No one wants to admit they have the “Baby Blues” - the stress, the anxiety, frustration, feeling of loss (of self), the isolation or any of the number of feelings one gets after giving birth, and occasionally before. There are a number of women who don’t get the blues, or some for only a short time. For many others, it lasts much longer than a few weeks, or like me, it shows up later. It can feel utterly consuming.
We envision so much joy in having children in our lives, and yet no one can truly tell new parents how much will change in their lives. No amount of reading books, taking classes, or reading fun blog articles can prepare you for the explosion in your emotional spectrum when a baby arrives. If your foundation isn’t complete to support not only the emotional and physical changes that will come your way but the hormonal chaos as well, then it might be a good idea to look for some opportunities to support your well-being and create a community for that.
There are a number of postpartum support groups starting up around the country, as well as postpartum or “mommy-and-me” activity groups. (Daddy-and-me groups are a little on the slow side.) What I find myself telling parents, especially those with challenging babies is to take a break where baby isn’t part of it and do it either alone or with your partner. I remember the times when I was able to go to the grocery store sans family. It was absolute heaven. I stood in the beauty aisle smelling lotions for easily ten minutes just taking in something different. It’s imperative to support yourself and your partner in time needed for self-care.
This isn’t always easy, and taking time away from baby isn’t always what’s best for you. If you thrive on the fuel that being around others provides and being with baby isn’t what triggers you, then group classes with the mommy-and-me theme may be a great option. If you’re more of an introvert and quiet time feeds your soul, then check out a yoga class with babysitting available.
Whatever it is, you must honor yourself throughout the transitions of parenthood. Not only will you be a better parent in general, but you’ll be teaching your children how to take care of themselves, honor boundaries, and that community from an introverted or extroverted place is necessary for a sense of wholeness. It’s when we’re scattered and frayed that life is so uncomfortable. Sew up the edges with the healing balm that serves you best and the Baby Blues will be much easier to navigate.
Emily Nelson, MA, RMT is a Craniosacral Therapist specializing in Obstetrics and Pediatrics, and also teaches gentle/postpartum yoga, currently at The Family Room in Wheat Ridge, CO. You can learn more about her at www. LivingConsciously.MassageTherapy.com. She has two children, and has successfully found her way around the Baby Blues into a fulfilling life of parenthood.