Nobody really likes to talk about any of the postpartum challenges. After all, having a baby is supposed to be nothing but bliss, right?! If you’ve had a child before you’re probably giggling at that but as an expecting, first-time mom, you really believe that… at least, I did. You know it’s going to be challenging but you don’t really expect to deal with anxiety, depression or the baby blues after giving birth even though you hear about it.
Now, let’s make a few things very clear quickly. First off, I was emotional and a bit anxious after having Leo but in the world of postpartum challenges, it was very minor and I am not going to act like what I experienced was bigger than it was. Many new moms struggle with serious anxiety and/or depression and I don’t want to diminish that with my story. Second, I am by no means qualified to help with anyone’s anxiety or depression; I’m simply sharing my postpartum experience. If you’re feeling something causing you to struggle, please seek professional assistance with it and talk to someone because you are not alone!
Alright, back to the baby blues…
I’ve never experienced anxiety in my life. I would actually consider myself a pretty calm person. Of course, I can get worked up occasionally but on a regular basis, I stay relatively relaxed and know what works for me to manage stress.
After I had Leo, I became very anxious. Again, I’m not comparing this to clinical anxiety. I’m simply sharing what I went through in hopes that it may help another mom. I would almost call what I went through “extreme overwhelm.”
The first few weeks, for me went something like:a wave of extreme happiness followed by a wave of overwhelm followed by another wave of bliss and then a wave of stress.
I’m human so of course I am used to experiencing a variety of emotions: good and bad. However, the emotions I felt after having my baby were minute to minute and that was something I certainly wasn’t used to. I would be laughing at something Leo did and a moment later, my eyes would well with tears as I felt so happy I could never attempt to put it into words and then all of the sudden I would be crying and I couldn’t tell you why haha.
After birth, a woman’s hormones are just all over the place and all the crazy emotions are completely normal. Still, knowing what you’re expereincing is “normal” doesn’t mean that it is fun to go though.
There are a few things that I began doing each day to help me feel like me and to help with some of the overwhelm and anxiety I was experiencing.
1.GET READY EVERY AM
This sounds like a joke when you’re a new mom, but I came up with a little “get ready routine” that took me about 4 minutes.
This was my exact routine:
- Wash face
- Apply moisturizer
- Apply foundation or a tinted moisturizer (skip all the fancy application brushes/sponges & just use fingers
- Apply mascara
- Brush teeth
- Get dressed (nursing tank, shorts, robe)
I feel like a bit of my stress and overwhelm came from the fact that 1) I didn’t feel like myself and 2) I always felt “behind” and as if I couldn’t keep up with life. When I thought about what I did back before I was a mom, it hit me – you got up, got dressed/ready and began your day. So, even though this 4 minute routine was different and the outfit wasn’t exactly work wear, I felt put together and a bit more like myself.
Just a tip… I got in the habit of getting ready when Leo took his first nap of the day. As soon as he fell asleep, I would get ready. The more consistent I was with it, the better I felt.
2. LONG SHOWERS EVERY EVENING
For me, I felt anxious in the evenings. This may sound silly but I often worried about Leo waking in the night and me not being able to get him to go back to sleep or calm him down. Even though I was so tired, I would have trouble falling to sleep just worrying about what was going to happen overnight.
My husband, Anthony actually encouraged me to take a long shower each night. He would say encouraging things like “just take as long as you need, relax, breathe. If Leo needs anything, I’ve got him covered.” I used to reply “thank you and please just keep telling me that over and over because it helps so much.” haha Another tip – don’t be afraid to kindly ask your partner to please keep up the pep talks.
So, as part of my evening routine… as soon as Leo went down to sleep, I would hop in the shower and try to relax a bit. Most nights, it helped!
3. YOUTUBE MEDITATIONS
If you’re into meditation, you’ll get this. If you’re not into meditation, becoming a mom is the perfect time to start haha.
I used to easily be able to fit in a 1 hour yoga class or meditate whenever I wanted. When you’re a mom, especially a new mom, you’re free time is quite limited. One thing I began doing is using guided mediation and for very short periods of time.
I would go to YouTube and search “3 minute guided meditation for stress relief” or “5 minute guided mediation positivity”
4. CALL YOUR MOM/SISTER/FRIEND
At the end of the day, getting things off your chest feels amazing. I depended on my husband for a lot and I would obviously talk to him when I felt overwhelmed. However, it was important for me to have others I could talk to.
I prioritize my marriage because I know it’s the foundation for the life I’m building, especially my personal life. As new parents, both Anthony and I were in the same boat of adjusting to becoming a family of 3 and the new responsibilities that went along with it. We communicated well and tried our best to be there for each other, but I found it beneficial to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone other than Anthony. The biggest thing… talk to other MOMS close to you!
No one knows what motherhood is like more than another Mom, so call your mom, sister, or girlfriend… someone who can relate to where you are at. The biggest suggestion I have is to show your appreciation for these people in your life. Send them a sweet text message or a gift card to the nail salon: anything to let them know how much their support means to you!
Those are 4 things I did to help with the anxiety I felt after having Leo. They may seem “easy” because they are. As a new mom, I didn’t have time to add in challenge, time-consuming tasks. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to helping you feel more like you. I hope these are things you can adopt into your new mom routine to allow you to feel good!