So let’s be totally honest. Along with the absolute joy of bringing home a new baby there is also anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, lack of sleep, more lack of sleep, and generally unpleasant body issues going on. Yeah!
After I had doodledbug I was a bit more than overwhelmed. Looking back I would have done a lot of things differently – including talking to my doctor about postpardem depression and anxiety. I didn’t but I definitely think I should have.
Back then I felt totally overwhelmed and alone in this new place. I wasn’t totally alone – hubs was there but we weren’t as solid as we are now. We had been together just over a year when she was born and we’re just trying to get through it. I also didn’t feel like I really had a tribe of support around me. My parents live out of state, his parents are an hour away, and I felt alone and that I had to do it all. It was rough.
Before my sweet little man was born, I was already dreading the postpartum period because remembered how difficult I felt it was the first time. Because of that, I decided I was going to combat that and be proactive about my self care and what I thought would help me.
I know newborns are hard – colic, nursing schedules, lack of sleep (I feel like that’s been mentioned), and general fourth trimester issues cannot be avoided but I was going to make sure that my mind was right. Here’s how I chose to take care of myself.
Beginning at 5 weeks postpartum, I began to start moving my body again – to exercise gently. I put him in the stroller and began walking short distances. I’d get down on the carpet and do stretches to open my hips, legs and back after hours of nursing on the couch and on the bed. At 6 weeks out I started a workout video series from Beachbody. I began the County Heat aerobic dance workouts. They’re quick, easy to follow, and low impact. Check, check and check.
Soon I was combining longer daily walks with additional workout videos – I was slowly losing weight but more importantly I was able to keep my mind clear and mentally focus on me for 30 plus minutes a day. This was honestly the most important commitment I made to myself.
Call me vain, but I didn’t want to look like a hott mess every day for 12 weeks! I want to feel a little like the old me! So I made sure that after he was born I made an appointment with my stylist for a fresh cut and summer color!
This was also a great excuse for three hours of me time!
Another thing that I did was tone down my make up routine so I could get out the door quickly but still feel put together. I settled on a BB cream, blush, mascara and brow pencil. I’m out the door in no time but don’t feel like I’m facing the world with a naked face! Good enough for me!
One thing I know for sure is that my husband and I are not great at making date night a priority. With two young ones and busy careers we really like to be home on the weekend. We love to grill and watch sports together but don’t make the priority to go out just as us.
So…when our first anniversary came around just a few (8) weeks after little man was born, I made it a priority. I know we both would have been ok staying home and blaming it on the fact that we had a newborn but I pushed myself and set up to find something to wear and called a babysitter.
And we had a great time. Just us. We weren’t out very long or very late but it was so nice to just be out.
The romper that I bought for the date was a size larger than I normally wear but I still felt great. The cut was adorable and it had flattering lines. It was a win for me and for us.
And there you have it. Those were three things that I planned to do differently this time around that really helped me reconnect to the old me and keep mentally strong. I didn’t feel locked in the house because I got myself out of the house and I moved my body and got the blood pumping as often as I could.
What works for each woman is surely different. And I want to make an important note that if you think even for a second that you are battling postpartum depression or anxiety to immediately contact your doctor and not wait until it’s progressed. There is nothing to be ashamed of and seeking help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.