It feels like just yesterday Michael Stanson was born. I can’t believe as I’m writing this post, I have a 4-month-old who is rolling over, sleeping a decent amount [let’s be real: whoever came up with the saying sleeps like a baby never had a baby], and smiles more than I could have ever imagined. Not to toot my own horn but my parents have always told me my smile lights up a room. And while the Serbinski genes are strong, I think Michael gets his smile from Momma. And calm, loving personality from Dad.
While I’ve shared the highlights of Michael [smile, sleep, activity, oh blue eyes and super cute giggle], I thought I’d take a moment to give a little personal update regarding my struggle with postpartum anxiety. I’ve received calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages from readers, friends, family, and members of our community, and you know what? I can’t thank you enough. It makes me feel beyond supported and all my “issues” with the fourth trimester that much more manageable. Mainly because I know I am NOT alone. And the struggle with all things postpartum anxiety are oh so common. And I’ve found something so therapeutic in sharing my experiences with others, mainly because a friend from the gym went through it too, or a teacher from school connected me with another mom who struggled as well. There’s a tribe of women out there who have had more than the baby blues and are willing to support me [and you].
One thing I’ve learned throughout this entire postpartum journey [honestly, I don’t remember feeling this way with my other 3] is that every postpartum experience is different. Every pregnancy is different. And that just because the anxiety came upon me now doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me, my child, or my life. I’ve also found a few things that are FINALLY helping to soften the blow when the anxiety kicks in, or I feel the need to hibernate by myself for a minute or hour.
I call my Mom. Or a girlfriend [if my Mom is not available]. While there’s no replacing a relationship between husband and wife, my husband wants to fix things. Immediately. And I know he hates how I’m feeling right now, hence why his actions are to fix. But there isn’t a fast fix for THIS. I know it will pass and my hormones will settle down. But females just get the unfortunate craziness of hormones.
I actively seek help. Help from my internist, my OB, and my therapist. I also have been relying on friends for that warm cup of coffee or the drop-off of meals. Again, talking about my experience and being open to treatment and accepting feelings has been a huge help with managing the anxiety.
I exercise regularly. And am spending money on a few extras at our gym that bring me joy [i.e. 30 minutes with a personal trainer, trying out Pilates reformer classes]. I’m also drinking less alcohol, which has helped with the energy to exercise and sleep better at night.
Speaking of money… I’ve decided while I enjoy cooking oh so much, I’d rather spend more on store-bought shortcuts vs. spend a ton a time in the kitchen right now. For some reason some of my most anxious moments are mealtimes [HELLO- have you ever fed a toddler? Or have you ever noticed how the baby needs something right when you sit down to eat?]. Now, I’m not going crazy at the grocery store, I’m just using some jarred marinara or precut veggies in recipes more often than not.
I’m journaling one positive thing or happy moment about my day. One day it was learning our pediatrician was pregnant. Another day it was taking a walk with an old neighbor. While there might be good and bad days, we can all find some good in 24 hours.
Ok, so while all these strategies and tips might not be for you, they might be for someone you know. Or they may be useful for you in the future. And while I never want to relive these past 4 months again, I can tell you Michael has made every moment worth it.
Questions about my experience? Send me an email at [email protected] I’d love to chat further!