I never thought I would be someone to experience postpartum depression or anxiety. When I had Noah, I wasn’t even sure exactly what was going on at the time. Everyone else around me knew I was struggling with something. I wasn’t sleeping, I was losing weight, I was really stressed, my anxiety was skyrocketing, and I didn’t go a day without crying. I was a first time mom, and I was scared. I literally felt like I had no clue what I was doing, and I felt like I was doing everything wrong.
I remember crying buckets of tears the day my mom left. I had no clue how I would be able to care for this tiny human. I was literally afraid to even give him a bath by myself. I was a constant ball of stress, and I was very low on sleep. I remember laying down to sleep, and not being able to because my anxiety was so high. My mind would never shut off, and I couldn’t relax. I constantly thought that something bad would happen to Noah if I fell asleep. I felt like I needed to stare at him all night, or stay awake to hear him breathing.
I remember family members offering to help with Noah. They would urge me to take a nap, and let me know that they would take care of him. I remember going into my room to nap, and not being able to. Even though I was up the entire night, I was too anxious to get any sleep at all during the day. My mind would run through all of the things that I needed to get done, and I wasn’t able to relax.
It went on for awhile, and it was rough. I feel so deeply for anyone dealing with postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. For me, it was a mix of both, and it wasn’t easy. I wanted to chat a bit about how things have been different for me with baby #2, and I also wanted to share some things I’m doing this time around to fight off postpartum depression and anxiety.
First off, I’ve been sleeping. Emma is an amazing sleeper. She will go for 9 hour stretches at night. When we brought Noah home, they had us all freaked out. Since he wasn’t latching in the hospital, he lost weight, and they were freaking me out saying that we needed to pump him full of breastmilk every 2 hours. I was waking him ever 2 hours at night to feed. I had issues getting him to latch, so I had to constantly pump and wake him to feed him. He ended up gaining weight SO fast, and when I look back on that experience I really feel like doctors freak first time parents out. I think Noah developed a habit of waking every 2 hours to eat, which in turn made him a bad sleeper.
With Emma, I’ve been WAY more chill. Luckily, I was able to nurse Emma right away. Noah got taken to the NICU right after birth, so I wasn’t able to nurse him right off the bat. With Emma, I knew what I was doing, and I wasn’t stressed or scared about it. I also have never woken her to feed her. She lets me know when she’s hungry (lately it’s been all freaking day, LOL). I don’t stick to a schedule at all. I feed her when she wants to eat. If that’s every 1,2, or 3 hours, that’s fine. Luckily I’m home with her, so I can be flexible. This has lead to me being able to relax, and her being an amazing sleeper. With Noah I would literally log every single feeding into an app. With Emma, I don’t pay attention to what time it is I’m feeding her, or whether I fed her on the left or the right side last. I just go with the flow, and it’s been AMAZING.
Secondly, I’ve been getting out of the house. I was in the house WAY too much with Noah. I was literally afraid to even take him somewhere by myself. I was also scared to take him in public because I thought he would get terribly sick. Emma went out to dinner when she was a week old. Obviously she just slept in her car seat, and I didn’t let anyone get hear her, but I got out of the house right away, which was HUGE for my mindset.
On days when I feel a little anxious, stressed out, or sad lately, I literally force myself to make plans to get out of the house. Sure, it’s no easy task with two kids, but it makes me feel human. This past weekend I woke up feeling kind of down on Saturday. Dylan said we should make plans to get out of the house in the morning and go do something fun. I was already exhausted by 9 am, and wasn’t feeling it. I realized that I was letting postpartum depression in, and decided to quickly change my mindset. I forced myself to think positively. I told myself that I could handle anything that was thrown my way. I could nurse Emma in public. I could handle a toddler tantrum in the middle of a restaurant. I could change a diaper on a bathroom floor if I had to. I was going to make it work, and I had to tell myself that I could do it.
Of course, we did run into some speed bumps while we were out. Emma blew out of her diaper, and I didn’t have warm back up clothes. It was randomly freezing in Austin that day. The bathroom at the restaurant didn’t have a changing table, so I had to change her diaper and clothes on the ground while she was screaming because it was freezing. Noah threw his first public tantrum, because he hasn’t quite realized that not all toys belong to him. I had to nurse Emma at the grand opening of the downtown Austin library, where thousands of people had flocked for the day. I’m pretty sure I flashed a couple of them in the process, but I tried not to worry about it (I’m not a pro at public nursing yet).
Lastly, I take DEEP breaths, and change my way of thinking. Even though shit was literally hitting the fan on our little weekend trip out of the house, I got through it. I took some deep breaths, and I changed my way of thinking. As soon as I started to feel anxious, I tried to push a positive thought into my mind. When Emma blew out of her diaper and I had to leave my friends at the restaurant table as soon as we sat down, I got stressed. I quickly changed my train of thought from a negative one to a positive one. I thought to myself “Hey, look at me. I’m out having lunch with friends, with two kids in tow. I’m doing an amazing job, and I’m not going to let an explosive diaper get in the way of me having fun. I have this gorgeous baby who needs my help, and needs me to change her diaper so she can be comfortable again.”
I totally realize that postpartum depression and anxiety can still hit, even when putting these things into play, but I hope that they help you. I want you to know that you’re not alone, and you’re doing an amazing job mama!
Thanks so much for stopping by today friends!