After Zayden was born, I had a pretty serious bout of the “baby blues.” I experienced the usual weepiness, but I was also extremely anxious. I worried about everything: Was Zayden getting enough milk? How would I handle things on my own when Justin went back to work? Was he too hot? Too cold? What if he wanted a cell phone when he was six? There were a few key things that helped me through this difficult phase of motherhood.
1. Going for walks/Outings
On day 5, Justin and I bundled Z up in his stroller and walked to the Lonsdale Quay for hot chocolate and then walked home. It wasn’t a big outing, but it lightened my spirits immeasurably. I made a vow to take a walk everyday after that, starting slowly at first and going out for longer outings as I recovered from giving birth. Getting dressed and getting out of the house each day will go a long way towards making you feel in control of your life again. Those early walks have evolved into a concerted effort to go on one outing a day even if it’s something as simple as picking up milk. Outings are also important because they break up the day and give mom and baby some extra stimulation.
2. Someone to tell me that everything was going great
For me, this was one of my midwives, Gill, who checked in on us everyday for the first week. My anxiety level was pretty high, so the reassurance was really needed those first few days. If you don’t have a midwife, lean on a close friend who has done the mommy thing before or a public health nurse or a doula or whoever you trust enough to share how you really feel and who has enough experience to help you deal with any actual problems that may arise.
3. Drop-in at the JBCC
Thursday is my favourite day of the week because I get to go to drop-in. The PHNs there are really friendly and approachable and they give great advice. I get to hang out with other moms and Zayden is now old enough to enjoy playing with the other babies. The social time is a really important part of it for me, but I have also learned a lot from the talks, which has made me feel more confident as a new mom. Plus it breaks up the day. Even if you don’t live in Lower Lonsdale, find a place in your neighbourhood where you can meet up with other moms and babies to socialize and get support.
4. A community of mothers
Having other moms with babies of the same age also helped me cope. No matter what I was going through, someone else was going through it or had gone through it and could offer advice–or at least commiserate. They are also the only ones who will find it as interesting to talk about baby poop as I do.