Beating the Postpartum Blues: Are You Barely Breathing?

Pregnancy and motherhood are certainly the most memorable phases in the lives of every woman. Walking into this stage, you know it will be the one you’d want to re-live, at least part of it, no matter how extremely challenging it could be.

However, one thing every honest new mom is likely to tell you about this transition is the amount of concern and confusion they have about their newly attained motherhood. It completely preoccupies their minds, so much that they actually forget to embrace, live and cherish these precious moments.

Anxiety

Anxieties might be just a better word to describe the endless thoughts and worries that ring in your head once you give birth. At this point, naturally, there isn’t really a thing you wouldn’t stress about when it comes to your new-born. Nutrition: is she taking enough? Is she ever going to learn how to latch? Is she too hot in that onesie? Maybe you should just un-swaddle her for a little while, or just let her be? Are you holding her right? Maybe you should try raising my arm just a little bit? She’s been asleep for so long, is she even breathing? Let me take a little peek.

Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s who you are right now. It’s funny how most of these questions just whizz in your head when you’re in bed, and your bub is actually fast asleep.

It is important to know that as brand-new moms, these little anxieties and challenges can eventually turn into something more. However, not many really stop and think about it or take it seriously, because everyone believes that it’s all part of the game. This is where they can go wrong. They start accepting these things as ‘normal’ things that moms have to ‘put up’ with, and worse, ‘get used to it’.

Sleep Deprivation

If you speak to young moms with experience, friends perhaps, they’re likely to confess that sleep deprivation is the toughest thing they ever had to go through as a new mom. In fact, for some, it’s the only thing that’s actually challenging about motherhood. Come to think of it, you actually wouldn’t feel as exhausted, tired and worn out in a day if you’d gotten your normal hours of sleep the previous night. Going without sleep could actually suck up all your energy before you even start the day. At least that’s what it feels like being a brand-new mom, doesn’t it?

Sleep deprivation is a real struggle, and surely, every mom goes through so much of it, at least in the first year. Sadly though, many current moms consider this as part of a natural process. Sometimes, they’re made to believe it. This is quite appalling, especially when so much awareness is around today. You shouldn’t be telling a sleep-deprived mom, ‘that’s what’s a mother’s life is all about’, but get up and do something instead!

Tired, Anxiety, or Both?

Apart from waking for feeds or dealing with unsettled babies through the night, there are times when you still might not get proper sleep. This could be owing to those anxieties of yours. There could be many instances when your baby is settled and sleeping soundly, but you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, and checking on the little one every now and then because you are just…. anxious. This can be frustrating, knowing that you are gifted with opportunities to rest but then, there you are lying wide-eyed, doubling the stress in your head.

The bottom line, however, is that, no matter what the reason is, new moms are utterly sleep deprived. It certainly takes a toll on them, and they won’t even know it. That’s why, even if you ‘feel’ that you’re coping pretty well with the night duties, you still need to make it a point to look for ways to compensate for your lost sleep.

It’s About Care, not Convenience

It isn’t surprising that you bump into folks with bizarre mindsets who would tell you how careless you are being if, in the middle of being a new mommy, you wanted some breathing space or time for yourself to pull yourself together. There are plenty of them out there – the judgemental ones who won’t stop nagging you with their opinions. They’ll say you’re not doing your best or giving it your all if they saw you handing your little one to your neighbour for a while.

However, what you must know is that, by actually taking in a day, and knowing when it’s time to have a few moments to yourself, you are being a wise mom. As you know, taking care of yourself isn’t actually benefitting you, but your baby, your family, and your relationships. As they say, a happy and well mom is a blessing to everyone in the home. Most importantly, it is essential for the wellbeing and development of the baby. Thus, by giving yourself the care you need, you are actually doing your baby a bigger favour.

Take Time Off at Nights

If the nights are getting tough, you may want to look for a practical alternative for breastfeeding. Many couples manage to cope with the nights quite well when the baby is trained to take a bottle. If she does, you could have your milk expressed and stored appropriately, so that your partner can deal with late-night feeds while you get some sleep. Make sure you don’t let your common anxieties kick in here, once again. If you are worried about safety, hygiene and other things about using a breast pump, for instance, try doing some quick research on the internet. Look for the best breast pump that’s recommended by the majority of the experienced moms, just so you’d have some relief and confidence about your decision.

The Positives

If your partner will be dealing with the feeds, it certainly is going to have a few benefits on your little family and your relationships. Dads who choose to feed and take care of their babies in the most difficult times are believed to share a better bond as it begins from a very early stage. It also strengthens the relationship between partners as they empathize with and appreciate each other a lot more than they have in the past. Sharing parental responsibilities is another important piece of advice you’d receive under good parenting. Thus, having both partners involved in handling a newborn certainly is a great start.

It All Works Out Great in the End

With the support of your loved ones, giving yourself occasional periods of self-care can help you revitalize and get back on your feet to run a couple of laps all over again. In this way, you won’t have the guilt of not committing fully to your little one (something many new moms cannot get over no matter how much they try). If you choose not to take these breaks, you’d be doing yourself, your baby a disservice. Thus, keep your breast pump, bottles, and a close friend on hand that you can always count on, and don’t hesitate to turn to them when in need.

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Reynu joined WomenNow from the beginning on. She loves writing and combines this with her love for India, the country her parents emigrated from to the United States looking for a better life and opportunities. Studying litterature and journalism helped laid the foundation for her writing skills. She is into badminton and an avid runner. Her dream is to live between New York and Mumbai.
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