self-care is not self-ish

The last time I was eight weeks postpartum I was crying.

Constantly.

Because Eddie was crying constantly.

My first day home alone with him after Cort went back to work he cried from the moment he woke up until about 15 minutes before Cort walked in the door that afternoon.

I remember sitting in my bed with him trying everything that people had suggested to me to try and soothe my precious newborn.

By the time Cort came home, I had not showered, eaten, or peed all day.

I was in my chair with an infant who had exhausted himself and passed out.  And I was afraid to move for fear he would wake up and it would happen all over again.

Turns out this fear was legit because for the first 3ish months of his life, Eddie screamed.

He had colic.

Something FIERCE.

As a new mom who everyone predicted would rock the mom thing because “you are SO organized!” and “you are so good with tackling issues!” and “it comes so naturally!  DON’T WORRY!”, I was flailing about like a cat in water.

In order to keep the facade of the mom who does it all, I put every single one of my own needs not just on the back burner, but out of the dang kitchen.

Doing anything for myself seemed selfish when I had a husband who was working a full-time job and a baby who couldn’t be soothed.

Shouldn’t it be me who is up every night, all night?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up showering and leaving the house?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up time with her friends?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up cute clothes for frumpy “mom” sweaters?

I was his mother, damnit, I was supposed to make sacrifices.

This was my life now…an endless sacrifice.

And then I got sick.

Giving up who and what I am completely to ONLY be “Eddie’s Mom” contributed to invasive thoughts, anger bursts, and sob fests.

I became mean to everyone other than Eddie.

The Baby Blues turned into the Baby Rages FAST.

After nine months of this I was finally diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety.  And now, almost three years later, it has been suggested that I may have even had a bit of post-traumatic stress syndrome from the emergency c-section and the lack of bonding I had with Eddie in the hospital.

You can imagine I was nervous that all of this would come back when I had Charlie.

But here I am at eight weeks postpartum, and aside from a bad four days of Baby Blues when my milk was coming in (and drying up), I have been amazingly great.

This time I decided to call bullshit on all that “selfless” crap of turning myself into a raving lunatic for the sake of appearing to be a perfect mom.

Right from Charlie’s birth I demanded more self care.

I needed quiet time in the hospital.

I announced I didn’t want at home visits until at LEAST three weeks postpartum.

I allowed my friends to help me even if I felt like I didn’t need them.  They made me laugh and feel like myself.

I asked for help and requested time out of the house alone.

I allowed myself to just take naps and stare at the baby during the day…instead of thinking I had to clean and do a million things while he slept.

If there were days when he needed a buddy, I was that buddy, with no guilty feelings of what didn’t get done.

And I took a long weekend away from “being connected” just so I could get through the Baby Blues and rest my post-op body.

Eight weeks after Charlie’s arrival, I haven’t given up on the self-care.

In fact, the photography class I am taking is a form of self-care.  It gets me out of the house to do my own thing.

May is mental health awareness month, and Sunday is Mother’s Day.

The greatest gift you can give yourself this month is the gift of taking care of yourself.

Every mother deserves daily nourishment and nurturing.

YOU are worth it!

I am happy to share two opportunities you won’t want to miss.

All you have to do to enter is tell me your favorite self-care activity (make sure you click “enter” in the rafflecopter widget to be entered!) and you will be entered for a chance to win a Yummy Mummy Self-Care Package from me and Renee Trudeau.

I’ll draw a name randomly on Mother’s Day and the winner will receive:

That is so not even all…you ALSO have a chance to win the Yummy Mummy Year-of-Self-Care Package (winner also will be announced on Mother’s Day) by following the details here.  (Um, you KNOW I entered this!)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Legal Beagle Stuff: I received no compensation for this giveaway.  I was contacted by Renee Trudeau & Associates to do this, and because I believe so much in making time for yourself, I agreed.
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