the idea of loading up all the baby crap, coordinating feedings/diaper changes/snacks/ etc. in order to leave, but I ALWAYS feel better when I get out of the house. It’s so very important.
6. Make plans
After I had my first, I sort of became a hermit for a while. I was having a hard time and my solution to isolate myself wasn’t helping. Sometimes you might hesitate to make plans because you aren’t sure how your day will go. Will the baby be fussy? Will you be extra tired from a bad night sleep? Will your toddler be testy? Who cares? All of those things will still be your reality whether you sit at home and feel depressed, or get out and see your friends. I’ve found that Porter’s behavior actually improves when we go out and have play dates.
7. Stay hydrated
There’s research suggesting that dehydration actually affects your mood. So get yourself a CamelBak, Hydroflask or whatever and stay hydrated.
8. Drink coffee (if you’re used to drinking coffee)
This is a no brainer, folks. Caffeine is your friend. I often have an afternoon cup to get me through to bedtime. Hopefully that habit will end once Preston starts sleeping through the night.
9. Take time to yourself
This one is the most important, but hardest one to do. I still struggle with mom guilt when I tell Ryan I need to leave the house BY MYSELF. What is it with motherhood that makes you feel guilty when you do things for yourself? But it’s sooooo important. It will make you a better mom and wife.
10. Drink wine (duh)
You all knew this was coming. If you’re not a wine drinker, you should be. It’s a mood booster for me after a day of twonager melt downs and newborn crying. Obviously if you don’t drink, just disregard this one.
Family photo — Hilary Blair Photography
Postpartum woman — http://borgenproject.org/postpartum-depression-abroad/