October 21, 2022
You’ve heard it before: “they grow up so fast”… and “the days are long but the years are short”. Whether you’re holding that new baby in your arms or waiting to meet him/her, you know you want to enjoy your time with your newborn.
But it’s also completely normal to feel a little (or a lot) overwhelmed in the postpartum period. Here are a few tips to help you adjust to life with your new baby.
Your body just went through a massive change through pregnancy and childbirth, and whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section, you’re still recovering. Give yourself some grace and listen to your body. Sometimes it feels like women are expected to hop right up and move on with their lives right after birth but that’s not a realistic expectation, and it’s important to slow down. If you’re anything like me, after a couple of days laying around you’ll want to be productive…. but focus on what your body needs. You really do need this time to not do much of anything but heal and rest.
It takes time to get used to having a new member of your family, especially one that wakes early and often, needs to be changed and fed around the clock and just generally relies on you and you only for survival! There will be good days and bad days, but having bad days doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom and it’s okay to not enjoy every little moment! You can fully appreciate the smell of your newborn’s freshly washed head while also hating the fact that you’re leaking milk on your sheets every night and can’t drink your coffee while it’s hot. Immense joy can exist simultaneously with exhaustion, and overwhelming love can exist with plain ol’ overwhelm.
I remember hearing this many times, about needing to sleep when baby sleeps and I actually stressed worse because of it! It’s true that I was exhausted from all the late-night feedings, but I also craved time to just…be. To have a minute. I didn’t actually want to sleep when he slept during the day, and that’s okay! Take a nap if you can but don’t worry if that hot shower sounds better or a cup of tea while you watch Friends reruns. Catch up on sleep where you’re able to, but it will be okay if it takes a backseat for awhile.
Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes a day. Whether it’s reading a chapter in your book, taking a bath, or just taking a walk outside, find something that helps you relax and rejuvenate. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but carving out some “me” time will help you feel more balanced and better able to handle everything that comes with being a parent.
This is where I failed time and time again with my own babies. I always felt like I was putting someone out by asking for help, but there’s a good chance your people really, truly do want to help…they may just not know what you need or want. Let people know what times of day are most difficult for you, and see if someone can come over to lend a hand during those times. Sometimes just knowing you have the option of having a break for an hour or two makes a huge difference. It can be the difference between feeling utterly alone and feeling like you have a safety net when everything feels overwhelming.