Mental Health, Postpartum and Beyond

Not Mine

Last week I had a difficult thought. My body is not my own.

I wake up every day and I get my daughter dressed and ready for the day. I feed her, clean the house, and play with her. Generally I’m cleaning while holding her or trying to keep her busy. I hold her until she sleeps and some days while she sleeps. I get bit, scratched, and have my attention demanded for all day. Then, I bathe her and help her to bed.

Then, my husband comes home or he’s already home, and now he wants to cuddle, be sexual, or in general just have some sort of physical contact. In general, all of those things are great. After a long day of having to care for someone else, it can make my skin crawl to even think about more physical contact at the end of the day.

I feel terrible writing it out. I’m a mom now. If my daughter or house (as in any cleaning to be done) needs something then I take care of them first. It should be easy to take care of my daughter and house all day and not feel used up at the end of the day. It’s not though. It can be draining and even violating to be constantly touched and needed by someone all day.

This is a feeling and thought that should be discussed more. It should also be normalized. I know I’m a good mom. I know I try my best every day. The days when I feel gross when someone touches me makes me feel like I’m a failure, a bad mom, and a bad wife.

I’m none of those things and if you’ve felt similarly to me, neither are you. It’s normal to feel used up after taking care of someone else all day. It’s also normal to want to not feel like sex is being expected at the end of a long day like that. If we’re cuddling or hugging (specifically my husband and I), is the butt and/or boob grab necessary?

Well, it’s okay. It’s okay if you’re feeling like you want to be in a no touch bubble. It’s okay if you don’t want to have sex. It’s okay and you’re doing good.

Remember to vocalize to your partner how you’re doing. Vocalize to a friend or family that some days you just feel exhausted of being touched all the time. A chat with your partner can help put you on a track to where you will feel sexual again. It will at least stop the unwanted grabs that instantly turn you off at least. A chat with a friend/family will help you get everything off your chest. They may even be able to related to you so you’ll know that you’re not alone in feeling like this.

To the parents feeling like their body doesn’t belong to them, you’re not alone and it’s okay. Things will get better and until they do, do not feel like you’re not good enough.

Did anyone you know warn you that you may experience any of these feelings? During my pregnancy I don’t think anyone gave me that warning. It was all just “you’re never going to sleep again” comments and general “your life will be so different”.

As always, let me know what you think! Would telling an expecting parent that these feelings may come be helpful or just scare them?

Thank you for stopping by and I will see you next time!

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Postpartum and Beyond

My Diaper Bag Essentials

Ah, the diaper bag. It becomes one of the most important things once you have a baby. If you’re going out with your baby then you want to make sure you have everything you could possibly need.

1. Diapers/Wipes

Personally, I keep six diapers in our bag. We used to have a travel size package of wipes in the bag, but we ran out, and I never seemed to replace them, so we keep a regular size package. Is six diapers a bit much for a diaper bag? Perhaps, but I would rather have a few too many than one too little.

2. Extra Clothes

I have two different onesies, two pairs of pants, and a set of socks. Any time I didn’t have extra clothes we would have diaper leakage. So, I’m done tempting fate and just bringing extra clothes. They really don’t take up much space. I have them rolled up in one of the inside pockets.

3. Pacifier Wipes

My husband insists that we can just pick the pacifier up from the floor and clean it ourselves. I get that. I’m not worried about sharing our germs. On that note, if we’re sick, would she just be out of a pacifier? Also, I don’t necessarily want to use a pacifier that fell on the floor either. Plus does that actually clean it? I like having the pacifier wipes just to make sure that it is clean just in case we happen to drop it (and we manage to find it again).

4. Toys

I have two different toys that are guaranteed to make my daughter happy. This wasn’t as big of a deal when she was first born, but now she can get bored and need something to do. These are especially handy if we’re going to be waiting in line for things.

5. Bottles/Formula

I keep the bottles filled with water and have formula in a separate container. I usually keep one small bottle and one large bottle. I’ll take another large bottle if I think we’re going to be out for a really long time.

6. Chap-stick/Hand Sanitizer/Wallet/Baby Lotion

This is all in one number because it’s mainly stuff for me. I have a big diaper bag, it’s cute, and I don’t want to keep track of another bag, so I put my stuff in there too. Baby lotion I keep for both me and baby. It’s a little travel size one so it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

Thoughts

There you have it. I try to keep it as simple as I can. I want to be prepared, but not stuck digging through my bag to find what I need. Other things do have a habit of making their way in and out of the bag as well. I definitely couldn’t survive without these items on the list though!

Let me know what you think! What items do you need to have in your diaper bag?

Postpartum and Beyond

Parenting Success

What to Prepare Before Baby

How exciting, your little one is almost here. You’re nervous, you’re excited, you’re starting to get ready. You’re wondering what you need to get ready. Well, here’s a few things that will make your transition into parenthood a little bit easier.

1. Diapers

Get diapers in a few different sizes. The hospital will have some for you, but it won’t be enough to last. You don’t want to be in the unfortunate position of starting to change your baby only to discover that you are all out of diapers.
Depending on how big Baby is, you might not need many newborn diapers. In general, newborn diapers are up to 10 pounds. Size 1 is 8 – 14 pounds. Size 2 is 12 – 18 pounds. 
Personally, I ended up having roughly 400 diapers of both size 1 and size 2. I ended up having a bunch of leftovers. If I were to go back and rebuy, I would start off with 100 of each size (NB all the way through size 6, I’m a future planner kinda girl). This way I have a base amount and can purchase more at later dates.

Pro tip: Get diapers with the wetness indicator, I’m in love with them.

2. Wipes

Buy a brand and see if you like it. See if you need a wipe holder (maybe those wipes you see for cheap are cheap because they’re a refill pack, a mistake I unfortunately made). I didn’t realize I would prefer one brand of wipes to another. But I do. So, now I have a bunch of wipes that I’m not really happy with but still want to use since it seems like a big old waste to get rid of them or give them to a friend.

Wipes will be your best friend. There have been a few times when I’ve ended up using them for myself (quick hand wash, face wash, wiping sticky things down).

3. Baby’s Room/Bassinet

You don’t have to go all out with decorations and everything, but it’ll be nice to have a changing area and crib set up. You may as well get everything put together now while you don’t have a little one demanding your attention constantly. If you already have kids, it’ll be nice to have this set up that way you don’t have an additional little one demanding attention.

You should also get Baby’s first bed set up as well. The bassinet (or whatever else you’re using for Baby in your room) shouldn’t be too hard to set up. For this one, you’ll mainly be making sure that it fits in your room nicely.

4. Laundry

You’re going to want to get all those cute clothes, blankets, burp clothes, etc. all washed and dried before Baby gets home. This will give you a chance to get everything all organized as well. Take a good look at that organization there, you might not be able to keep those clothes that nice again.

5. Freezer Meals

I didn’t want to cook when we first brought Little P home. It was so nice just being able to open the freezer, pick a meal, and then throw it into the oven and not have to worry too much. You’re still figuring out your new baby, you’re adjusting to a very different life now, don’t also worry about figuring out dinner.
Bonus tip: get crazy, get/make some frozen breakfasts too. Start your day off nice and easy food wise.

6. Your Hospital Bag

You may as well get this all packed and situated while you’re getting everything else taken care of. You don’t want to be in labor and scrambling to find things you need. Speaking of things you’ll need, check out my “Hospital Bag Necessities” post (https://bit.ly/2USqxA5) for the things I absolutely needed with me.

Some Thoughts

Remember not to stress too much! This is an exciting time. Don’t spend so much time worrying about all the things that need to get done and remember to (try) and enjoy yourself. Getting these things done will help you keep busy and make things a little bit easier for you once Baby does arrive.

Let me know what you think! Was this list helpful? Do you have any advice on what to have ready before Baby arrives?

Mental Health, Postpartum and Beyond

Treat Yourself

Self Care When You Have a Baby

Taking care of yourself is always incredibly important. Once a baby is brought into the picture it can become a lot harder to make sure that you continue to check in on yourself. You’re tired, you’re constantly making sure Baby is okay. It’s easy to overwork yourself and neglect yourself.

Now more than ever you want to be putting your best foot forward. Your baby deserves the best you that you are. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself even though you have a full plate.

1. Do Something You Enjoy

Your day consists of doing what Baby wants or needs. You also probably have a lot of other things to do, cleaning, work, cooking, etc. Make sure your day also includes something you like to do.

You probably can’t binge a whole entire season anymore. You might not even be able to make it through a whole chapter of a book, or a whole level in a video game, but at some point in your day, you can squeeze in a few pages, even a few minutes of something else.

2. Keep Hydrated and Eat

It’s so easy to forget to make sure you’ve eaten (something healthy hopefully) and to get some water. Making sure you are hydrated and fed helps your body keep going and functioning properly. Keeping hydrated is a good way to keep your body going and it also helps you stay mentally and emotionally healthy throughout the day.

3. Ditch the Phone

If you only have a few minutes to yourself a day then don’t waste your time scrolling through social media. Live in the outside world. Don’t stay focused on what is happening in other people’s lives. Take that time and do something else that you enjoy.

4. Get Clean

I don’t mean your house, I mean yourself. If you can, take a shower. If you can’t, that’s okay too, wash your face, brush your teeth, brush your hair. Do you need to cut your nails? Give those a trim as well. If you have long hair get some dry shampoo and use it. It’ll work wonders in making you feel more like a regular person.

5. Appreciate What You Can Get

Do you only get a couple minutes to yourself? Is that the time when you manage to go to the bathroom?
Enjoy that time!
I wake up before my husband and baby every morning (Little P sleeps through the night, my body figured it out, but still wakes up early now), and I go into the bathroom. I do what I have to do and just hang out for a little bit. I put on a song I want to listen to and get a few peaceful moments to myself.
It isn’t much, but it helps get me through the day.

Thoughts

Keep it simple. Don’t make yourself feel worse because you aren’t doing more for yourself. If you can’t get yourself to do your hair all fancy, or do your makeup, then big deal. You don’t need to have a full-blown spa day to take care of yourself or go on some vacation.
Self-care can be as simple as making sure you give yourself a little TLC throughout the day as well.
Remember you can do this.

So, let me know what you thought.
Do you have any short self care tips that help you when you’re having a tough time?

Postpartum and Beyond

Help Me Help You

How You and Your Partner Can Stay Partners

When you first bring Baby home from the hospital you may think that there will be no problems between you and your partner. You’ll probably think that you have a strong relationship and that everything will just fall into place. If you’re lucky enough that everything works out then I’m so happy for you. For me and my husband it took a bit of figuring out. A few months into Little P’s life I realized that not only did I need some extra support, but so did my husband.

Since I’ve finally come to that realization, I wanted to compile a list of things that you can use to help you and your partner continue to help and support each other at least throughout Baby’s early months.

1. Talk to Each Other

It’s my favorite piece of advice.
Take time out of both of your days and once Baby is asleep talk to each other. Try to keep it to adult stuff, weather, politics, how you’re doing, whatever. You’re still people even though you have a baby now. It’s okay to spend some time in your day talking about something other than how many poopy diapers you had to change.
If you need to you can also add in a day where you talk about things that are bugging you (more specifically about what the other person does or how to raise Baby). Maybe you need more help doing laundry or what have you, bring it up during that time.

2. Have a Specific Daddy Day or Mommy Day

If one of you works, the one who stays at home probably feels like they need to do a lot of the childcare stuff. Maybe you both work and one partner is still picking up more of the childcare stuff.
It’s very important that both of you gets a complete day to themselves to just relax. If only one parent works, then choose a day (or even a few hours) that is completely up to the working parent to take care of the baby. This gives the one who stays at home a chance to be by themselves (trust me, you will need at least a little bit of time).
If you both work, then give each of yourselves a day. Maybe one parent takes Saturday and the other takes Sunday.

The main thing is that you’ll both know your roles on that day. One of you will get a bunch of time learning your baby and the other will be able to relax for a little bit.
Plus if you’re both home, you will both get to help each other if needed.
The goal is to get a break, not to completely abandon your partner on this day!

3. Get a Safe Word

When you are completely overwhelmed while taking care of Baby, figure out how to tell your partner. Obviously with a newborn, you can very easily just say something along the lines of “Take it, I can’t do it”, but if you have a child who can understand a little more, that’s a rude thing to say.
Get a phrase that you can say to your partner to let them know that you are at the end of your rope and you need them to step in and take over while you collect yourself.

4. Neither of You Can Do It All

You are both here to help each other. Try not to get caught up in keeping score or assuming your partner can handle whatever they’re dealing with.
Maybe you’re better at figuring out why Baby is crying, maybe they’re better at getting Baby to sleep. Offer help to each other! If you see your partner is struggling, then ask them if they need help. You’re both going through this together, don’t just leave your partner struggling because you assume they can do it.

5. Show Each Other Affection

If you’re staying at home with Baby all day I know it can get exhausting being in constant physical contact with someone.
(Don’t think so now? Just wait, your time may be coming.)
Maybe at the end of the day, you just don’t feel like being touched. That isn’t fair to your partner, or to yourself.

Now, I’m not saying you should force yourself to get into the mood, but take a few minutes to hug your partner or something similar. Hold their hand, snuggle up against each other, give each other a kiss. Just take a moment to remind each other that yes, you’re both tired, but you do still care for each other.
Saying I love you is great, but every once in a while, a hug really goes the extra mile in giving each other comfort.

6. Be Understanding

Don’t get mad that you can go a whole day without help from your partner and your partner always seems to need help with Baby. Don’t be upset that you go to work, come home, and the dishes still aren’t done.

You’re both going through things. You both have different tolerances for what they can handle with Baby or dealing with their work days. If something isn’t done, don’t just be angry with your partner. Ask if they can get to it now, or if they’d like you to take care of it.
Also, if your partner needs help with Baby, don’t be upset! You had to figure out Baby too, if you’re more in tune with what Baby needs then help your partner figure it out as well.

Just try to take a second to put yourselves in their shoes.

Thoughts

As long as you both are trying to do right by Baby and to each other, then you’re doing good. Try to cut each other some slack and really get your communication skills going. Don’t shut the other person out because you don’t want to make their day harder. If you’re having a tough time, tell your partner. Maybe they just needed to hear you were struggling to realize they needed to help out more.
You were partners before Baby and you can keep being partners with Baby!

So, let me know what you think.
Do you think I oversimplified things? Do you have tricks on how you and your partner stayed partners throughout Baby’s early years?
Let me know!