How about those hormones?
You always hear about the dreaded “Day 3, Day 4, Day 5” postpartum. You hear the stories of moms bursting into tears staring at their babies, or when their partners say the wrong – heck maybe even the right thing! I listened to these tales for months. I diligently listened to the stories and made mental notes. With an anxious mind, the logical side of my brain thought it had it figured out, while the other half (the anxious half) laughed. I read about the postpartum period in my baby books and felt like I had some general concept of what it meant.
In the past few days I have cried thinking about going back to work (next year). Sobbed while I fed her thinking about when she won’t want to breastfeed anymore. The tears flowed freely as I scrolled through Facebook and saw a story on a puppy who got adopted.
As I write this, I am 8 days postpartum. My husband and I were thrilled to welcome our little girl into our lives after a difficult pregnancy. We relished in her beauty in the recovery room, we stared at her for as long as we could hold our eyes open. We had spent months waiting for this moment. It was absolutely love at first sight. Everyone says they have the most beautiful baby, but really…sorry, we do.
The hours ticked by. The midwives came in to check on us, helped with initial breastfeeding, and offered us any support we needed. While time seemed to pass slowly, in a way it flew by. I’ll happily get into my birth story later on as the weeks pass, but for now, I think I am still processing it all. I never could have imagined loving a tiny human whom I had just met, as much as I love this little girl.
So why have I shifted course? Those of you who have been following along from the start are used to posts about essential oils! That’s how Essentially Sassy was born. I dreamed about what this new business venture could do for my family, and dove in head first. So why the shift? Well, the essential oil posts will still come. I haven’t jumped off that soapbox yet. But for now, my life has taken on a new purpose, a new direction, so Essentially Sassy has grown. It’s not just a business name, it’s who I am. It’s how I live my life! I believe in honesty, and telling it how it is, and sometimes, being a little sassy.
Okay, okay. Back to the task at hand, that first week. As much research as I did, nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. The terrifying part about pregnancy, and postpartum, is that everyone experiences it differently. No two experiences are the same – so how do you prepare?
I think in the past few days, I have cried more than my newborn baby. I find myself questioning everything I do, every decision I make, wondering if I am actually doing the right thing at all, and sometimes, wondering what exactly we got ourselves into. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in love with my daughter, but even so, I find myself questioning how we could have thought having a baby was for us. I have no idea what it takes to be a mum. When she cries I am nervous I’ve done something wrong. I get anxious when she sleeps for too long, or when I have to wake her up to feed. I am questioning just about everything I can.
This has been one of the hardest, yet most rewarding few days of my life. And yet, I find myself sobbing at random times, questioning myself all the time. The tears and shift in mood comes on so fast!
So here is what I have to say to new moms who may be in the same boat as I am:
Remember to breathe
This tiny human has no idea what they are doing either, cut yourself some slack and remember to take it hour by hour, day by day. The mood shifts may happen in the blink of an eye, but it too shall pass. So just take a deep breath, and know that it will all be okay.
Actively think about the good
My husband actually suggested this one, and I am so glad that he did. At the end of the day, or in a quiet moment we both sit and share what our favourite part of the last day was. Whether it was getting to take a shower, or family snuggles on the couch, it’s important to continue to direct your brain to the positive.
This one is huge for me personally. Even if it is just standing in the yard, or the driveway for 10 minutes, go! Breathe in the fresh air, take the baby, or not, but get yourself outside for some period each day. Feeling the fresh air on my face and even sometimes the sun on my skin has helped immensely.
You can’t pour from an empty cup
Whether you are leaning on your partner, or a parents, or a friend, find someone who you can talk to about anything, and take care of you. Yes this little life is precious, but so are you. If that means you have to put your little one down for a few minutes (in a safe place) and let them cry so you can leave the room and just take a deep breath, that’s okay. Remember that you are human and you have needs as well. Do your best to fill them, and you may find it helps you cope with the sleepless nights, diaper changes, and fussy babies in the coming months.
I know this is a shift from my usual posts. But I fully believe that being more honest with myself throughout my pregnancy about the postpartum reality, I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself the past days. The tears flow freely, and I know it will take time for my hormones to regulate. I just keep reminding myself that each day that passes is special, and finding the light in the dark moments is what will keep me going.
Stay strong mamas. We have one of the hardest jobs on the planet. I’m only a few days in and I already know that. Find your tribe, speak freely, and be kind to yourself. The days will pass and it will all be okay.
*If you think you are suffering from more than the baby blues, and have ventured into postpartum depression, please don’t hesitate to get some help. Talk to your partner, talk to your doctor, just talk to someone. No one should have to go through PPD by themselves, and it is absolutely something that you can overcome.*