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Before Ella was here, I’d heard mama’s say that the first three month’s after baby is born (AKA, the fourth trimester), you’re in full on survival mode and unless you take the time to make conscious memories of individual moments, everything will be a blur, looking back. Of course I believed them but didn’t fully understand the severity of the statement, until now. Keep yourself alive, keep baby alive, make memories. Got it. As the newborn weeks went by, I caught myself reminding myself to make those conscious memories and I’m glad I did. I made many. I also had to remind myself that it was OKAY and normal to feel like we were simply getting by, moment to moment. Before I knew it, we were done with all of that and though still trying to survive… many days, we’re also thriving. Each baby is different and each mama is different but honestly, across the board, I feel like we can all bond through motherhood in general. I want to share a few non c-section specific things that helped me through the thick of it. Planning to dive into c-section recovery in Ella’s birth blog post that’s coming soon.
If someone offers to help you (with anything), accept it! Are they you? No. Will they do “it” the way you would do it? Maybe, maybe not. Do you trust this person has your baby’s best interest at heart? Are they responsible? If so, hand baby over! Someone offers to run errands for you, bring you food, tidy the house… ACCEPT IT. If they’re offering, they WANT to help you. Please, for the love of all things holy, let them. Drop all the pride, right this very second.
If no one offers to help you, find someone you trust and ASK for it. Sometimes people are afraid to ask. I get it. Maybe they don’t want to put you in a tough spot, feeling like you have to hand your baby over to them if you don’t want to. Maybe they don’t want to ask if you need help cleaning / doing household things in fear they’ll insult you. Maybe they’re afraid to bring dinner by, thinking there’s no way you could REALLY want company. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Someone will help. Even if that someone is me. Seriously, you are not alone. Call me if you need me. I may have to bring my baby with me and I can’t promise she’ll be in a good mood but i’ll be there.
Baby blues? Exhaustion? Having a really hard time coping, mentally? Seek counseling! THIS! I have had my fair share of counseling sessions. They’re so good for the soul. Ray of Hope Counseling Services offers a variety of sessions including individual, marriage, couples, family and children. They also offer Atlanta therapy groups. You can find a list of their therapy groups on their site, linked above. The Yoga: Mind and Body group is calling my name! I need a weekly reminder to breathe / loosen up. Don’t we all? Not comfortable meeting in person? You can try an online counseling video chat! There are so many options.
Not feeling well, physically? Call your doctor. For any and everything. They do not mind. Your health and well being is SO important. Having a baby does not mean you need to put yourself on the back burner. Mom’s have to pour a ton from their cup. Your cup needs to be full. Don’t let your cup run dry. ON that note…
Call the Pediatrician. Already called three times this week? Think your question / concern is stupid? Who cares. Your peace of mind is so important right now. They don’t mind either. Sometimes Google just doesn’t cut it.
Let your baby sleep. I will probably get a lot of crud for this one but honestly y’all… Don’t wake the baby. Ella is a good sleeper (most days). Some days she takes four hour naps (praise be) and that USED to worry me. So many people told me not to let a nap go over an hour and a half and that I was going to ruin her night time sleep, letting her sleep so much during the day. I thought this was true until I realized that she slept better the nights I let her sleep during the day… I finally brought this up with her doctor. His response? Sleep = Sleep. The better / more they sleep during the day, the more likely they are to sleep during the night. Low and behold, my 12 week old sleeps through the night (praise be, again). *This is not medical advice. Please consult YOUR child’s doctor for recommendations specific to your baby.
Find a group of mom friends. I can not stress this one enough. I don’t know what I would do without my “people”. Having a hard time finding yours? Reach out to me! I can help you get plugged in with a local church or even a Facebook group of moms! You’ve got options!
Find time for yourself and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. Remember to eat. Find time to shower. Find time to see friends. Find time to enjoy a hobby. Paint your nails, grab a smoothie, go for a walk.
Ultimately, do what feels right for YOU. So much advice (some good and some bad) is thrown at new mama’s. No baby and no mama are the same. Each of us found or will eventually find a routine and a “normal” that feels good / right. For instance, sleeping when they baby sleeps is NOT for me. I tried it because I thought I was supposed to. I was stressing to make sure I fell asleep right after baby and the stress of trying to sleep, kept me awake. On the days I could make myself catch a few minutes of rest, I felt like I was getting NOTHING done and things were becoming chaotic. That bothered me WAY more than being tired. I finally realized i’d sleep again one day and now, I bust my butt to keep our house spotless, our laundry done and our yard kept up because it makes me feel GOOD, not because I feel the need to impress anyone. It’s just what works for me. Do what works for YOU. Do what makes you feel human. Do what makes you feel yourself. If, for you, that IS sleeping when the baby sleeps, go for it, girl! Keep yourself alive. Keep baby alive. Make memories. A whole army of mothers is behind you! We all have your back! You WILL get through this!