26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

Hey there, mama! I see you. I know how stressed and exhausted you are– because you put everyone’s needs before your own and that can be so draining. I’ve learned that it’s sooo vital to my happiness and well-being to develop healthy habits.

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

I set out on a quest– to find out which healthy habits other mamas do to stay happy, and I’ve received some phenomenal responses.

I’m going to share these real responses

But first….

get a refresher on how important self-care is for you.

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

 

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

1.

“I take a bath every Friday morning. I use essential oils, pour in some Epsom salts, I exfoliate my skin, shave my legs. To ensure I get my 30 minutes of peace, my 3 year gets screen time and I nurse my newborn and put her in her vibrating chair. I love my once a week self care ritual because on every other day of the week I take a really rushed shower.”

-Molly

 

I recommend Dr Teal’s epsom salt soaking solution.

2.

“Eating healthy.”

-Janis

 

3.

“It is vital to my happiness as a mom (and person!) to maintain strong connections with friends – particularly in person. I am so much more fulfilled, happy, and ready to be patient, silly, playful, and understanding if I have regular time with my mom friends!”

-Kelsey

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

4.

“Getting up early before everyone else every morning, so I can have a quiet breakfast and get everything organized for my day before the crazy chaos begins.”

-Leidys T.

 

5.

I make time for myself away from the kids, the daily routine, and do something for myself. A pedicure, a massage, or some retail therapy.

-Shelbie Y.

 

6.

“A shower or bath to myself.”
-Jennifer H.
7. 

“Working out.”

-Amanda G.

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

8.

“Cleaning.”

-Kayli

 

9.

“Taking time for myself and the things that I love every day, even if just for five minutes.”

-Emmielley D.

 

10.

“Taking walks with my family.”

-Candi

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

11.

“Home cooked meals.”

-Brianna H.

 

12.

“Being able to put on my headphones and either take a walk or dance.”

-Laura P.

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

13.

“I take an hour out side of the house once a week and just be me. I’m a work at home mom and it’s my alone time!”

-Jenni

 

14.

“I brush my teeth.”

-Joanie B.

15.

“Exercise (when I can make time and have the motivation and energy for it!).” -Genni

 

16.

“My husband and I have a regular weekend night sitter so that we can go on date nights at least twice each month. This habit has been fantastic not only for our marriage and staying connected, but also for my mental health and happiness. Just having the occasions to get dressed up and feel like a woman outside of “Mommy” has allowed me to maintain my sense of self. With four kids, it is all too easy to lose yourself in the parenting role so the date nights have been a game-changer for keeping me happy and healthy.”

-Caitlin from www.realmomrecs.com

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

17.

“Eliminating toxins from my home. This keeps me energized, reduces illness and keeps my moods balanced.”

-Bri Pruitt from www.hippiedippiemom.com

 

18.

“Going on a brisk, 50 minute walk every morning.”

-Kelli F.

 

19.

“Taking some time away to get my hair done. It’s something I neglected for a while. Once I started getting it done I realized how much better I felt about myself because my hair looked good”

-Brenda

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

20.

“I make time to play with them, even if it’s just 15 minutes. The one on one (or two) time is great for our family bond. Sometimes we craft, sometimes we dance together, or we play a short game of Uno. I always have some ideas for kids games. Really, 15 minutes of fun and laughter each day can make such a difference.”

-Tiana

 

21.

“Taking an evening walk with my daughter. I’m getting exercise and exposing her to the same routine.”

-Keyona from www.professionalmomma.com

 

22.

“CrossFit – 1 hour 2-3x a week is my “me time” and keeps me energized.”

-Danielle from www.workingmomapproved.com

 

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

23.

“Taking time in the morning to exercise! It reduces stress & anxiety and gives me an energy boost that lasts all day.”

-Amy from themultitaskingmomlife.com 

 

24.

“Daily scripture study, even if it is just 5 minutes! It makes a HUGE difference in my patience level with my young children. And if it a particularly rough day, we will listen to gospel music in the background while we homeschool.”

-Tiffany T. from thecrazyshoppingcart .com

 

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

25.

“It’s really hard to answer this with just one healthy habit! But if I have to choose I think the biggest thing that postively impacts my happiness is making time for myself and my relationship with my husband. We’ve kept up a regular weekly or at least monthly date night since our first kid was born 15 years ago. The key for me has not been to hope I can squeeze in a moment alone for myself but to actively *make* the time for it and prioritize my own needs. I began training my kids when they were little to respect mommy’s quiet time, even if that meant just 15 minutes for me to read a book. Of course I love my children deeply but the universe does not revolve around them!”

-Liane from talesofascrunchymom.com

 

26.

“I take social media breaks when I’m feeling depressed or overwhelmed. I have found that reducing my time on facebook has greatly affected my mood….in a positive way.”

-Laura from excuse-the-mess.com

 

 

There you go– 26 healthy habits real moms do to stay happy. What do you do to stay happy? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

My Foolproof Potty Training Tips for Toddler Boys

Ever since I found out I was having a baby boy, one of the things that stuck in my head was: “potty training boys is SO MUCH harder than girls!” Obviously, I’m a boy mom of 2, so I have no idea if it’s true or not– but I DO know that potty training my first son was a breeze.

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

I put off potty training my toddler a little longer than I probably should– I think he was ready right when he turned 2, but, we just moved to Germany and he was adjusting to some pretty big changes, so I held off. And then some of my fears probably held me off a little longer after that– I believed that potty training would be a nightmare. I wasn’t ready for it. AT. ALL.

Seriously though, my son was out of diapers (during the day) and going pee/poop on the potty like a champ. I was stunned. He caught onto the whole potty training bit fairly fast and I’m here to share with you my tips that made the experience easy (for both of us) and how yes– it IS possible to potty-train a boy without ripping your hair out.

My Foolproof Potty Training Tips for Toddler Boys

 

1. Ask yourself: is your toddler ready?

Is your toddler really ready to potty train? Here are a few signs you can look for to figure out if it’s time to ditch the diapers:

  • shows interest in using the potty
  • tells you after he went poop in his diaper
  • has a dry diaper after nap time
  • knows the meaning of words like ‘potty’, ‘pee’, and ‘poop’

2. Buy big-boy underwear.

The very first step (obviously besides buying the actual potty) is to pick out some awesome and cool big boy underwear. Getting your toddler involved in picking out their very first pair of big boy undies can make this new transition an exciting one.

Explain to him that his big boy undies need to stay dry– that he can’t pee or poop in them– he does that on the potty, now. It helps to pick out some underwear with fun characters that your son LOVES. For example, my son is a PAW Patrol fanatic, and so he got so excited putting these on to wear (and keep dry!)

Amazon has a great deal on my son’s fav. PAW Patrol underwear.

 

3. No diapers during the day and ABSOLUTELY NO pull-ups.

We did the naked method– meaning, my son was naked basically the whole first day of training and he only wore diapers when he slept.

I hated the thought of using pull-ups…it was going to be an all-or-nothing thing for us, so those weren’t used, just the underwear. I did it this way because of two reasons:

Reason number 1: I didn’t want to confuse my toddler by putting a pull-up on him.

Reason number 2: Putting real underwear on my toddler let him understand that yes, if he goes pee/poop in his big boy underwear, it won’t feel nice!

 

4. Consistency and patience.

It will take a lot of consistency, especially the first 3 days, so keep persisting and most importantly, be patient.

I loaded my toddler with cups of liquid and constantly had him on the potty (even if he said that he didn’t need to go, he still sat on the potty to try) every 20 minutes. Like clock-work.

We love these Munchkin brand Miracle 360 sippy cups!

I also had to find patience (somewhere between the end of day 1 and the beginning of day 2, I can’t remember) because yes, this WILL get super frustrating. Just don’t give up!

 

5. Self-reward instead of treats.

Toddlers feel a huge sense of pride once they accomplish something on their own, so let them feel that!

I didn’t want to give my toddler candy or stickers just because he used the potty– I mean yes, it IS a big deal, and call me mean mommy but I wasn’t jiving with that. Instead, there was A LOT of praise, jumping up and down and high 5’s all around.

 

6. Buy your toddler a training urinal.

I waited far too long to do it, and I’m here to tell you, fellow toddler mama, to NOT WAIT ANYMORE.

This training urinal for boys is the real McCoy.

Best of all, my son loves this thing.

I’ve heard from several boy mamas that there toddler doesn’t pee standing up yet and wondering how to introduce that (besides uhm, watching dad). Lo and behold the training urinal.

Those are my foolproof potty training tips for toddler boys– they worked for me and didn’t leave me pulling out my hair!

Reply back to me and let me know if you tried any of my tips, I would also love to hear about any potty training questions you may have.

Postpartum Depression Resources for Military in the KMC

When you’re military living overseas, it sure can be overwhelming– the culture, language barrier, and of course the normal stressors that go along with being so far away from family and close friends.

When we moved to Germany almost one year ago, I was in the throws of struggling badly with postpartum depression. We had two kids under two and I had a really tough time adjusting to living overseas, so much so that it affected me as a wife and a mother. I quickly became so depressed that I would lounge in my PJs all day, sit my boys in front of the TV, and just pray that frozen food or cereal would be okay for dinner that night.

Deep down, I knew I was struggling, but I didn’t even know where to begin to ask for help.

Unfortunately, mental illness such as postpartum depression, is viewed as a stigma… which is also a wide range of reasons why moms don’t speak up about struggling with postpartum depression.

I talk about just a few of those reasons in this previous blog post.

Mental Health Resources for Moms in the KMC

 

After going through my own bumpy ride of PPD, I realized how difficult it can be to access resources when you really need them the most– especially when you move to a different country.

Luckily, being in a military community, resources for mental health can be obtained through a variety of channels as well as connecting with amazing and supportive people. With the help of  Kelsey W. Hurlburt, Resource Coordinator in the Kaiserslautern military community, I have listed the various resources that can be helpful for those who may be suffering with postpartum depression…as well as other mental illnesses.

 

 

 

 

KMC PPA & PPD Resources

Emergency Numbers:

                Germany Emergency Response*: 112 (fire & medical), 110 (police)

Veterans Crisis Line* (available to dependents 24/7):

From DE #: 00800 1273 8255

From US #: 1-800-273-8255 (opt 1)

From DSN: 118*

 

Live Chat: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

US National Suicide Hotline* (24/7):

00-1-800-273-8255

Hospital Services – Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC):

GPS Address: Dr. Hitzelberger-Strasse, 66849 Landstuhl

LRMC Info Desk (24/7):

CIV: 06371-9464-4100

DSN: 590-4100

 

LRMC Emergency Room:

CIV: 06371-9464-6322

DSN: 590-632

 

Mental Health Services:

Landstuhl Behavioral Health (LRMC Ward 1C, directly above Family Practice)

CIV: 06371-9464-5847

DSN: 590-5847

Hours: Walk-in M-F 0730 – 1630, after hours go to LRMC ER to access on-call social worker

Landstuhl Child & Family Behavioral Health (LRMC Ward 1D)

CIV: 06371-9464-6311

DSN: 314-590-6311

Ramstein Mental Health (RAB – Bldg 2121, 3rd Fl)

CIV: 06371-46-2390

DSN: 479-2390

Hours: 0700 – 1630, walk-ins OK, after hours call will auto forward, request to be connected to on call mental health provider

 

Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC)

                Ramstein:

CIV: 0152-2421 1233; 0152-0266 3352; 0176-6933 3243; 0151-5674 8179

Hours: M – F 0800-2000

 

 

KMC Mental Health Resource Guide

Confidential services (no records kept), not intended for emergency/life threatening situations, general counseling only

Army                    

Landstuhl Post: 0152-2479-2650

Pulaski Barracks/Daenner Kaserne: 0170-369-3292

Rhine Ordnance Barracks (ROB): 0175-601-1985

Sembach Kaserne: 0175-792-3332

 

Military One Source*

Live Chat: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help

24/7# CIV: 00-800-342-96477

24/7# DSN: 800-342-9647

 

Ramstein Chaplain

DSN: 480-6148

CIV: 06371-47-6148

Hours: 0730 – 1630, after hours call will auto forward, request to be connected to on call Chaplain  (walk-ins welcome)

Landstuhl Chaplain (Bldg 3764, 1st Fl, Between 4 Corners Info & Dining Facility)

DSN: 590-5713

CIV: 06371-9464-5713

Hours: 0800 – 1600 (walk-ins welcome)

 

                Parent & Outreach Services (Rhine Ordinance Barracks, Bldg 162)

CIV: 0611-143-541-9066

DSN: (314)541-9066

Hours: M – F, 0800 – 1700

*Indicates US-based service, not located in the Kaiserslautern Military Community

 

If you reside in the KMC, please share this so the respectable resources can be easily obtained to other mamas that may be struggling in silence.

 

If you are military in a different area, whether it be overseas or state side and if you would like to contribute to my upcoming Postpartum Health Military Resources Guide, please fill out the form below.

 

Remember mama, even in your darkest days, you are NOT alone. There is a tribe of mamas out there that know what it’s like and can offer you an abundance of support. We can get through this together!

 

 

A big thank you to KMC Resource Coordinator Kelsey W. Hurlburt for gathering these helpful resources for me.

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

I love essential oils. I know, it’s crazy—  I never expected to be so into the whole oily thing but once I tried them, I wonder why I was always so against them. Really. They can do wonders, ESPECIALLY to help fight off the moodies and the stress life. Aka Mom Life.

*disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

I’m always on the hunt for (natural) ways to help reduce my stress…. and essential oils may be the best tool for that. I found 5 oily moms and I asked them which essential oils that they recommend to help battle off stress.

But first….

 let’s get to the very basics.

What are essential oils?

An essential oil is a natural product extracted from a single plant species. Not all plants produce essential oils but the plants that do, the essential oil may be found in the roots, stems and leaves. Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use. *healthline.com

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural smell and flavor, or “essence,” of their source.

 

How to use essential oils.

There are quite a few ways that you can use essential oils (contrary to what I used to believe, it does not include slapping some oil onto your body).

 

On your body.

When applying essential oils on your body, use a carrier oil.

It’s always a good idea to avoid putting an essential oil straight on your body– using a carrier oil will help avoid skin sensitivities because an essential oil alone is too strong to use straight.

I choose coconut oil as my carrier oil when applying essential oils on my kids or myself.

 

Diffuse them.

Buying an essential oil diffuser  was the best decision I made last winter. My kids went through bouts of the ickies, and diffusing oils like orange and oregano helped shorten the duration of their colds by so much.

Diffusing oils is a great way to have your home smelling amazing– without all of the yucky chemicals that candles or scented wax have.

Here is my favorite oil diffuser that is under $20! I use this in the our bedrooms.

 

Clean with them.

Ditch those yucky chemicals, because you can also clean with essential oils.

I use lemon essential oil in my steam mop, orange to polish wood surfaces and oregano to disinfect.

Okay, now let’s get to the good stuff.

 

 

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

 

 

 

 

1. Ylang-ylang/  YL ‘Peace and Calming’

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

Andrea says:

“ylang ylang is one of the key ingredients in Young Living’s “peace and calming” which is one of my favorite anti-stress oils.. when i have sleep problems it usually zonks me right out when diffused. So i pulled YY out of it because studies have shown it’s a great anxiety reducer and started using it specifically for stress/anxiety mixed with other complementing oils like Lavender or Tangerine”

you can purchase YL’s Peace and Calming below:

 

 

2.Peppermint/eucalyptus mix

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

Jamie says:

“This mix also takes my migraines away!”

you can purchase peppermint essential here here:

you can purchase eucalyptus essential oil here:

 

 

3. Orange

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

Molly says:

“Smelling orange essential oils gives me an instant boost of happiness. Orange smells cheery and clean and vibrant to me. I associate it with good memories of eating oranges fresh from trees in Florida as a child.”

you can purchase orange essential oil here:

 

 

4. Rose

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

Genni says:

“Rose essential oil is another fav. It’s feminine smell is known to elevate the mind and create a sense of well-being!”

you can purchase rose essential oil below:

 

5. Citrus mix {bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit and lemon oil}

5 Essential Oils That Moms Use to Battle Stress

Jennifer says:

“I use a blend called Cheer up Buttercup with bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit and lemon essential oils. It’s the combo of stopping to apply, then breathing in the sent to focus on positive thoughts.”

you can purchase the CHEER UP BUTTERCUP blend here:

 

So there you have it– 5 essential oils that moms use to battle stress. Will you try any of these? Let me know in the comments!

 

*Resource:
Healthline.com- What Are Essential Oils and Do They Work? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-essential-oils#section1

 

It Wasn’t All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

*disclaimer: this post may contain a trigger warning due to child loss.

 

When I think of a strong mama, I think of a fearless, determined, selfless, and brave women that has been through hell and back…but has the persistence to keep moving forward. I interviewed Megan– a mama I’ve come to know through the military community. Megan’s story is painfully heartbreaking– she has made it through the darkest of days and has fought like hell to find her sunshine.

I talked to Megan about her experience with postpartum anxiety– Megan’s first son, Nathan, passed away at three days old from MAS (Meconium Aspiration Syndrome) and Megan developed PPA after she gave birth to their daughter.

Megan was an open book with me. I love how she is so comfortable talking about her loss and her PPA. I wanted to know how Megan’s life was affected by her PPA after losing her first child and I am so very grateful for her wanting to share her story with me.

 

This is Megan’s story.

 

 

 

L: Have you ever suffered from depression or anxiety pre-birth? If yes, briefly describe your methods of treatment and how you coped.

M: The only anxiety I faced pre-birth was after losing Nathan when I was pregnant with Adelyn. I coped by journaling, being open about Nathan and sharing his story, talking about my feelings being pregnant after loss. I also did a lot of walking. Being able to get outside in nature helped me feel closer to Nathan as well as sorting through whatever feelings I had at the time.

 

L: In a previous conversation, you shared with me that you struggled with PPA after your second baby, Adelyn, was born. Did you know it was postpartum anxiety?

M: I just knew that something wasn’t right.

 

L: Do you believe that Nathan’s loss was the sole root of developing PPA after Adelyn was born?

M: Yes, definitely. I was anxious while I was pregnant with her and worried that history would repeat itself (even though my OB said it was next to impossible). The anxiety I had shifted once she was born though. When I was pregnant, I thought once she was born the anxiety would go away because she was here safe. However, it got worse. I started to worry about everything. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. It’s not the natural order of things. It can happen to anyone. It happened to us, so when my anxiety was high I had it in my head that I had already been through the worst once, it was totally possible that it could happen again. When I was thinking clearly, I could tell myself that chances were slim, but when I was anxious, the voice in the back of my head said chances were slim with Nathan too but that didn’t matter.

 

L: Please describe some of your symptoms of PPA.

M: At first, I just felt “off”. I remember filling out questionnaires to screen for PPD and my answers never raised any red flags. On paper, I seemed “fine”. Whenever I would talk to people about it, they chalked up any sort of feelings I was having to losing Nathan…but it wasn’t my grief. I also remember talking to one of my good friends who is also a loss mom and I kept telling her that I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I knew it wasn’t PPD and there wasn’t a clear answer. Something wasn’t right. Then I read something related to PPA and it started making sense. Restlessness: I had a hard time sleeping at night. Having a constant fear that something was going to go wrong. Constantly checking things: Things like the straps on her car seat, door locks, etc. Always imagining the worst case scenarios (not just with Adelyn but with all of my loved ones), obsessing about everything that could possibly go wrong. 

 

L: On an average day, how did your PPA affect your home-life– your relationship with John, Adelyn and others?

M: During the day when Adelyn was awake, I was mostly able to function normally, especially if Johnathan was around. The worry would start when he would leave for work…”what if he gets in a car accident on his way to work?”. The anxiety was worst once it got dark outside. It was almost like clockwork. Every night it almost got hard to breathe. I dreaded putting her down for the night. I dreaded going to sleep. Almost every night when I would put on her pajamas I would think, “is this what you’re going to be wearing when I find your lifeless body?”. When I would turn off the lights I would take one last look at her and think “What if this is it?” We have the Owlet and we did use it with her and it was reassuring to be able to see she was doing ok. I think my anxiety would have been much worse without it. Almost every night I would lay in bed and be restless. Johnathan would try to calm me down every time I would tell him that I didn’t feel right. On the nights when my anxiety was really bad, I would lay awake and think of almost every bad scenario that could happen. “What if our house caught on fire?”, “What if we get in a car accident tomorrow?”, “What if something happens to my parents overnight?”, “What if Adelyn gets sick?”. I think nights made it worse because Nathan passed away in the middle of the night. We were blindsided by a phone call at 4 AM. Anytime, I ever got any unexpected phone calls, my heart would sink and I automatically would assume the worst. 

 

L: Did your PPA stop you from enjoying life?

M: Not completely. I know it made certain things difficult but I was still able to enjoy life. Losing Nathan gave me a deep appreciation for life, even the tough moments. 

 

L: Do you believe that your PPA affected you as a mother?

M: I think it made me very aware of everything going on with Adelyn. I worried about everything: a runny nose, any sort of cough, constantly checking her temperature, calling the nurse advice line or taking her to the clinic to get checked out. I worried about hurting her on accident. However, I also think that it made me more present for her. I never take any time with her for granted. Back when I had PPA, I often thought that certain moments could be the last so I often lived in the moment. 

 

L: What are some of your methods of coping with stress and anxiety. (ie. working out, writing, etc.)

M: I write in a journal which helped me slow down my thought process. Once I started working out, the anxiety started to go away. 

 

L: How long do you believe that you had PPA after Adelyn was born?

M: Around 10 months.

 

L: Did you receive treatment for your PPA. (was it medication, talk therapy, etc.)

M: When I was 6 months postpartum, I actually tried to meet with a therapist on base about my anxiety. I had a great experience with our grief counselor after Nathan passed away and I wanted to meet with her. However, they set me up with another person at the clinic. I met with her but their sessions are very brief (15-20 minutes). I tried to explain my anxiety to her and by the time I had just started to get my feelings out, the session was over and I had to see my way out the door without really discussing anything…then had to wait a few weeks to be able to see her again. The type of session wasn’t beneficial to me at all. A couple of days later, my dad had a stroke and I thought I was going to lose him which intensified my anxiety. I never made it back to the therapist. Instead, I really focused on my journal and working out. 

 

L: Congratulations on your newest bundle of joy! Have you experienced PPA or even PPD with Nolan? Please describe.

M: I had the expectation that I would experience PPD or PPA with him. Six weeks postpartum and I haven’t experienced either yet. 

 

L: How do you think it’s been different since Nolan was born vs. after having Adelyn?

M: I think it’s different this time around, partially because my husband and I aren’t “new” to parenthood this time around. Nolan has been a much easier baby and I think part of it is because we have already had the experience of raising a newborn. We aren’t as nervous with him. When Adelyn was a newborn, I’m sure she picked up on our nervousness. Also, I feel like I am more “at peace” this time around. Maybe I’m just in a different stage of my grief than I was 2 years ago.

 

L: What would you say to a mother that has lost a child and is about to give birth to her next baby?

M: Take it one day at a time. Being pregnant after loss is tough…so is parenting after loss. Sometimes it’s hard to juggle grief and joy at the same time. There will be tears and that’s ok. You will have a lot of bittersweet moments where you will miss your child, and be happy for your rainbow baby at the same time. Just like your grief, allow yourself to deal with the emotions that life throws your way. It’s normal. Your rainbow baby is his or her own person. Celebrate them! While your heart will never be the same after your loss, they help heal your heart in so many ways. I think as loss parents, we have the expectation that we need to enjoy every single moment, of both pregnancy and parenting. We’ve been through the worst and often tell ourselves that we need to enjoy it all. It’s perfectly ok if you don’t. It’s ok if you want to complain about feeling miserable or if you are exhausted. You are human and those feelings are acceptable, even as a loss parent. If you go into things expecting to enjoy every single moment, you are going to feel like an awful person if you don’t. 

 

L: If you could tell a new mother anything, what would it be?

M: There will be good days and there will be challenging days. A “bad” day doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok if things on your to-do list don’t get checked off. Every child is different. Try not to compare them to other children, especially with milestones.

Megan shared some beautiful pictures with me. The one listed below is after Adelyn was born.

It Wasn't All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

The emotion in this picture is so raw, so emotional– you can see little Nathan is always included in their family photos. <3

 

 

Below is after their third child, Nolan, was born.

It Wasn't All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

A family of 5 now– Nathan, Adelyn, and baby brother Nolan. Megan’s face is brimming with love and content.

*photo credit goes to Hello Baby Birth Photography

L: you truly seem at peace now.

M: I am. Did I tell you the story about when we found out Nolan was a boy? I was so nervous leading up to that moment because I didn’t know what sex would be easier on my heart. I was scared that I wouldn’t get to raise a boy but at the same time I didn’t know if it was what was going to be better on me. Right before we went to the ultrasound, Somewhere Over the Rainbow started playing at this restaurant we were at. It didn’t fit the atmosphere at all. I felt like it was Nathan giving one of his signs saying not to worry…that we should be at peace with everything. And I pretty much have been since.

 

 

Resources and support.

 

Megan recommends:

 

The Compassionate Friends facebook group.

A Bed For My Heart and Still Standing on Facebook.

PPA:

It Wasn't All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

It Wasn't All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

It Wasn't All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

It Wasn't All Darkness: How a Strong Mama Coped with PPA After Her Loss

 

My huge gratitude goes to Megan R. for answering my personal questions and sharing her most intimate thoughts and feelings on her loss of Nathan and PPA. I also would like to give credit to Hello Baby Birth Photography for the photos shared by Megan.