Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Preparing for postpartum months round 2


There's an amount of certainty that comes with labor and delivery that is comforting - you'll deliver and it will end.  Based on my first experience however, it's those postpartum weeks and months that bring so much uncertainty that I've found myself preparing far more for recovery and the months following the birth than the actual delivery experience itself.

I won't rehash my first postpartum experience.  I talk about it here, here, and here.  But since I've lived it once before, I thought I'd share what I'm keeping in my toolbox to get through the following months.

Get all the goods for recovery.  New Mama Bottom Spray, Witch Hazel Pads, Lansinoh Cream, Thermal Gel Pads.  These are the few things that brought a little relief while recovering.  I will have them stocked in my cabinet ready and waiting.

Ask for and accept help.  Even though I think my experience would have been drastically different if we had some help in the immediate days following Ella's arrival, it's easy to want to hide away at home and decline help.  My mother-in-law offered to come out for a week after our little guy arrives and I'm incredibly thankful she did.  Having Ella around changes everything, and I'm sure we will run into many surprises and difficulties we didn't face the first time around.  Knowing that we'll have an extra set of hands and support has given us both huge relief.

Plan to treat yourself.  When we bring our littles home, we're totally and completely focused on them - getting them adjusted, learning their personality, their needs, feeding time, sleeping time, etc. And that's good.  It's what we as moms do.  But it's vital to not forget about ourselves especially during those first weeks.  I'm planning on doing something for myself whether that's a mani/pedi (when I feel good enough to go out), or buying me a little something I've been eyeing, or getting a massage or all freaking 3, I'll be undoubtedly etching some time out of my new mom of two life for myself.

Stay attuned to feelings.  During my first weeks home with Ella, I cried a lot.  I dreaded feeding her.  I became frustrated with Tim that he didn't know how to be there for me even though I didn't know what I needed for myself.  I eventually got to a point where I neared a panic attack every time I found myself alone with her.  Somehow, I ignored all the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety.  I thought everything I was experiencing was due to hormones, and since I didn't talk to my doctor about it right away, it was left untreated and ultimately became crippling.  This time?  I'm aware, I'm going in knowing what to look for.  If I feel anything negative, I'll tell my doctor right away.

Take steps ahead of time.  I've already talked to my doctor about my fear of dealing with ppd and anxiety.  Now I have a support group at the ready if need be.  I'm aware of the lactation support at the hospital but am aware that my baby will do perfectly fine on formula if we decide to go that route.

Take the weather into consideration.  I had Ella in April in San Diego - sunshine city.  Even though I was feeling down, I could go out and get some sun and attempt to feel a bit better.  The Winter months in the Pacific Northwest are very different.  It's darker longer, it's cold, and it's rainy.  And as much I'm excited for the Winter months, I'm aware those months can add to those blue feelings.  So I'm equipping myself with what I can.  I'll have vitamins D, B12, and Fish Oil in my cupboard at the ready.  I'm making the house as cozy as I can for the holidays.  Decorating for Christmas and everything I'm sure will make the darker months brighter.

Plan things to look forward to.  The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays alone will be exciting to plan for, but we're planning on going to Zoo lights and I'm so freaking excited about it.

Remember you'll feel like yourself again.  I often got discouraged in the midst of dealing with healing both emotionally and physically.  I felt like I had lost myself when I gave birth, and I wouldn't ever feel like myself again.  Now, I know I'll eventually find my groove in being a mom of 2, I'll eventually lose the baby weight, and I'll eventually feel like myself again.

And at the end of every day, remember: you've got this.

1 comment:

  1. All your tips are spot on. I really appreciate your point about staying attuned. I didn't have ppd or anxiety, but physically I went through some truly horrible crap (thanks thyroid). At the time I just chalked it up to hormones and life with a newborn. It took me many Dr. visits, medication changes, and almost a full year to recover and get myself back to place that felt normal.

    This second time around has been a night and day difference. I was so dreading the pp outfall. But taking time to assess how I'm feeling on a daily basis and being patient with myself has helped tremendously. Either way it takes time. The biggest thing for me this second time around its just not pushing myself. Its easy to do too much especially with another small one to chase around. You want to be able to do everything you normally do for your family. This postpartum recovery stuff is no joke though. Its a marathon of healing not a sprint.

    I wish you the very best delivery and recovery period. You are going to be stellar, whether it takes a few week or many months. So many warm wishes for you!

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