Rewind a year ago, and I had no idea what was coming with baby #3. I laugh now at my naivety. I thought that oh surely, this transition from 2 to 3 will just be seamless! I mean, this parenting thing, we got it, right?! We had survived some super challenging years, (six, to be exact!) and adding one more would not be that big of a deal. We were pros. Or.so.I.thought.
Enter in August 2014. We welcomed our sweet baby girl into our arms, and our little family of four grew to a family of five!!
On one hand, Adleigh has been an absolute dream baby. I would not trade her for the world! What I failed to realize though, was how much the body can go through either in pregnancy, labor, postpartum, or all the above. See, sometimes as hard as you might try, these symptoms can't just be overlooked or ignored. Mind over emotions does not always work when there is a greater underlying issue.
Even if it "just" is hormones, ignoring them is not much help for healing from a baby, emotionally, mentally & physically. Did you know that even women who have normal hormone levels can go through postpartum emotional crazies because the brain thinks that the levels are abnormal? It can be a brain issue too, and not "just hormones." Plus, saying it is "just" hormones denies that they are an important thing worth acknowledging. Telling a woman to "just deal with it" (rather than coming alongside her and helping her get to a place of dealing with it) is akin to putting a cat in a tub. Or taking candy from a toddler. It does not work. They are not at a place of being able to "just deal with it." True love does not give a list of qualifications before it meets needs.
Mamas- if you aren't getting support from a spouse or the people close to you, find it. Whether it's a doctor, or joining a La Leche League meeting (the time with other mamas is awesome even if you aren't nursing or have nursing down), a local MOPS moms group, or a counselor. Sometimes help doesn't find us- we have to find it. Personally, I had to find help. There are many who just don't understand because they haven't been through postpartum depression. Find someone in your corner!
It makes me think of this song- Thrive. You, my dear, were made for more than surviving. You were made to thrive. How to do that though? These are some tested and proven ideas.
1: Write down your worst fears. Now burn that list (safely!)
2: Put on some white noise to help cancel out the crazy noise
3: If the baby's needs are all met, and they are still sad, take five minutes to just have a good cry in the shower. I promise they will live! (Just make sure they are safe first!)
4: Write down who has offered to help and take them up on that! If no one has offered, they might not know what you need so ask! Please!
5: If the noise is overwhelming, invest in some good earplugs. You can still see your baby and take care of their needs. It's not a requirement of motherhood to listen to them cry too!
6: Ditch the to-do list. Add baby snuggles onto it, and feel proud of yourself for accomplishing that
7: Write down some verses on the bathroom mirror with a whiteboard marker as a reminder that you are loved. Spit up shirt and all. Some favorites are Isaih 41:13, Romans 8:35, Jeremiah 31:3, Isaih 49:15, Deuteronomy 8:2-3 & Psalm 4.
8: Don't forget nutrition! You need protein and good fats right now! Set reminders on your phone if you need to, but feed yourself mama!
9: Feeling "off" still? Take some magnesium! This one is my favorite, but you can get it in plain or liquid form. This stuff was a lifesaver!
10: Consider Rescue Remedy or Gaba if you're feeling on edge and emotional still after birth.(affiliate links)
11: Be honest. This is not a race, ladies. If you're feeling crummy or off weeks after birth, let your doctor know! If something really is wrong, or you have a spouse that needs a little help with suggestions for support, (or both!), a medical professional can come in handy. Your friends and family and community can't help you if you don't give them the chance to.
12: Start laughing at the things stressing you out. It feels weird, but I promise it makes your day better.
13: This really doesn't last forever! (It just feels like it right now!)
14: It's ok to give yourself a timeout! If you feel like you are losing it, take a break!! This is called self-care. If you can't take a break, find a calming yoga pose or make yourself freeze and do a silent "ahhhh!" It's going to be ok.
15: Cling to the little blessings. Go for a walk if your mood is ugh. Smile at the birds chirping. Smile at the clouds and rain. Smile at your crazy little bundle of joy. Smile at what hurts. Eventually it really will seem like a beautiful part of your story.
For now, just be. Just be the one God made you to be, imperfect and all. He fills in the beautiful broken gaps.
Know a postpartum mama? Here are some great ideas to help! (Always ask first!)
And last? If you ever need a listening ear, know that I'm here! My email is just a click away right here.
What would you add? What helped you? What is your love language?
Love you all!