I was a mess when I came home from the hospital with my son. Although I had a healthy pregnancy, stayed busy, and felt really empowered, I had a difficult, scary birth. I actually had preeclampsia that remained undiagnosed until two weeks after my due date. My blood pressure looked healthy because I have low blood pressure normally.
By delivery, my kidneys, liver, and heart were quite strained.
After two days in the hospital, I was still quite sick and exhausted. I struggled to walk (for all those reasons birth makes it hard to walk).
I could barely take care of my son, struggling to pick him up with my weak arms. In fact, I ended up moving in with my mother for the first week — something that killed me inside. (It was wonderful of her to do it. I just felt like a failure.)
But, that setback made me determined to bounce back from baby. I needed to get my health back to get my life back. And I wanted this new life to have some semblance of the order I had enjoyed before my joyous son came into my life.
My Journal Took the Pressure Off
As I sat there, sleeping, nursing, and trying to will myself to heal, I found that the journal actually took the pressure off. I could make lists of everything that was worrying me — everything I needed to do.
I would sit there (because all I could do was sit) and make those lists. Then, I could actually make specific requests when the wonderful people in my life said, “How can I help?”
My Journal Helped Me Track Improvements
It can be hard to stay in a positive headspace, even if you’re not struggling with baby blues or postpartum depression. In general, I felt bad about myself.
I was too sick to take care of myself.
But, I decided to focus on everything I was doing to make it better. I did my exercises, ate my vitamins, drank my water, and meditated on positive thoughts.
I would make notes each day about pain improvements, increased mobility, and gains in strength.
My Journal Gave Me a Break
When you first have a baby, the amount of care is overwhelming. Even if you know this as a concept, it’s much different in practice. There are few moments to yourself — unless you have an unusually chill child.
There were periods of time when I just had to hold or wear my son to keep him from crying. And since I was breastfeeding, additional hours of my day revolved around holding him. I chose to multitask during these times and update my journal.
I couldn’t do anything elaborate on the pages. But, I could dream, plan and brainstorm — putting notes in the pages.
My Journal Allowed Me to Find Myself Again
All that thinking and planning allowed me to find myself again. I really wanted to shape who I was going to be as a mother. That abstract concept kind of crashes when you’re sitting on the couch, recovering and wishing you could just put the baby down for a shower.
I felt very lost. I have never been one to sit for hours at a time, watching television. But, (again with the breastfeeding and recovery) I was.
Using that time to build a new normal, planning on pages, made me feel better and stronger.
How did you bounce back?
Every mother’s journey is different and they are all beautiful by virtue of the strength it takes to travel through it. Let me know how you got back to feeling like yourself after you had your child. Did it feel natural or did you struggle?
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