Help! I’m Going Crazy!!!
Elated, exhausted and overwhelmed, I brought home my precious new son, Joseph. I had read several books on parenting, and talked with several new moms in preparation for his birth. In reality, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. He was my guinea pig. While trying to dress him to go home, he peed on me three times which meant I used three diapers. It was like a gusher had exploded and I couldn’t get it to stop! I felt overwhelmed and hadn’t even left the hospital. While I adored being a mom, I was exhausted. Joseph’s sleep patterns were totally messed up and being first time parents we didn’t know how to “train” him to sleep on a more regular schedule. I loved breastfeeding but I got an infection in my left breast and had to be hospitalized. Needless to say, I was exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually. And to top it off, I was sure I was the only new mom who felt defeated, lonely, and confused. Finally, a wise older woman who had four grown children asked how I was doing. I told her the truth… awful. She told me that the first 6 weeks after giving birth can be some of the darkest weeks of young mom’s life. She encouraged me to ease up on myself. I was astonished and relieved that what I was feeling was normal and common. I hadn’t blown it. I was doing okay… more than okay. I was normal and Joseph was normal and we were going to figure it out just like millions of other new moms before me. I am still grateful for that sweet woman who ventured to tell me the truth…that childbirth and parenting a newborn – while precious – is hard.
So, here I am now, 3 children later with my youngest age 16. Now, as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a seasoned mom, I have a few pointers for new moms – and all the moms who read www.theSnapmom.com
5 Tips For All Moms
- Your mental health is important during this wondrous yet intense time of your life.
- Take care of your physical health: take naps and eat healthy meals. Make sure you keep your doctor’s appointments. Take walks with friends & with your baby. Drink lots of fluids.
- Take care of your emotional health. This is an intense time for you, so make sure you are talking to your support system; your significant other, your friends and parents. If you feel yourself feeling depressed, seek out the help of a trusted counselor. Many women experience depression after giving birth. Don’t be ashamed if you’re feeling depressed. Give yourself the gift of seeking out help and take care of your emotional well-being. Don’t forget to relax and de-stress: take baths, journal, light a few candles and drink some tea, call your friends and talk, watch stupid tv.
- Take care of your spiritual health: pray while nursing, listen to worship music while taking a bath or shower, sing to your new baby. Don’t put a bunch of “should dos” on yourself, like getting back to church as soon as possible. Enjoy this time with your baby. If you’re feeling the need, try watching a service online, but don’t feel pressured to get back into the thick of things before you and your baby are ready.
- Remember, you are going through major physical changes. Your hormones are readjusting. Give yourself a break, take it easy, and love yourself. You are important! Finally, manage your expectations of what normal looks like… and every time you add a new child to your family, the “norm” will change. Remember, there is no greater calling than that of motherhood; no greater privilege than to raise up children.
What a great adventure!
Julia is Director of Small Groups at Bayside Community Church, a licensed mental health counselor, a writer and speaker.
You can connect with Julia at www.juliamateer.com