Not to say that I don’t have my hard days and that there aren’t things that I struggle with but I four months later I do have some tips for other new moms. Don’t be surprised when you feel down or depressed your probably not feeling like yourself yet (I still don’t) and you certainly don’t look like yourself. That cute hard baby belly you had has been replaced by a lot of flab, loose skin, and stretch marks but I promise the baby is worth it and you have the rest of your life to get back in shape (although I’ve been told that the stretch marks remain a part of the landscape). Your probably not getting dressed, wearing a bra, or even taking showers. Your tired, happy and sad all at once, you’ve forgotten that there is a world outside your doors that is still going on and it can be weird trying to integrate yourself into a normal life. In fact I still don’t feel I have a normal life so maybe that’s something you should get used to.
Here are a few tips that may help you out. Open your curtains. This sounds silly but it made a huge difference to me to let the day light in. It was like oh yea there is an outside I’m not on a lone space ship floating through maternity galaxy. Even if it’s gloomy, rainy, or snowy (which it is most of the time if you live in Michigan like I do) It’s still day light and on those rare days when it is sunny you want to take advantage of those awesome rays even if it is from the comfort of your living room. Believe me this is one of the biggest things that made me feel human again.
Let the laundry and the dishes go. If it’s a choice between doing them and taking a nap take the nap. That way when your husband gets home you may have a little energy to use to talk, which is good you will need grown up conversation believe me. Plus he can help with those tasks, you have the rest of your life to figure out how to do chores and raise a child give yourself a break. I’ll still pick a nap over anything even shopping. If a messy house is stressing you out call on some of those people that offered to help. However, if you do this make sure you let them help don’t run around the house cleaning before they get there. I felt funny asking for help, then I got really depressed and my Grammy came and helped out. It was incredible after only a couple of days with someone else in the house to talk to, and being able to see the kitchen counters and finding clothes in the draws (I still couldn’t fit into them but at least they were there) I felt so much better. If you have a mom or other relatives that live close don’t worry about boundaries use their help you can always set guidelines later when you have the energy to cook your own mac n cheese (I was really lucky I didn’t need to worry about boundaries my problem was not feeling guilty about asking).
It will be months before you feel like exercising and that is ok, it nine months to put on the weight don’t worry about getting it off again until you can laugh with out peeing and your hemorrhoids are gone. If it is warm a short walk may really help you out. I live in Michigan and it’s winter so thats out of the question, but the few times I did get to take that stroller out I felt so happy to be in the fresh air it reminds you that you are not trapped in your house.
I know all your grandmas are telling you that it’s all right to let the baby cry, and you think it’s crazy but guess what they’re right. You can go to the rest room it won’t kill you precious heart to be left alone for a second. And if your baby is crying whether you hold and sooth him or not he may as well cry in his crib so you can go in the other room and recover your sanity. There was a time when every time my husband and I sat down Hunter would start screaming so we wouldn’t get to eat together and neither of us would get to eat in peace. I finally put him in his crib and shut the door, we got to eat dinner (which was good I was running on fumes which makes me hysterical anyway) then ten maybe fifteen minutes later we were done and He was asleep, he was just cranky. A baby swing works a lot better for this and allows you and your baby to be in the same room while you eat dinner and maybe talk to your mate and you probably won’t feel as bad. We also decided to “teach” him to sleep in his crib which required a lot of crying but only for like two nights; I’m not saying this is what will work best for you I’m just saying don’t feel bad if you want you baby in his own bed and room at night I need my sleep and space and babies are noisy sleepers plus I knew for us it would be easier to deal with it now then when he was two or three.
Definitely borrow or splurge and buy a baby swing they are a God send. Give your baby a pacifier and screw the experts who tell you not to; he’ll probably still nurse fine and he’ll be a lot happier. It may be easier for you to give your baby a bath in the tub with you or your mate that’s all right he’ll probably like it better anyway and at least you killed two birds with one stone (his bath and yours). If you need to supplement with a bottle of formula after breast feeding is established so your spouse can get up and do one of the night feedings that is ok. Breast is best, but it’s more important to your baby that your sane and one bottle a day is not going to hurt him (it will, however, make his toots and poops very smelly).
If there is a movie you really want to see take him with you; it’s dark so you can breast feed if you want and it’s loud so he’ll probably sleep through the entire thing any way you won’t be able to that for long so take advantage of it. And when he’s a little older you can leave him with a trusted adult and go out, it’s good for you and your relationship. I just did that for the first time and it was nice, wierd but nice. And you can leave your baby with your husband and get out of the house for a couple of hours remember you are still you and your baby needs a mentally healthy you so take a couple of hours to yourself and go buy yourself a couple of shirts that fit. Your husband will be fine and it’s good for him to know that you trust him and good for you to have a couple on non-maternity shirts that fit.
I’m still learning and I’ll pass anything else on to you, I need to go steal that nap while I can. Remember we’re not perfect and learning to take my own advice will be hard but we need to give ourselves room to be human and therefore, happier.
P.S. isn’t this picture hilarious, my husband took it yesterday?