It has already been four weeks since we welcomed our new son into the world. As you can imagine, it has been quite a transition for everyone. We are beginning to find our rhythm as a family of five. Here’s a look at how my first four weeks as a mama of three have been:
The first couple of days of week one were pure bliss. I was still on a high from my amazing birth experience. I felt so in love with my little baby. We spent the entire day snuggled in bed, skin to skin. All I did was nurse, eat, sleep and repeat. My husband was home so he was great about bringing me food and water and taking care of the toddler so that I could focus 100% on baby. By the end of day two, I was feeling the effects of the change in hormones…badly! It happened all of a sudden too. Throughout the day I was just feeling weird. I couldn’t tell if I was overwhelmed or bored or anxious. Then I realized that what I was feeling was sadness. My husband and I were lying in bed that evening and I told him “I feel sad.” It really caught me off guard. My baby was not even three days old – how could I be sad? I had not experienced sadness so soon after birthing either of my other children. So the sadness quickly turned to guilt. How could I feel anything other than happy when this precious little human was cuddled up on me? This was my first run-in with the baby blues. I thought maybe I should get out of bed for a break – perhaps I was going a bit stir crazy. Luckily, the baby’s first visit to the pediatrician was the next day so I would get out of the house for a few. The fresh air and escape from the house was indeed refreshing. The rest of the week was a bit up and down but there were a few things that were really helpful. First of all, we had a ton of food! Between the meals that I had prepped and frozen and food that family brought over, we were set. Secondly, the baby was nursing like a champ! I nursed each of my other babies without any issues but of course every baby is different so I was a little anxious about how our breastfeeding journey would start out. We were off to a great start so that was one less thing to worry about. Lastly, my baby was super chill. He slept soundly through his brothers playful screams and tantrums. When he woke up, he was so calm and patient. During the night, he woke up to nurse and would peacefully go right back to sleep without any protest. I was actually getting some pretty decent rest. I wasn’t sure how long he would maintain this demeanor but I was enjoying it while it lasted.
The following week was much of the same. I was beginning to move around a little more after spending most of the first week in bed. But my body quickly showed me that it wasn’t quite ready for the level of activity that I thought I could handle so I had to slow down. By the end of the day, my back and pelvic area were really sore and it was difficult to walk. So I went back to resting most of the day whether in bed or downstairs on the couch. I started to feel a bit anxious because my husband was home Monday through Thursday but returning to work on Friday and I wasn’t physically or mentally ready to be alone with the kids. I tried to put it out of my mind until the time came so that I could try to enjoy the present moments and just get as much rest as possible. By the time Friday came around, I was feeling a bit stronger and had more energy. I was almost excited to take on my first day solo with the kids. Too bad the day went pretty horribly. The toddler woke up much earlier than normal which halted my plan to wake up before the boys and get myself ready for the day. He spent most of the day screaming for his Daddy and wanted me to pick him up a lot. I realized all the change was a lot for him to process so I gave in and picked him up whenever he asked even though the baby was attached to me in the wrap. So my energy and strength was running out fast from carrying both boys. Fortunately, I was able to get the boys to sleep at the same time for a nap and have a minute to regroup. I expected the day to be tough and I tried to set my expectations really low. The goal was really just to keep both kids alive and stay hydrated. Mission accomplished. By Sunday, I wanted to get out of the house – alone! And so I did. I couldn’t be gone too long since the baby is nursing on demand but I just needed a few minutes without any children. So I went to my mom’s house for coffee and to raid her kitchen and headed back home after only 10 minutes. It was just enough to recharge me for the week ahead.
Going into the third week, I told myself that each day would get easier as everyone continued to adjust to our new normal. Plus this was a short week for me because my husband would be home Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was getting more and more of my energy back and I needed every bit of it to keep up with the kids. So overall, it was a better week but I was still working through the baby blues. I knew hormones were playing a huge role in the sadness but I wanted to pinpoint some of the triggers so that I could begin to address the problem. I realized that I was doing a lot of comparing my postpartum experience with my toddler to my current experience. So far they were vastly different and that was tough to accept. I told my husband “this just isn’t what I expected it to be.” When the toddler was a newborn, I was unbelievably happy and enjoying every single second of being his mama. The teenager was 11 years old at the time and very self-sufficient. Not only could she do alot by herself but she was also a big help to me. I was able to spend so much one-on-one time with the baby. I also felt super connected to the toddler the second he was born because I was able to start bonding with him during my pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my newest baby, I wasn’t really able to focus on bonding and embracing the pregnancy because I had a toddler at home that needed all of my attention. (Read more about my third pregnancy here.) So when the baby was born, I loved him immediately but I didn’t feel like I knew him the way I knew my other babies when they were born. For the first time, I had to work on bonding with my baby. I also found myself wanting to put him down at times and have a break and do something for myself. This certainly wasn’t a bad thing but my mind was interpreting it as such since I hadn’t felt the same with my other kids. I was overwhelmed with happiness and just wanted to hold them all of the time. I had to tell myself to stop expecting this experience to be like anything other than what it is. This is a different baby, I am different and we will have our own unique journey. So what if I want to put him down a little more than I did his siblings? If that is what I need to keep my sanity and be the best mama for him, then that is what I will do. Once I wrapped my head around this idea, I started enjoying my baby a whole lot more.
This was my first full week at home alone with my two-under-two boys. I was feeling really motivated and excited to continue getting into a groove. In my few days alone with them the week before, I made some observations and had some ideas about how to make the days go smoother. I started forcing myself to get out of the bed even when I still felt too tired. I knew I needed to get up and have a minute to myself before I had to tend to the boys or I would start the day out frustrated and it would be downhill from there. The baby was asleep while I got ready and the toddler was awake and playing in his room. I realized that I could avoid a lot of tantrums by giving the toddler whatever he needed first. He seemed to lose it whenever he felt like the baby was in the way of him getting what he needed or wanted. Since the baby is still pretty low maintenance and sleeps a lot, this was easy to accomplish. Once the baby woke up in the morning, I would put him in my wrap so that I could keep him close and still be hands-free. The toddler and I had some great story and play times. I could tell that he was beginning to adjust to our new dynamic.
We are all taking it one day at a time and learning each other as we go. This week Daddy is home on parental leave so I am going to enjoy the extra set of hands and hopefully extra rest. Check back in a few weeks for the next update on our postpartum journey.
What was your first month postpartum like? Are you currently postpartum? How is it going? Share below.