After my first child Emilia was born I was never officially diagnosed with post-partum depression but let me tell you I wasn’t well for a long time. In fact it is a real miracle I am still married and our daughter has turned out as an emotionally normal child;) Well as normal as 3 years old can be anyway:).
This time around I planned my postpartum differently as simply I learned my lesson. I didn’t want to go down that road again.
I couldn’t let Emilia down. I needed to stay sane to be able to give her as much emotional support as I could during her own transition to a big sister.
Not 100% successful of course – I don’t think it is possible to avoid completely the emotional roller coaster, the inevitable ups and downs caused by hormonal imbalance, sleep deprivation and all the challenges that the new-born brings along… but…. more or less I am happy with how things went the last 8 weeks.
Next few posts will be all about my simple but powerful tips how this time I managed to recover fairly quickly. (and by recovering I mean emotional health too as it is as important as your physical one, in fact I am a big believer there is a very strong connection between those two)
I. My biggest advice is “PLAN as much HELP as possible!”
- Doula support Best decision ever we chose a doula to support us not only during the birth but also weeks before and after Sami was born. I can’t say more positive words about our decision. If you have some extra money it is so worth to invest into your physical health as well as into your emotional health. Much have been said and written about benefits of having a doula and I can only confirm.
- Family members. My mum in law stayed with us 4 weeks before Sami was born and my mum came the day when Sami was born. I understand it is not for everyone as living for that long with your family under one roof can often be a bit stressful but overall it was another good decision we made. I felt loved, supported and mostly I felt Emilia had a full attention when I couldn’t be with her.
- Other helpers. I finally made a decision to have a part time helper. For a long time I was against as I was always considering what THE OTHERS back at home would think of me?…But honestly I can’t care less now as I mostly care about what my husband think of me when he gets home after his whole day of being mega busy and what my daughter thinks of me when she gets back from her schol. With this extra help Emilia and Sami has a happy mummy who is not running on empty every day because there is simply too much to do to keep the household running. I learned I don’t have to prove anything to anyone and mostly I don’t have to prove anything to myself either. I prioritised my family and my love for my job and I am very comfortable with it.
II. I gave up on exclusive breastfeeding much earlier this time
So this might be controversial. But I want to make a point here as I believe this decision made loads of things much easier. I want to highlight that I really don’t want to promote bottle feeding. I understand breastfeeding is the best. But if for any reason you can’t do it….Please don’t beat yourself up for it for too long. I did 6 weeks with Mili and almost mentally collapsed. This time I started topping up on the 4th day. Don’t get me wrong I still cried and I was very upset about it but quoting my doula” I like my mental health too and it is as important as my physical one.” I listened to my intuition and rightly so It turned out my boy is a big lad (75th centile) and he drinks already now 150 ml of milk every 3 hours. Given my milk supply (and yes I tried everything possible to increase it I even ate my whole encapsulated placenta) I really doubt I would be able to satisfy his needs. Maybe yes maybe not I will never know …..but the mix feeding WORKS for us. We are both happy.
TIP 1: Invest into doula. I can’t be more positive about our decision. You can find the benefits of having doula here.
TIP 2: Plan as much help in advance as you can get. Ask your partner to take as many work days| weeks off as he|she can. Get grandparents, friends and nannies on your help list. How much help you have really reflects on how quickly you heal. On top of it it having help after your baby is born lowers the chance of a baby blues and possible postpartum depression. If you think you can manage on your own- let me tell you definitely can! And you will as you will have no other choice! but having help might be the difference between remembering and enjoying your first weeks with your baby and complete fog for 6 months. Signed as my own experience.
TIP 3: Plan what kind of feeding you want for your baby in advance. Read a book or internet articles about breastfeeding, bottle feeding and mix feeding. Have a contact ready for breastfeeding consultant who can come to your house if necessary. Freeze homemade lactation cookies and have homeopathic medicine and lactation supplements ready at home. But be open minded to deviate from your decision. Don’t beat yourself for too long if your plan A doesn’t work. The formula is not a poison!