Solutions to Diminish Stress During the First Weeks Postpartum

Being a new mom can be utterly stressful, especially when everyone goes back to work after helping you out the first several days. I experienced very bad stress the first couple of postpartum months. I would have panic attacks (the type where I was minutes away from passing out) while breast feeding because I was not working , my savings was running out, I had no income and my student loans were due again. I was too prideful to ask Chris for any financial help and thought that I would be able to do it on my own.  There was even a time I thought about giving up breast feeding so that I can go back to work earlier (Oh the joys of unpaid maternity leave... I'll get back to this when Im ready to share). Imagine that. Having to choose between feeding your child the healthiest way you can and going back to work. Huge problem in America. I felt horrible to even entertain these thoughts. I was even regretting our decision to have Riley, which caused a whole other level of depression. I felt as if I were being punished for choosing life.
The stress was so bad that I was not able to sleep for a couple of days and ended up falling asleep while feeding Riley. Guess where Riley ended up? He rolled on to the floor. I woke up to a crying baby on the floor. I can't believe Im sharing this, it is something I am still highly embarrassed about. It was something I shared with a selective few that did not judge,  because I was so shocked and felt like the most horrible mother on the planet. Thank goodness Riley was alright and according to his doctor, these things happen all of the time. From that moment on I decided to say "FORGET EVERYTHING my child  and my wellbeing comes first". 
The first thing I did was find solutions to diminish the stress.  Postpartum is a very sensitive time for women. It is important to take care of your mental health and to block out anything that can be mentally affecting you.  You have to put all of your mental focus on your baby, especially during the first few weeks. 

Seek Therapy. I started seeing a therapist back when I was 8 months pregnant. It was around the time when I started to not feel like myself. At this point my body needed rest. I did not want to rest. I needed help to do certain things, like grocery shopping for example. I did not want help. It's crazy when you have done everything yourself for a very long time and all of a sudden you have to depend on other people. Your mind becomes quite chaotic. You become so moody, miserable, depressed ... everything that isn't you in your natural state. If I could go back and do it again I would choose to rest. 
Therapy helped tremendously during the weeks right before labor. I missed a month of therapy while I got back into the groove of things. The negative feelings started to creep up again.  Once I went back, I started to see improvement in about three weeks. We really dug deep into why I was reacting the way I was and how to come up with solutions to diminish those feelings. That's what therapy is... help with finding solutions to stop or diminish chaos in your life. 

Accept Help. I gave in and accepted financial help from Chris and my parents . They weren't trying to hear of me going back to work before the baby turned 3 months. No one was. I was told I was being crazy and to relax because it's not that serious. (shout out to those that kept me sane during this  time). My parents have given me the best life I could possibly ask for. When it came to them, I never hesitated in my adult life to help them out even if they did not need my help. I was embarrassed to accept help from my parents. Me. A grown woman. My mom spoke to me and said, "This is a time for you to rest. Your body needs to recover. You have always been generous with us. You are MY daughter. WHO CARES what anyone says. If you need help, we are always here to help." Don't be embarrassed by accepting help. 

Some Things Can Wait.  I shut down my online store because I found myself not being able to put any time into it and produce the results that I'm used to . When I think about it, I was not trying to give myself maternity leave. It's tough working for yourself and trying to keep going at the pace you are accustomed to during the first weeks of motherhood. This was the main cause of my postpartum depression. Not being able to function as the independent woman I was used to being. I had to be honest with myself, and come to the realization that I was not able to do EVERYTHING. Some things had to be put on pause until I was able to get back to them. The reality is I am currently working for myself, and I am the only one that gives myself deadlines for now. Why was I being so hard on myself? I had the luxury of taking my time and doing things when they were right for me. 

Have a Positive Support System. You need people that are compassionate to your feelings around you. I am thankful for those friends and family that would come to the rescue without me asking them. There were times when I would have friends take me out of the house to go for a walk to the park, come over and bring me food, be an open ear, and call to check up on me without any judgement. I kept those people closer to me and distanced myself from anyone who had anything negative to say or do  and were not understanding of my situation. You have to protect the energy surrounding you and your family. Stand your ground. 

Communication is Key. Make sure you and your partner communicate your feelings to each other (Men go through postpartum stress as well.)  There were times when I did not communicate and we would argue over the smallest things. We were not understanding each other at all. Before our pregnancy, Chris has never seen me cry. Now I was crying all of the time. Once we started to communicate,  things became easier, we gave each other breaks, we were able to come up with more solutions to make our new lives easier. 

Almost three months postpartum, I am now in a mentally better place. I have created routines that work for me, re-organized myself one step at a time, and I started to take life as it comes with more faith that everything does work out and happens at the correct time. Not everyday is a good day, but there are more good days than bad. You have to remind yourself that all of this is temporary and that you will rise above it when the time is right for you. The last two weeks I was able to make time to work on my store, and am happy to say, I will be re-opening it to my liking and to continue working towards my goals while being a mommy. Even if it means getting up after my 5am feeding to work on things while Riley sleeps and taking a cat nap after. 


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