Hello! My name is Keira, and I am a new mom to a beautiful baby girl. Motherhood is as everyone says – the most amazing thing. It is also the hardest, loneliest and most exhausting thing. I’m here to share both sides of motherhood with you. I hope you enjoy.
Even though I dealt with a few interesting things throughout my pregnancy, I’d still classify it as an “easy” one. Albeit in a zombie-like trance throughout my first trimester, I never got morning sickness. Although I had to take thyroid medication, and then ended up having gestational diabetes, I felt as though I was taking everything in stride – tackling things one by one and succeeding.
It wasn’t until a third-trimester ultrasound that I began feeling anxious about the tiny human growing inside of me. We learnt that her weight had begun to plateau – she was no longer gaining and we would likely need to be induced. Soon enough our girl was given her eviction notice, and at 37 weeks she was born at 4 lbs, 13 oz.
Once we got home from the hospital my postpartum anxiety seemed to grow like the plants that were beginning to grow that Spring. We had a hard time nursing, and she needed to gain weight. So we had a very regimented schedule: try to nurse, bottle feed and then pump. After a month of the “triple-feed” schedule, I couldn’t take it anymore. We stopped trying to nurse and I started exclusively pumping.
Fast-forward another month or so, and I was completely wiped. I knew deep down that I had to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula for my own sanity, but that didn’t make the decision any easier. Our struggles with feeding also seemed to trigger negative thoughts about everything else that I was doing – “I don’t cuddle her enough,” “She’s been on her back for too long: what if she gets a flat head?” “Oh she fell asleep in my arms, I better put her down so she doesn’t get spoiled.” My emotions were out of control. Amidst the happiness was rage, sadness and pure exhaustion. I honestly thought I was failing at everything.
One day I ended up sitting in my doctors office in a puddle of tears.
We are now six months post-birth, and I am feeling A LOT better. Being in the trenches of motherhood is no joke, it can be a very dark place. I wanted to share with you the things that have helped my postpartum anxiety immensely:
- Medication – don’t be afraid to admit you need external help. I was hesitant to take anxiety medication, but it has been life changing. There should be no shame in needing extra help.
- Getting back into hobbies – crafting, reading, exercising… whatever you are interested in. Once you have some time, get back to them!
- Ensuring you have some “you” time – whether it’s 30 minutes to take a bath, getting your nails done or taking a solo trip to get groceries, make sure you have some time to yourself. Ask your partner to watch the baby, get a sitter – do whatever you need to do. You are still a human being OUTSIDE of being a mama.
There are still days where I feel down – like I have no idea what I’m doing. But those days are fewer and farther between. They are manageable. This can be the same for you. You aren’t alone in the struggle of being a new mom. Don’t ever forget that.