June 9, 2011

So Far, So Good

While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time worrying about what was going to happen after I had the baby.  I was scared to death of PPD and rightfully so.  I was lucky to come out of it alive after Kennedy and lucky to come out of it without losing my family after Georgia. 

Stella is now 6 weeks old and I'm happy to report that everything is pretty much wonderful.  I have loved every minute of the last 6 weeks.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Stella and the transition from 3 children to 4 has been pretty effortless.  This is the way it's supposed to be.  Georgia was 6 weeks old when I ran away from home the first time.  I was overwhelmed and confused and feeling so worthless that I knew my family would be better off without me.  This time, I haven't even suffered from the "baby blues" at all. 

So, what makes this time different?  There are so many things I've done differently this time and so many precautions I took.  I can't say with certainty that any one thing was the thing or that I'm out of the woods yet.  You can suffer from PPD anytime in the year after your baby is born.  So, here are some things I should point out.

Exercise.  I started exercising on a pretty regular basis.  Exercise makes you feel good. 
Fish oil.  I read an article that taking fish oil may replace some chemicals lost in the brain (or something along those lines), resulting in depression.  So, I take a fish oil supplement.
Nursing.  All I know is that after I had Kennedy, I didn't have a problem with the way I felt until after I stopped nursing her.  When the doctor suggested I supplement with formula because she wasn't gaining weight, I became discouraged and gave up nursing all together.  With Georgia, I didn't even attempt to breastfeed her.  I don't know if there is any scientific evidence to this.  Maybe nursing keeps your hormones from changing so suddenly, maybe it's just having a special bond with baby, maybe neither, but it can't hurt.
Medication.  I started taking medication while still pregnant.  When my anxiety and depression started to get out of control and I realized it wasn't getting better, I went to my doctor.  I knew that if I didn't do something about it, it would only get worse, especially after I had the baby. 
Expectations and comfort.  Kennedy was 14 months old when Georgia was born.  I knew it would be difficult and I needed to get organized.  A couple hours after giving birth to George, I was sitting in my hospital room, trying to make menu plans and schedules, both of which were new to me.  I had very unrealistic expectations and when my plans fell apart on day 1, I started to feel like a failure.  This time, I just built on the routines we already have in place.  I expected to be tired and have a dirty house.  I planned as much as I could for help.  I don't freak out over things being left undone.  I know I'm not superwoman.  Also, at this point in time, I am comfortable with who I am.  It took me a long time to adjust to staying home all the time and having people depend on me.  Now, I'm OK with me and where I'm at in life. 
Knowledge.  They say "Knowledge is Power" and it is very true.  This is the most important, I think.  I have read so many books, articles and blogs about PPD.  I know what signs to look for.  I know what other people have gone through.  I know I'm not crazy.  I know I'm not alone.  I know that help is available and where to find it. 

So, here we are, a happy family, enjoying our new baby in a way we never have before.  I am slowly starting to realize that my life just might be perfect, or at least as close as it can get.  This is such a far cry from where I was 3 years ago. 




3 comments:

  1. thats so nice to hear and very encouraging for people who struggle with these things and are wondering if they should have another baby. my daughter is 17 months old and i'm finally feeling back to normal after all the hormones and starting to think about another baby. i think the expectations part is HUGE. thanks for posting. :)

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  2. What a joy to read this! I'm so glad things are going well for you right now and that you are still watching for signs, in case you need help down the road. Good for you!

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  3. Thanks, ladies! I feel great, but I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out. Like I know it's going to happen, but I don't know when. I think I'm just paranoid. Sarah, I am amazed at the number of people who think that it only takes a couple weeks for your body to get back to normal after having a baby. I'm glad you're feeling like yourself again!

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