Why Self-Care is Important for Every Mom

It can be something as small as making sure you drink enough water and take your daily medication, to going to your yearly dental exam.

Not sure where to start?

Trust me, mama, I now all about not making enough time for myself. It’s tough when you’re a busy mom! I have two toddlers to chase after…I can barely go to the bathroom alone!

Since I became a mom, I strongly believe now that self-care is important for every mom.

I’m an example of why self-care is important for every mom.

I’ll use myself as a good example of why every mom needs some self-care in her life.

After I became a mom, I stopped taking care of myself. I would feel guilty if I did ANYTHING just for ME. Yes, true! I would consume all of my time and energy into my newborn baby boy…and when I would practice self-care, well, the guilt would be so unbearable that I wouldn’t do anything else for myself months and months later.

This was a CRAZY thought in my head, but– I believed that doing things for MYSELF made me a bad mom.

After my second son was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I would literally be running on E, yet I would STILL be giving my family every last bit of my energy and happiness. That was the ultimate recipe for disaster, and it made me a very moody mama!

I started taking care of myself and I was slowly brought back to life….I began to make MYSELF a priority again!

 

Self-care can be easy.

I will tell you that self-care is easier than you may have imagined, mama.

Are you stuck and need some self-care inspiration? Or, maybe you need that extra nudge to start doing something for yourself.

 

I put together a list of some really great ideas for self-care.

It’s totally free!

Start taking care of yourself and find out why self-care is important for every mom.

After you tried my ideas, please let me know what you think!

 

The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety and How to Cope

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to be honest with you right now. My life dramatically changed after having babies. I know, huge shocker, right? But no, really. It did. In more ways than one.

If you’ve read my story about my struggle with postpartum depression, then you know my struggle there; but something I haven’t really talked about yet is postpartum anxiety.

 

 

You may be wondering: what is that? What is postpartum anxiety? How is it different from regular anxiety?

I’m here to share that with you today– because, well, I didn’t fully understand either. I never even knew that postpartum anxiety was a thing that, you know, moms get.

Postpartum anxiety is a real-thing and it actually affects way more moms than I thought. In fact, postpartum anxiety is more common than postpartum depression and not enough women know about it.

What is postpartum anxiety?

 

 

When is it not just worrying?

Being a mother means taking on the burden of responsibility and caring for another life. So, It’s common to worry about things like your sick baby or the dirty laundry you didn’t get to yet– but what makes your worrying cross the line to PPA?

According to parents.com, postpartum anxiety is when you dread everyday situations such as driving (with baby inside your car) or if panic attacks come that disrupt your whole day. It’s when your constant fear of harming your baby play over in your mind.

How does postpartum anxiety happen?

Postpartum anxiety happens thanks to the hormonal shift after giving birth and the various triggers that follow– sleep deprivation, caring for a newborn, and lifestyle changes. Any new mom can experience postpartum anxiety but those with a family history of anxiety or a previous experience with depression are especially vulnerable.

How to get help for PPA.

If postpartum anxiety is affecting your daily life to the point where you find it difficult to care for your child, please reach out and seek help– you are not alone!

Resources:

logo_250_61-1

Postpartum Progress is an amazing resource for finding a specialist near you.

 

How to cope with PPA.find a trusted person to confide in.

*find a trusted resource and reach out.

*medication/talk therapy.

*meditation/deep breaths.

*write your thoughts in a journal.

*know that you’re not alone!

YOU are not alone.

Maybe you’ve been feeling a little ‘off’ since your baby was born….you know, not quite yourself; your more anxious, worry-some, and panicky. Perhaps you even feel like you’re the only one to ever feel like this and if you told someone you’re thoughts and worries, they may label you as crazy. OR, maybe you just assumed that these feelings are NORMAL for a new mom {or mom in general}.

I was in your shoes. I know the feelings. I’m here to tell you that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. Postpartum anxiety is normal and treatable. There are resources and there is help out there. It won’t be like this forever.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:

From postpartum.net,

Postpartum Support International is not a crisis hotline and does not handle emergencies. People in crisis should call their physicians, their local emergency number or one of the National Emergency Hotlines listed below.

CRISIS TEXT LINE:

  • Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.

 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website

  • 1-800-273-8255
  • www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org Call for yourself or someone you care about; free and confidential; network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide; available 24/7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda’s Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Story

Amanda’s story

{previously featured on Legally Mommy}

 

 

 


 

I never wanted to be a Mother.

I never fantasized about baby names, or nursery décor. I didn’t swoon over infants. In fact, I was terrified of them (and still am).

I had grown up, an only child, in an alcoholic and abusive home. To this day, I remember virtually nothing about my childhood: it’s been completely erased in my mind. I grew up quickly, with an insatiable (and unrealistic) desire to succeed. I was a perfectionist in every sense of the word.

The law school days

When I was accepted into law school in 2011, my boyfriend (now fiancée) and I decided that I would move 3 and a half hours away to another province to attend school while he’d stay here in the house we had bought the year before. I was excited to begin a new adventure. I knew I would miss him, but I (mistakenly) thought I was strong enough to get through the year on my own.

Once I moved and began school, I experienced the crushing loneliness and abandonment I had experienced in childhood all over again. I was alone, and I had no one. I was miserable, and quickly fell into a depression. I had always been prone to anxiety and depression, so this came easy to me – and without much warning. I began to fantasize about what I presumed would be my ‘happily ever after.’ For the first time in my life, I wanted to be a Mother. It was foreign and new, but I adopted the idea with my usual fervour. I wanted someone to need me, and to never leave my side. I thought having a baby was the answer. After my first year of school ended and I moved back home, we started entertaining the idea of starting a family. The timing was horrible, but my desire consumed me. I thought I was ready.

Weeeeeee’re pregnant?!

Fast forward to October 10, 2012, a day I’ll never forget.

As soon as I saw “YES +” glaring back at me on the pregnancy test, my stomach instantly sunk. It was not at all how I expected to feel, but in that moment I had absolutely no control over my emotions.

We had wanted this. In a sense, we had planned this – I just didn’t plan on it happening so quickly.

I instantly began to feel anxious. I dismissed it as normal pregnancy nerves. In hindsight, I should have talked to someone about it right away. We also found out that my maternal serum screening numbers had come back a bit high, and we’d have to have a “level 2” or higher risk ultrasound done. We were lucky to see our baby girl at 10 weeks and again at 12 and 20 weeks. At our 20 week ultrasound, they noticed some spots on her heart: a ‘soft marker’ for Down Syndrome. They said it was likely nothing, but they offered us an amniocentesis just in case. We opted not to. They sent us home, and told us that these ‘bright spots’ were fairly common. My fiancée spent the rest of my pregnancy with “99.6%” written on his arm in permanent marker: the chance our baby would be born without Down Syndrome.

The odds were definitely in our favor, but I was still terrified. Not only because of these markers – but also because I didn’t feel one bit ready for motherhood. No amount of reading, nursery prep or prenatal classes changed that. I never once had that ‘peaceful’ feeling. I was terrified for 100% of my pregnancy. As I mentioned, I had always been an anxious person, but pregnancy (and – as I’d later learn – Motherhood) amplified that anxiety past the point where I could handle it on my own.

Absolute denial

As my due date approached, I was in complete denial. And when I went into labour five days past my due date, I tried to convince myself that the painful contractions I was feeling were just braxton hicks contractions. I was SO not ready.

My labour was fast. When I reluctantly arrived at the hospital, I was promptly admitted when they discovered I was 7 centimeters dilated. There was no time for an epidural. Labour was the easy part, even completely un-medicated. Our daughter was born four hours later, perfectly healthy. I felt numb. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing a million miles a minute.

Life after baby

Things got even worse when we left the hospital. My daughter developed a particularly awful case of acid reflux, and she was nursing around the clock. When she wasn’t nursing, she was crying constantly from the pain. She barely slept. When she did, I tossed and turned in bed beside her – anxiously anticipating her next cry and my next session of breastfeeding torture. I spent more nights than I wanted to hunched over her on the couch, trying to get her to latch until the sun came up. I barely ate that first month. Or slept. I just cried and cried. And that sums up the first month of her life.

The sadness and anxiety just wouldn’t go away. I was terrified to be alone with her. I refused to go out in public because I was constantly fearful that I would be judged for being a terrible mother. I felt zero connection to my beautiful daughter. I became resentful of my partner, and it almost broke us. I made plans to run away. I knew I couldn’t go far, but I just wanted to disappear and start over again. I tried to explain how I was feeling to my best friend – anyone who would listen. But no one could understand what it was I was going through. I searched high and low for support, and googled “Postpartum Depression” more times than I can count, only to be left in the dark. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It was like a bad dream that never ended. I came across this list and instantly recognized myself in all the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Reaching out for help

Finally, a lifesaving Public Health nurse told me to head to the hospital and see the on-call Psychiatrist. I waited there for hours in the family waiting room, crying as I watched infomercials about sick babies as part of a fundraiser for a local children’s hospital. It was one of the first times I was away from my daughter, and I panicked knowing that she was low on pumped milk and would soon need to be nursed again.

When the Psychiatrist finally emerged, she told me I had three options: to be admitted, to take medication, or to do nothing.  She admitted that she had zero knowledge of how the drugs she was prescribing me were secreted into breastmilk, and told me I would have to discontinue breastfeeding immediately. She prescribed me Zoloft, a sleeping pill and Ativan. I debated and cried and cried some more. I hated breastfeeding with a fiery passion, but it felt like the only thing I was doing right – even though my daughter still cried in pain most of the time. But she was growing and it was because of me. I immediately stopped breastfeeding. I felt numb. Like a failure. Relieved. All at the same time. To this day, I still well up breastfeeding posts and photos. I feel like the world’s biggest failure. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to re-establish my supply when my daughter was six months old, because the guilt was all-consuming and exhausting.

Over time, after taking the Zoloft and talking with a therapist weekly, I was able to function a bit better. I was still paralyzed with anxiety, though, at times. I didn’t like leaving the house. I didn’t like when my daughter cried in public. I constantly felt –  and still do, sometimes – that I was her babysitter, and I was waiting for her real Mom to come pick her up. I sometimes forgot that I was even a Mother. I didn’t feel like one at all. I kept wondering: “when will things feel normal again? When will I get my old life back?” And I couldn’t, for the life of me, accept that this was my new normal. Every piece of my life was unrecognizable. I was a mess, and I hated every minute of it. Still, to this day, I can’t stand it when people ask: “Can’t you just not remember life before her?” Because all I CAN remember is life before her. It’s life AFTER her that’s a blur.

I have a long way to go, but I’m slowly getting there. And my beautiful daughter, who I love more than anyone else in the world, is turning 2 today. She’s the reason I will continue to fight for support for women like me experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.

 

Read more

Why Raising Toddlers {close in age} Is Really, Really Exhausting AF

Hi. *yawns*. O, I’m sorry. I’m just rubbing my tired eyeballs as I try to chug my second cup of coffee before icicles form on top of my “World’s Best Mom” mug. I’m also trying to prevent one child from grabbing a knife from the kitchen counter while screaming at the other one to not jump off the sofa.

Contrary to what that mug says, I’ve been feeling less than anyone’s ‘best mom’ these days. Perhaps I’m too hard on myself but lately, I feel like my kids are getting the short end of the stick. They’re both going through some rough ‘phases’ right now and it’s hell. Why? Because raising toddlers is really, really exhausting.

No, I’m not just really tired, I’m exhausted. I’m emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted.

The moment when I peed on that stick and those two faint lines appeared, I knew how hard it was going to be having kids just 18 months apart. It was like all of the worse things flashed before my eyes: double dirty-diapers, double melt-downs, double teething, double the fights, double the chaos.

In the beginning– it was hard. Now? It’s harder. You may think that I have my hands full and you are absolutely correct. 

Motherhood was golden when my second son was just an infant– he slept 95% of the time and wasn’t mobile. Sure, I had to factor in the multiple feedings per day and my first son going through the whole ‘big brother transition’, but looking back, THAT was the easy part. Phew. I was so naive back then.

I now have a 2.5 and 1 year old and I’m drowning. I’m not being dramatic, by any means, because I really, really am drowning– let’s just say that the {proverbial shit hit the fan} once my youngest turned 1. Game. Over.

If you’re curious as to why, I listed some of the reasons below. (And if you have two kids really close in age, then you feel me on this sista.)

 


 

They are beginning to fight with each-other.

I thought that I had a few more years before I would be refereeing my boys–my oldest will put my other son in a  headlock and pin him down. I’m breaking up fights more than I get to sit down.  O, and it’s not only physical they fight over ANYTHING… who has the better toy, who has the better sippy cup (they’re BOTH BLUE), who has the better food (YOU BOTH HAVE STRAWBERRIES). I feel like my day is 98% telling them to leave each other alone.

One of them is ALWAYS grumpy AF.

The only time my boys are content at the exact same time is when they’re eating or sleeping.

One of them is ALWAYS awake.

 THEY NEVER SLEEP AT THE SAME TIME. It would NEVER, EVER happen if both of them napped at the exact, same sweet time. Never. That would mean, falling asleep and waking up at the exact, same sweet time. And night-time is a gamble since our oldest sleeps IN our bed and frequently tosses and turns.

There’s always a phase.

One of them is ALWAYS going through some sort of ‘phase’ that makes life hard AF– because, like I said earlier, one of them is always grumpy.

Going out of the house feels like a freaking marathon.

If I could stay in my house 24/7 (without the risk of my boys or MYSELF going completely insane) I would. The whole process of going out is soooo daunting that if I’m planning on being out with my two boys, it better be worth it.

Grocery shopping is Hell.

If I had a to describe what Hell would be like, it would be grocery shopping with two toddlers. I can’t say much more about it except… I loathe it with every fiber in me.

They feed off of each-other.

Ugh. Yes. Whenever one of them has an uber melt-down moment, it’s a guarantee that the other one will! My youngest is notorious for being a ‘sympathy crier’ so if my oldest is in time-out and crying, my youngest immediately reacts. The worse is probably when we’re in the car and THEY BOTH start going off.

 

So there are a few {of the many} reasons why raising toddlers is exhausting! Can you relate? Don’t forget mama, we’re in this crazy and hectic mom-life together. x.

Self-Care For Those That Suffer From Depression

When you suffer from depression, it’s not always easy to find things that make you feel good. I really had to dig deep to find things that make me happy. And not just that, but to actually apply it to my daily life. 

As you may know, it can be a real battle to get moving on your hardest day when struggling with depression. However, it’s still so important to practice self-care and I’ve learned that the smallest things can really help my mindset; here are some things that I like to do when I’m in need of some self-care.

selfcareUntitled (1).jpg

This post contains affiliate links. That means, at no cost to you, I will receive compensation if you purchase something through one of these links. For more information about this, see my disclosure here.

 

Essential oils-

I’ve never been the type to get into the hooplah of essential oils but once I tried them, I’m not really sure why I shyed away from them for so long. I make sure to incorporate essential oils into my daily life- lavender, cedarwood, orange and grapefruit are just a few of my favorites and I use them by rubbing on my temples/wrists or diffusing. 

Check out my favorite brand of essential oils that I purchase through Amazon.

Epsom salt bath-

Whenever I can, I love to soak in a hot bath…accompanied by epsom salts and some lavender oil. It’s extremely relaxing and also a good way to detoxify the body.

I also would recommend these Dr. Teal’s epsom salts because they’re amazing!

Step outside-

It’s just a proven fact that the sunshine & warm weather puts me in a better mood. I love being outdoors so much and I try to get out even for a few minutes a day. In the summer time, I make it a habit to lay outside in my hammock to enjoy the fresh air. 

Move your body-

Even when you don’t feel like it, move your body… a short walk, a jog, anything. I can guarantee you to feel better because of those amazing little endorphines that will put off your “feel good” senses. 

Put the phone down-

It’s not an easy thing to do, especially in today’s modern society, but whenever I’m feeling very overwhelmed and stressed out, I turn off my phone. My phone is such a huge distraction and sometimes social media is a real mood killer. I’ve found that the days when I don’t check facebook, my mind feels better.

Buy yourself flowers-

This is something I recently started to do and for some funny reason, it helps my mood. Once a week, I try to buy some fresh flowers at the local market to put in my kitchen. I always try to pick the brightest colors and for about 2 euro, I have an instant mood booster in my home.

Create a routine-

Once you establish a routine of self-care make sure to stick with it. When we’re not feeling our best, it’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves!

There you have it.

Those are some of the things that I love to do for self-care. 

Let me know which ones you try out and tell me your favorite self-care methods!