The Lonely Terror of Postpartum Anxiety

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/the-lonely-terror-of-postpartum-anxiety.html

(click link to read this really important piece on thecut.com)

I’m lying awake, gazing at the gentle rise and fall of my 3-month-old’s chest. He’s a delicate infant, constantly surprising me with his smallness, like his sister did when she was born four years earlier. In recent weeks, my son has begun stretching out the number of minutes between nursing sessions. He can go for two hours without eating now, or two and a half if I’m lucky. This means I have more of a chance to sleep, at least in short spurts. But every time I drift off, I jolt awake in a sweaty panic.

I am on high alert all the time these days. I tell myself that this panicky feeling is normal — I have a new(ish) baby, after all. But it doesn’t feel normal. I have constant visions of my son suffocating in the night. I think of waking up to his cold body. I spend nights imagining a thousand unlikely, tragic things that could happen to him.

HERE’S HOW TO HELP A NEW MOTHER (ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE DOESN’T ASK)

http://raisedgood.com/how-to-help-new-mother-especially-when-doesnt-ask/

As a new mother, I had a knack for giving the impression that I didn’t need help.

My village lives on the other side of the globe, so it was borne out of necessity, but I wonder if it was more than that. As new (or not so new) mothers, I wonder if we feel as though we’re letting ourselves down if we show that we’re vulnerable. Are we falling short if we admit that we simply can’t do this alone?

That we have one hairy leg because our survival strategies have devolved into shaving one leg one day, and the other the next. And we forgot the second leg…for a week. That we eat breakfast for dinner on a semi-regular basis. And that if one more well-meaning person tells us (as if we’ve forgotten) that we really need to take care of ourselves, we’ll scream.

Because, before becoming mothers we were used to feeling productive. To meeting deadlines. To getting the job done and feeling like a valued team member.

But motherhood shatters that reality. And although it’s bittersweet, thank goodness it does. It softens us. Slows us down. Stops the treadmill of a results driven society, forcing us to reassess what we truly value in this one short life of ours. As parents, we need to redefine success in the context of a journey, with a destination we will never see.

(click to read on raisedgood.com)

Planning for Postpartum: Help is Not a Luxury

http://www.mothering.com/articles/planning-for-postpartum-help-is-not-a-luxury/

The idea of a couple growing a family in isolation is new to human society. What we need, in the absence of our families and tribal support systems, is postpartum doulas.

Each of my postpartum experiences was different. For one I was largely dazed and happy, for another I felt upset and overwhelmed, and during one I was losing touch with reality. What they had in common was that I felt unanchored. Adrift. Lost in a sea of beautiful dreams and haunting nightmares that I felt obliged to keep to myself.

Surely this is just how it is. You struggle on, alone. Your triumphs are yours alone. Your grief and anger is yours alone. If you felt you could share, no one could understand anyway. Motherhood is a box.

For many of us, this is how it feels to enter into motherhood for the first or fifth time. You go to your box, sort yourself out, and occasionally over the next few months you’ll venture a peek outside, save up for a short staycation. But mostly, you are the box. You need the box and boy does the box need you.

Or not.

 

(click link above to read the entire article on mothering.com)

 

 

Your baby does NOT need to ‘learn to self-settle’

http://www.kidspot.com.au/baby/baby-development/baby-behaviour/your-baby-does-not-need-to-learn-to-self-settle

If you’re questioning the rightness of your desire to pick up your baby when he cries, or lie beside him as he falls to sleep, read this.

“He’s got you wrapped around his little finger.”
“She’ll never learn if you do whatever she demands.”
“He needs to learn to self-settle.”

These are phrases every new parent is inundated with by well-meaning strangers. Despite the journey to becoming parents being one filled with much anticipation and joyful excitement, we live in a world that seemingly undervalues normal physiological behaviour in babies, and places way too much emphasis on the quest for them to be independent in their own entities. We are warned of creating “bad habits” with our children by being there for them when they need us, and we are chastised for wanting our babies in our beds near us at night time or for feeding overnight.

(click link above to read the rest of this post)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT “THE FOURTH TRIMESTER”

http://www.mothermag.com/fourth-trimester/

Creating a new life is not an overnight process, as we all know. Women’s bodies work hard to provide a safe and nurturing environment in order to grow a baby. The nine-plus months, or 40(ish) weeks, of pregnancy are split into three trimesters, each about 12-14 weeks long. Many women will track the milestones of their unborn babies in the womb as the weeks and trimesters go by, as well as the seemingly endless changes to their own bodies as their little one grows. Less talked about—and planned for—are the few months following the birth of your baby, often referred to as the fourth trimester, which is an important part of your pregnancy experience for both you and your baby. While you might be preoccupied figuring out how to care for your in-the-flesh newborn or getting your birth plan in place, it’s just as important to understand what your body will go through after the delivery and how you will need to care for it. To help address this special (and intense) 12 weeks post-delivery, we’ve rounded up some must-read tips to help a new mom navigate the beautiful and brutal fourth trimester.

(click link at the top to read on mothermag.com)

15 Things I’d Want to Tell a New Mother

http://cupofjo.com/2016/05/first-year-baby-breastfeeding-sleep-training/

(click link abouto read the blog post)

A few of my friends had new babies this spring, and while looking into their wide, shell-shocked eyes, I remember what it’s like to have a wriggly tiny life in your arms. Everything seems chaotic and hazy and wonderful and exhausting. Here’s what I’d tell those new mothers…

First off, the first thing I would say — which is 10,000% true — is, IT GETS EASIER.

A reader left the loveliest comment years ago: “Bless you, new moms. If you’re trying, you’re doing a great job.”

Here are a few posts that may help during the first year:

1. Here’s what no one told me about breastfeeding, including a book that saved me.

2. 10 tips for traveling with a baby, like our happiest discovery: sit apart on the plane!

3. Fresh air cures everything and somehow seems to cheer everyone up instantly.

4. Don’t forget to kiss your partner.

5. A baby food epiphany! A pear + a spoon.

6. Breastfeeding in public? You go right ahead, mama.

7. 8 questions to ask a new babysitter. Friends have sometimes lamented that they can’t leave their baby with a stranger. But this person is only a stranger until you meet them. At least in our experience, a nanny will soon feel like a beloved new member of the family.

8. Trust your gut. I love this motherhood mantra from Amy Poehler: “Good for her, not for me.” Plus, a few wonderful parenting books, if you’re in the mood.

9. Work/life balance is not easy! I struggled for years and still don’t have it totally down. But here are a few mothers’ day-to-day stories.

10. How to keep up your marriage after kids. (Loved the comments.)