Taking Care of Mama

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Over the summer, I posted on my Instagram that I was struggling with some postpartum anxiety/depression. It was really hard for me to recognize that the feelings I was going through were deeper than just day-to-day stress. I fought every single day to find my "happy", and looking back, it's no wonder. Along with the basic stress of taking care of both Baylee and Natalie, I was also (and still am!) adjusting to being a fire wife and therefore doing a bulk of the parenting on my own. On top of that, the loneliness of not getting to see or talk to Brian every day got to me. His shifts are often 72 to 96 hours, and that's a long time to have a four-year-old as my only source of conversation. As soon as I realized how bad it was getting, I knew I had to do something about it. I wasn't going to let anxiety win, and I wasn't going to let it affect me being the best mom that I possibly could be.


I was completely open to trying medication, but I didn't want it to be my first source of relief. Instead, I decided to make a few changes. I have been going to bed shortly after the kids instead of staying awake, trying make healthier food choices at home, and moving my body every day (even if its just dancing around the house with Baylee!). I also added some other essential oils into my regime, and wow...what a difference it made. I am such a strong believer in the power of oils now. While all of this has not "fixed" me, I have definitely seen an improvement in my daily mood. I still have days that are worse than others, and the occasional anxiety attack here and there, but it's nowhere near as bad as it was in July. I am so grateful that I have had such a support system around me as well, I know if I'm having a bad day I can call or text one of my sisters or best friends, and Brian has been amazing through it all. Even after a sleepless night at the station, he tries his hardest to help me out with the kids and the house, and it has meant the world to me.

After going through all this, and then reading some other PPA/PPD stories, I started to think about how hard us new moms have it. I mean, think about it, you spend 9-10 months going to monthly, bi-monthly, and eventually weekly appointments while you are pregnant. At every appointment your healthcare provider not only checks on your baby, but asks how you're feeling and doing. Then, you have your baby, and after the length of your hospital visit you're kind of thrown to the wolves and left to figure it out on your own. Six weeks later, you get another quick visit, and then you're completely released from care. Baby, on the other hand, gets seen monthly for a while, and then just about every other month for the rest of their first year to make sure everything is going well with their health and development. That got me thinking, why don't the mothers receive the same care? The changes that the human body go through after birthing a baby are phenomenal, and I know that after each of my girls, having more consistent doctor visits to check on my mental and physical health during that first year would have made a world of difference. I realize that you can seek further care if you sense something isn't right, but what about an instance like my case where it was late onset (Natalie was already 4 months old when it started) and virtually unrecognizable. I spent and entire month thinking I was just really stressed out before it clicked that I was experiencing true PPA/PPD.   

I know my little blog won't be able to change the way our healthcare system works, but I thought I would post this as food for thought, and as a reminder to check on the new mamas around you. Ask how they are doing and see if they need any help. If they say they're fine and decline the offer, maybe insist a little. ;) My best friend and her husband recently came up to my house on a day that Brian got recalled to the station (as he was just about to walk out the door too!) even though I told her to not worry about it, and it rejuvenated me. Just a few hours of adult contact, some help with the kids, and a solo trip to Target changed my entire outlook on the day. My point is that a lot of us are too polite/proud to accept help at first, so insisting a little is okay. The mama you're helping will probably feel more relieved than she could ever explain.


I know this was long, so thank you so much for reading if you have gotten this far! If you have any thoughts on the matter, please leave them in the comments, I would love to read what some of you think! 

3 comments:

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