Welcome to the World
I am so excited to share that our little baby girl has arrived! She was right on time (born on her due date) and is perfect in every way! The entire experience has been a positive one and we are all feeling very blessed.
However, I never thought I would say (or write) those words and mean them as much as I do now. For those out there who are currently pregnant or just had a baby and are feeling down about things, you are not alone. After my first baby was born, I resented those words every time I heard someone say them. How can people be so happy about the entire experience? I figured they were just lying.
When I had our son, it was a freezing cold January, in the middle of an Iowa winter and my husband went back to work the day after I got home from the hospital. Although labor went well, I had pre-eclampsia and on meds that made me feel like I was in a daze even after leaving the hospital. It was terrifying and I had never felt more isolated than I did then. Our house was still in the middle of remodeling and I would call it a “perfect storm” for postpartum anxiety and depression. However, I thought that was normal – it was my first baby and I had nothing to compare my experience with. I thought that’s just the way it was for everyone. Not true! Here are a few links to information on postpartum depression and anxiety and ways to get help for it. (Information about Post-Partum Depression) The nurses told me that the “baby blues” should last 2 weeks at the most, anything beyond that is probably PPD.
I want to tell you that it CAN get better. I was a nervous wreck through most of my second pregnancy thinking that it would be an exact repeat of the first time, but I was shocked to have a completely different experience this time around. I told my husband, I feel like this is how it is “supposed” to feel after you have a baby. I feel like I have my body back (a relief) and I’m in awe of how beautiful our baby girl is. I love holding her and spending time bonding with her. It has also made me realize how big LB has gotten (in comparison to how tiny he started out) and has me questioning how he ever grew up so fast. He is such a great little boy and I am proud to have him as my son.
With baby #2, the sleepless nights aren’t as traumatic as they seemed with LB, and even though she doesn’t sleep well, I’ve stopped blaming myself for it. This time around, I’ve stopped beating myself up about the messy house, piles of laundry and dirty floors. My brain isn’t in a cloud of worry and doubt the way it was after LB was born. It has been a very different and uplifting experience and I’m feeling vey grateful for every second of it.
While there is always a time of healing and adapting after a baby is born, it is important to have patience with your body and take time to relax and adjust to the changes that have taken place. One of the biggest changes for me is to stop trying to be the “perfect” parent, and accepting that it’s ok to have a messy house, unfinished projects, and lowering my daily expectations has actually greatly improved my mindset.
This past weekend, as I was talking to a friend, something occurred to me. We cannot teach our children to be perfect – because we ourselves are not perfect. But we can teach our children how to fix mistakes, apologize, forgive others and to learn from the mistakes. Sometimes I correct myself in front of my son, change my mind and apologize to him when I screw up (which is often). I wonder if I should be doing that. Is it bad for me to admit that I am wrong, or change my mind and not be firm on a decision I’ve made in front of my almost 3 year old? But after talking to my friend, I realized it is more important to teach my kids that no one is perfect and that it is okay. What isn’t okay is to think we are perfect or hold ourselves to unrealistic standards of “perfection”. We are all human and that is what makes this world great.
So, to all the parents out there, happy “adult-ing” and remember to give yourself some grace and take time to relax. Don’t beat yourself up over the un-done “To Do List” and remember that being perfect isn’t the goal, but that the important lessons are learned in the mistakes.