As we are quickly approaching the birth of our little boy, due March 24, my mind is full of so many thoughts. I’m anxious about the birth (I had a third degree tear with our little girl), I worry about how Lyla will react to a baby brother, and I’m nervous about my ability to be a good Mommy to 2 children. Oh, and did I mention I have no clue what I’ll due with a BOY!?! I’m sure I’m not the first to feel this way.
Of all the many burdens I’ve placed upon myself, my biggest concern is the possibility of slipping back into panic attacks and an overwhelming feeling of “impending doom” when Lincoln is born. When I was pregnant with Lyla, I felt good and didn’t think much about the postpartum period of the childbearing process. However, I came home from the hospital and everything seemed different. My house looked different to me, I felt distant from my husband and other family members, and Lyla was nothing more than a helpless newborn that I had no clue how to care for. Couple these feelings with the pain of a third degree tear and absolute sleep deprivation and I’m pretty sure I had postpartum depression.
So here’s what happened: Every time I’d try to fall asleep, I’d wake up gasping for air. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe when I laid down. I went to the cardiologist, thinking I might have peripartum cardiomyopathy. After many tests, with only the result of high blood pressure, it was determined that I was healthy. Basically, I was overwhelmed. I put so much pressure on myself to keep Lyla on a schedule (I still highly suggest/promote the Babywise method), breastfeed (even though it hurt like hell), and keep our house looking clean. Not to mention keeping everyone else in my life happy. When someone wanted to come over and see Lyla, I tried my best to accommodate….even if I hadn’t slept a wink and really needed to take a nap instead.
Eventually, with time, Lyla got the hang of breastfeeding and it didn’t hurt anymore. And, we found a new normalcy. Thanks to Babywise, Lyla was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old. This definitely helped with our sleep deprivation. Those first few months are such a haze to me now. We love being a family of three, and I can’t imagine my life without my sweet little girl. So, guess what? Here we go again! Everything’s about to change. And, I’ve determined I don’t handle change well. To read more about what I’ll do differently with a newborn, read my post HERE.
I’m a planner, and I like to have a course of action. So, here’s what I plan on doing to (hopefully) avoid falling into that pit of despair this time around.
- ASK FOR HELP – When Lyla was born, I didn’t ask for help. I felt like my husband and I were on an island. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, and felt like asking for help would leave family/friends thinking, “You got yourself into this mess. It’s not up to us to help care for your newborn child.” Wow, isn’t that terrible? It was so unfair of me to think that my family and friends wouldn’t love to help us. This time, I’ve already asked for help and have some lined up. It will be up to me to breastfeed Lincoln (no one can do that for me). But I can get help with entertaining Lyla, laundry, meals, etc.
- REST – This concept seems so simple, but it’s just not. After having a baby, you have a huge amount of hormones raging through your body. Plus, you have a helpless newborn that you are solely responsible for. Your “mom ears” kick in, and sometimes it’s just impossible to relax and sleep. I am going to make sleeping a priority. After all, giving birth is a BIG DEAL and your body needs to heal. Even if it means laying Lincoln on my chest so that I can feel him breathe I WILL sleep when he does the first few weeks during the day AND night.
- VISUALIZATION – The difference this time around is that I’ve had a newborn before. I know what the pain feels like after giving birth, I know what it feels like to breastfeed, and I know that babies make weird noises. So, I have been spending some time visualizing what life will be like with Lincoln. I’ve even typed out a schedule (based solely on Lyla’s typical day) so that I can begin to incorporate him into our lives. I’m not naïve enough to think that things will go exactly the way I envision them. However, I know that my type A personality will accept the change of a new little one much easier if I’ve taken the time to actually think about life with 2 children and how this will affect our day-to-day lives.
What about you? Have you had the baby blues or postpartum depression? If so, how did you cope? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment section below!
***Disclaimer: These are my opinions, only. I realize that postpartum depression can sneak up on the best of us and sometimes cannot be avoided, no matter the amount of preparation for your new baby. Please, if you’re having some of the feelings I had after my daughter’s birth, seek help from a professional.Sarah Myers