A friend of mine is about to give birth to her first baby, a little baby boy. As excited as I am for her and her family, I asked her to do some research on Postpartum depression, even if she feels she won’t experience it. I researched everything when I was pregnant (typical new mom, I know) and I mean everything! But the one thing I always ignored, scrolled past and flat poo-pooed was postpartum depression.
I felt like I would not have that issue, there’s no way because I’ve never experienced depression in my life and here I would be holding the most precious gift I’ve ever been given, so how could I possibly feel depressed!??
Wow was I incredibly wrong, misinformed and certainly naïve. Postpartum depression hit me hard and for months (it might still be something I’m dealing with as it can last for two years after giving birth). After giving birth, I was just not “myself”. It started with pure exhaustion. I was so tired from a long labor, not to mention the sleepless nights start hours after being introduced to your baby.
So how did I get through these months? There are things I did well and things I should have done differently. Here are my top three pieces of advice to help you get through these difficult months or years.
Give Yourself TIME
Hindsight is 20-20 and I certainly feel like I should have done things differently. I started back on my regular routine, working and volunteering my time thinking I could be that super woman I had imagined being once becoming a mom. The problem was it was too much for my body. The best advice I can offer, GIVE YOURSELF TIME if possible to allow your body to heal, to rest, and to really spend quality time with your baby.
One thing that did help my body heal faster and level my emotions was essential oils. I’ve known about them for years and have tried them all, for many different reasons and ailments. Over the years I’ve seen first hand the benefits of using essential oils, but it took me years to become their advocate as I started out as their biggest skeptic. As I’ve seen these oils help improve my health, I learned quickly that they could also improve my mood and brain function. I use doTERRA Essential oils as they are the best grade, beyond organic and even safe to use diluted on my little baby.
They make a blend of oils called Elevation that was a lifesaver when times were particularly difficult. I used Lavender and a blend called Serenity in my bath and in babies bath to help us both sleep well at night. I continue to use these blends in roller bottles, carrying them around with me so they are available anytime they are needed.
Accept Help, Ask for Help
Forget being Super Woman, Wonder Woman, Super Mom… you name it, forget it. Great movie that Wonder Woman, but lets face facts, we are not Gal Gadot, a martial arts model/actress and we just can’t save the entire world with our own two hands. What can we do? In this moment of creating something so incredibly beautiful such as a newborn baby, we can focus on being that precious baby’s world, saving them one feeding at a time, one kiss at a time and telling them how much we have fallen in love.
This maybe doesn’t save the world from a nuclear holocaust but it does help stabilize your growing family, creating trust and confidence in each other. With this focus on your little one’s security, you might need help with a few dishes here and there, your bathroom might need spruced up, and how about a warm dinner that didn’t come from a box… yeah that might be nice. Are these the things you should focus on? NO. Your focus is on your sweet baby girl or baby boy and keep it that way!
ASK FOR HELP, ACCEPT HELP. Take your mom up on her offer to come over and stay awhile. Ask a close friend to come up and stay with you for the day. Plan on your husband taking a week of vacation to stay with his family (if financially possible)… he can get to know his little one while helping you with small things around the house.
You focus on baby and the other stuff will get done. Even if the shower isn’t cleaned for a month, no one will die. Try to relax and remember that life will slowly return back to where you feel you can keep things together on your own, but right after birth is no time to stress about cleaning, cooking or getting back to work sooner than necessary.
Side Note: You will find that no one will turn down the opportunity to be around and hold a baby. I was one popular momma, like never before, because we all love a sleepy newborn.
I hope this helps in some small way. Just three simple and yet oh so important tips to help us in starting out. Such a difficult transition, becoming parents. And it is not easy, any way you look at it. But it can be a beautiful time in life with the right attitude and grace.