I really don’t like rollercoasters.
The amusement park kind or the hypothetical kind. I am so fine, happier even, being the “stuff holder” and waiting for everyone to enjoy their ride. That is my happy place. But you can’t be your own “stuff holder”. When your emotions are going nutso, who holds your stuff while you hang on through the ride? Literally hanging on for dear life. There is no enjoyment.
One day you feel like you could climb Mount Everest right that second, you’re on top of the world and there is nothing that could stop you. You get up, get dressed for the day, get your kids ready early. And there is time to enjoy a healthy breakfast, you get all your chores done before your daughter is done with school so that you can enjoy time with her while her brothers are sleeping, you make dinner in time to be able to pump for your baby before he wakes up, you are a rockstar!
And then the next day, even getting out of bed seems like the mountain you have to climb.
You’re rushing around to get the kids ready.
They get a granola bar for breakfast as you’re going slightly faster than the speed limit to get your daughter to school.
You feel like a chicken with your head cut off, and all you want to do is climb back into bed.
And when your husband gets home from work, you are a mess.
This is my postpartum life. For the first little while after my baby comes home, I feel like I am riding a roller coaster. There are some of the highest highs and lowest lows.
Some of the highest highs and lowest lows
I cry all. the. time. Even my husband has been known to comment on it because he feels like he’s not doing his job as a husband. Which makes me cry more.
I cry when my son throws 14 eggs on the floor while I’m vacuuming. I cry when my daughter tattles on her brother for the millionth time that day. I cry when I sleep through my alarm because I’m stressed about feeding my baby and having enough time to get the others ready and out the door on time.
Lots of tears. LOTS. And I cry a lot when my hormones aren’t kooky dooks (thank you Maui for that little reference).
I get so scared to bring my baby home from the hospital because now I have to be responsible for a little human! He is completely dependant on me. Not to mention the 2 other humans that also depend on me!! It’s terrifying!
I get scared that I’m going to get postpartum depression worse than I already do, and that I’m not going to connect with my baby or that I’m going to neglect my other children. Or I get scared that I won’t survive when my husband goes back to work and my mom goes back home. I get scared that I won’t be able to manage my time and everything will be crazy!
I get so happy that my 2nd child loves to snuggle me and read books. I’m so excited that my daughter wants to spend time with me and tell me everything new she has learned that day. I get so excited that my 3rd child is such a good sleeper. I get so happy to spend time with all of them and enjoy their sweet spirits.
The postpartum roller coaster can be super overwhelming.
So what helps?
For me sleep is HUGE!!
If I haven’t slept enough I get nutso. Things are not good when I am sleep deprived. I get so overwhelmed and emotional (even more! How is that even possible?!), and cranky!
Funny story- I overproduce milk (which is a nice problem to have in the world of nursing!) but it means that when my son nurses he isn’t getting the good calorie rich hindmilk at the end, so he doesn’t gain weight like he should. When we figured this out, I had to start pumping so I could make sure that he was getting the good stuff.
And until his next appointment, I had to set alarms so I could pump and feed him every 4 hours. That equals about an hour and a half of sleep in between after I fed him, got him back down and pumped. I was miserable! So after his next appointment showed that he was on his way to becoming the Michelin man, I started letting him sleep like he wanted to at night so now we both get a great night sleep! I am a much happier, and a much better mom.
Another thing was my time management.
I still had 2 other kids to take care of not to mention my housework and laundry and meals. I have a housework and laundry schedule that helps me not get overwhelmed. My oldest and middle either take naps or do quiet time so I have a few hours to get laundry folded and have a little time to decompress and chill. And I finally got my baby on a good pumping and eating schedule.
When we first started, I would pump after he had eaten and that was eating up my time! So now I pump about 15-20 minutes before he needs to eat and then my day runs much smoother because I’m not stressed about what needs to get done. I’m able to get my housework done before my baby needs to eat before my daughter goes to school.
When she gets home, the older 2 have lunch and go down, and I have my me time and then feed the baby, then the older 2 and I have a little time together before I get dinner ready so they’re occupied and not running amuck while I pump and feed the baby before my husband gets home. It has helped me so much to have a general outline of my day!
Also, going with the flow, realizing that if my plans need to change a little bit the world isn’t going to fall apart.
I will be fine, my kids will be fine. Sometimes I just need to adjust my expectations for that day. I have to stay grounded and not let my emotions run wild. One night we went to a pumpkin patch, and I was just going to pump in the car. Well, I get all set up for the ride home with my pump and I realize I didn’t put in enough batteries! That would totally have been a trigger for a meltdown (especially since I had already skipped one pumping session to drive to the patch), but I was able to adjust my expectations and everything was ok.
BUT! I also have to be able to forgive myself if I don’t get everything done like I want to, or if I have a meltdown.
I am still dealing with whacky hormones and a son whose favorite pastime is to make a mess! (We finally got door locks for our cupboards which has cut down on messes and meltdowns by quite a lot). My husband is so good to remind me that not everything has to be perfect every day and that he still loves me even when he comes home to a mess. He is seriously the best.
I have also made a point to read an uplifting article every day.
Generally, these come from the Ensign (the magazine our church puts out monthly). I usually read an article while I’m eating lunch. This helps me feel closer to my Savior and better equipped to handle the day.
You just have to find what works for you and remember to forgive yourself! You are doing the best you can and that’s all the can be expected from anyone. What has helped you in the roller coaster of postpartum life? I’m always looking for new tips 😉