When I announced my pregnancy I remember someone telling me that the first 3 months after birth are hell and I remember thinking thanks a lot D bag (ever heard of "congratulations"?). In hindsight the warning was spot on (give a couple extra months) but the timing was poor. Keeping this in mind, I was thinking about doing a post about exactly how hellish the first 4-6 months are, but to keep things positive I'm going to share how I kept my sanity while adjusting to the new reality (life with baby).
1. Get outside every day - go for a coffee, go to the park and sit on a bench, go for a walk around the block. Doing these things saved me on some days when I was going stir crazy with a crying baby inside. L'il E was born in February so the first three months were rather chilly, but I would bundle him up and away we would go. The fresh air in our lungs was healthy and it kills a couple of hours, plus who knows who you'll run into.
2. Do something that makes YOU feel good - for me that was showering, blow drying my hair and putting a little mascara on. At first I felt ridiculous because a) new moms are expected to look frazzled and unkempt and b) I had nowhere to be but putting myself together made me feel like me again. Plus it was a huge ego boost when I would go for a coffee - all the other mummies would tell me how great I looked for having such a young little babe. Vanity - check!
3. DATE NIGHT - If someone offers to babysit, pump some breast milk and take the night off! For our first date night The Hubs and I went out for dinner and to the Leafs game. Li'l E was 2 months old and we're fortunate to have my mom close by to babysit. One tip: go easy on the alcohol! I hadn't drank much at all (obvi) and that night I had a couple glasses of wine and one of those huge double pints at the game. Wanted to die the next day.
4. Sign up for stuff - When Public Health calls and they will, say yes to everything. I met a dozen amazing women through the Public Health mums group, they all live in my neighborhood and we still get together weekly. It's a great opportunity to talk about your experiences, find out about other community activities or just vent. Tears will be shed but many more laughs will be had. I love my new mummy friends (hearts!).
5. Call the shots and don't get too busy. It's easy to get a crazy busy social calendar. Everyone wants to meet junior and you want to keep busy, but don't overbook yourself because it will wear you out. My rule - one social interaction/activity a day. Sometimes I just keep a couple of days clear so E and I can hang together and have some down-time at home. Those can be the most special days (tear).
So those are my top coping mechanisms. Take them or leave them. Please share yours too. I would love to hear.
Welcome to parenthood! Remember, you can do this!