Postpartum was this mama’s worst fear when I was pregnant with Alyssa, but I knew it wasn’t under my control. After having Alyssa the depression was a roller coaster ride. It began with the fact that I was set on having a vaginal birth with Alyssa, and that didn’t happen I had an emergency c-section (a story for another post!) which set my hormones and depression on a whirlwind. Another factor was the fact that I was 21 years old, lived in tallahassee (I was in the middle of my Bachelor’s Program), and had no family around to help when it was needed. It was just me and Anthony, my mom had left after 3 days of being home from the hospital to Miami, FL (my hometown) after I had Alyssa, because she had to head back to work. It was a lot of change, and a lot of getting use to for me. You know? I had never been a mom. The change made it extremely hard. I cried when she cried, I cried when she wasn’t crying, and I’m pretty sure sometimes my crying made her cry (I’m actually crying right now, I need to get it together!). It was also rough because Anthony didn’t understand at the time, he was young too. We were both first time parents and knew nothing about it. I cant blame him, and would never blame him for not understanding what I was going through. I also never thoroughly explained my emotions because my pride wouldn’t let me show that “I didn’t have it under control.” Whether he understood me or not, he has ALWAYS been the father Alyssa has needed, and the best person i could ever need and want. However, today he understands more and is more open to the fact that it might happen again when we welcome baby girl #2.
I had a rough 3-6 months where I just wasn’t myself no matter how much I tried. I finally decided that I needed to work on my happiness, for the better of being a mom, and a life partner. How could I be the best mom Alyssa needed if I wasn’t happy? How could I be the partner Anthony needed if I wasn’t happy? I knew I couldn’t be what they needed. So I started working on myself by doing five simple things.
- Leaving the house
- Mama’s don’t be afraid to leave the house, cozy up your babies, pack your bags, and as long as it been cleared by a doctor go for it, talk a stroll down the neighborhood, have lunch at the park, sit at the beach, whatever helps do it! I started taking walks every morning with Alyssa and getting some fresh air. During this time I would play music for us, and sing to her while she sat in the stroller and smiled back at me. It made me feel normal again. I’m a homebody and by that I mean I never been the “night life” type of person. Although I did have my fair share of nights in college 😉 (before motherhood!). However, I have always been the type to enjoy doing activities during the day outside the home. I would also pack up her baby bag every once in a while and go have lunch at the mall, just me and her, enjoying some time alone people watching, and finished it off with a stroll through the mall. Walks around the neighborhood, and through the mall made me feel like I could still be myself, while being a mom, which brought happiness and less crying.
- Asking for help
- Mama’s ask for help, don’t be afraid to call anyone close to you and ask them to come over to watch the baby while you took a nap, got work done, made dinner, etc. It doesn’t make you a bad a mom, it makes your a better one. Remember- it takes a village to raise a child. I learned to ask for help. When Alyssa would get sick, I would call my mom and ask what I should do. When I had to get an assignment done for school, I would ask Anthony to help me a little more around the house, or watch Alyssa for a little while I got the assignment done. My sister would come around (she was also in college with me), and help me whenever she was able to get some free time. When I didn’t want to be alone because I knew I was going to have a meltdown (Anthony was at work or doing something outside the house), I would call my sister or friends to come keep me company and at least one of them would.
- Mom Time
- What was your favorite thing to do before motherhood? Did you pamper yourself, read a book in the library/ coffee shop, go to the movies? Whatever it was find sometime to incorporate it into your mommy life. I started working on some “Mommy Time” the mom guilt was real for quite some time, but I knew Alyssa was okay with her dad. I began going to get mani/pedis done every 2-3 weeks which was part of my routine before motherhood. I used this time to refresh and reset. I would leave the house, pass by a drive-thru, and head on over to get a mani/pedi. It’s still part of my routine today and Alyssa is 2.5 years old. Its a time that I don’t share with anyone, its very rare that I go with a friend/ or family member (when they’re in town) because it’s time I enjoy alone.
- Get some Rest
- Sleep when they sleep! i know it isn’t always possible but on the days it is, try and do it. It wasn’t always possible for me, but when it was, I would nap when she napped and it would give me a boost of energy. Anthony also did most of the night shifts on days that I didn’t get enough rest, which was a lot of help!
- Don’t be hard on yourself/ Slowly get back into a routine
- Mama’s its okay not be okay. Slowly find a routine that works best for you and your household, and if it doesn’t work out everyday, its okay! This was a hard one for me, because i have always been a person that lived off routines/schedules, and being in control of almost everything. Adjusting to the fact that the baby would run my schedule was a hard pill to swallow. When she was 4-6 months, I started working on a routine, and that worked for everyone. This made my anxiety take a step back and let me breathe, I also made sure not to be so disappointed when the routing didn’t go as I wanted. I learned that things happen, and its okay, you have a blank canvas waiting on you the next day!
Motherhood takes a little getting use too, whether you’re a first time mom, second, or third, it always a new experience because you one more bundle of joy than you did before. Take your time, and do things when they feel right for you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are unique. Everything will work itself out, if you ever need someone to talk or vent too, feel free to reach out.
I hope this helped any mama that needed to an extra push! Comment down below and let me know what you did to help your postpartum depression (if you had any), or leave some kind words that might help another mama. Also let me know if you would like to read about Alyssa’s birth story, and my c-section experience with her!
You are the best mama your little one(s) can have,