As a mental health professional, I knew about what postpartum depression/anxiety was and resources that helped women with it, but I wondered why there weren’t more resources on how to effectively manage anxiety during the postpartum period of having a baby.
After all, anxiety and worries are so common during this time.
I don't remember the feeling of panic and the anxious "what now" feeling hitting until my husband and I looked at each other for the first time and said "we have to take him home now with just us!?". I wanted to enjoy motherhood, not fear it. But all my life the worry and fear of what I'll be, what I am, and what I can be, was all to scary to think about and by adding another human into this mix, it made it all that much harder to admit I was scared shitless and I didn't have it all together.
Some tips I would love to give new moms, moms struggling, moms to be, and anyone else interested in hearing my story about being real with my struggle into this amazing journey of motherhood.... Read On:
1. Ask for support. Part of being a good mother is knowing when to ask for help. So don't be afraid to ask for it during this difficult time. Help comes in many forms, ranging from friends who cook meals and fold your laundry to good old fashion therapy. You need support from others so you can get better.
2. Tell a girlfriend you trust, hell tell as many of them as you want. Someone other then your spouse is a good person to help support you. My husband was an amazing cheerleader and helped me through these days immensely. Some days he had to direct me around as to what I would do next with myself, and for our son, to make it seem more do-able. You may be surprised at how many women are experiencing similar feelings and how by opening up about your fears and struggles, they will almost feel better talking to you in return about theirs.
3. Be around others to distract your mind. Everything gets better if you can distract yourself with others who are healthy and loving life. Hang out with second-time moms. They literally show you that life mellows out and people actually want more of these little energy draining human beings :) Get outside the house, go on walks, enjoy the actual time spent with other people and their children who are older. They show you what is to come and that it all gets better and better as they become little kiddos.
5. Lastly, do what works best for you. Asking the opinions of many others, leads to more anxiety about those choices now others have given you. Retreat back to those few trusted friends you first relied on and ask them, then make your decision. Don't ask the world, because if you haven't noticed, the world raises many different people in many different ways!
Peace, Love, Laughter, And Wine
There comes a point in a parents life that they think to themselves, "self... I really think a vacation with my child, at 10 months old, could really be fun!". So these eager parents decide to give it a whirl, and head out to Destin Florida, despite what all those other parents say, "ohhhh traveling with kids huh, good luck!" "Oh lord, you're taking him on a plane?!" How bad can it really be....
Day 1: We arrive in Destin to find our bags did not arrive with us. I mean this clearly happens to plenty of people so who cares, go with the flow, smile, and whatever.
Day 1 Evening: We gather groceries, pack n plays, and alcohol for the week. All four adults in our party get carded for alcohol and I have to return to the car for mine. Oh but wait!! I have realized my little energetic child who needed his 85th toy to play with on the plane to stay entertained, had grabbed my wallet out on the plane and that was actually where it still was! Are you kidding me!? First day! I can remember feeling my knees buckle, almost throwing up, and feeling like I was going to pass out as I had to call my husband inside the store "it's on the plane..." "Chels what's wrong?? Did you get hit by a car I can't even tell what you're saying!" "Babe, it's on the plane.... My wallet is on the plane!!" Silence on the other end.
Fast forward- I find the airport lost and found number, airline found my wallet from the plane and had it still, I manage to get the wallet back along with our luggage which was delivered at 10:30 that night! Yippie all is good for the week!!
Day 2: It's a beach day with the baby!! Oh sorry did I say beach day?? I meant beach flipping HOUR!! Why Cayden couldn't last all day on the beach, I'll never know, haha, apparently those morning and afternoon naps still need to occur on the vacay so you don't create a monster in a new environment :) But oh my gosh how cute is he!?
Day 4: I proceed to leave my credit card in the billfold after paying for dinner, leave the restaurant only to be informed by my husband that our dear travel companion and friend Dave picked up the card for me and saved my ass from a verbal lashing from the husband for losing something yet again.
Day 5: Awaken to the sounds of.... My son in an uncontrollable couging attack that sounds like a seal and wheezing that would not stop. Complete panic sets in! I calm down enough to get the little seal into a steamy bathroom and see if that can help. We Ultimately make our way to the ER and get the news that he has Croup. Just a little breathing treatment (hey! how come Cayden gets a spa day and not this mommy) and some oral meds later.... and we're off back to beautiful beaches of Destin, for our hour of fun in the sun :)
Days 6-7: Start Entertaining our little guy from 3am on because it's just what happens when your kid is sick, and on vacation. We then take the overly exhausted child on a walk in a backpack that doesn't exactly fit him, and later have him hang out in his cage on the balcony so he can at least enjoy the outdoors for the day and I can "relax" for all of 20min :-)
The last and final night of our Vacation! Enjoy a yummy pizza and wings at our favorite little hole in the wall place called the Landshark! Yayyy! Return home for a somewhat good nights rest before travel day again.
Day 8: We arrive at the airport and check-in. I proceed to pay for our checked bags only to find I don't have my credit card (here we go again) anymore in that beautiful little hot pink wallet of mine. Yup you guessed it! Landshark owns the card now.... right there in that damn billfold again where I left it. Only this time my friend Dave didn't help me out and grab it (damn you Dave).
Lets just say I am pretty sure at this point my hubby wont take me anywhere again unless I wear a money belt or velcro everything to me.
Anxiety sets in.... ready set FLY.... and Cayden does very well given the two flights he endured for the day!!
Until we had to sit on the plane for 20min before even leaving Dallas and then another 50min once landed in Denver....needless to say I about fought a flight attendant telling me to sit down, and I wished I
had actually got thrown off the plane at this point.
Once off the plane and my anxiety levels decreased immensely it was smooth sailing..... Until we arrived home to this mess.
Our framed engagement picture above our fireplace had fallen off the wall, hit the mantel, and shattered into pieces. Along with our eternity sand vase (holding the love sand) from our wedding and candle holders.
Don't get me wrong, there are parts here along the trip that were absolutely exciting, hilarious, and tons of laughs and fun, just the not so fun ones I really never wish to experience again. I truly have experienced what it means to want a vacation from a vacation! These kiddos are a lot of work, but there is something about this entire past week that I learned about myself. I can survive. I can survive just about anything if i put my mind to it and if I just have..... Wine, Love, and Laughter :-)