Helping Your Wife Through Postpartum Depression

 

I looked in the mirror and wanted to crawl under a rock. I hated the way my body looked, I hated how I felt, and I hated that I felt so empty and unhappy. The little sleep I was getting was probably part of it, but I was unaware that these feelings were really from Postpartum Depression. For six months, I struggled, refusing to take medication because I was nursing my daughter and the fear of hurting her with medicine was paralyzing. I was miserable and my husband couldn’t understand why I was unhappy. Finally, the fog started to clear and I didn’t feel so empty and sad anymore, but I wish I would have been wiser about what I could have done to make those first six months with my lovey baby better because most of it is still a blur.

 
 

Having a baby can be a crazy ride, and we were wiser with my son and started on medication before we left the hospital because I was already starting to feel the baby blues before he was born. However, I still was feeling how I felt the first time around and one night I had a meltdown. Right in the middle of our new kitchen, in our new house, with a new baby, I lost it. I started to cry as my husband tried to figure out what was wrong. I explained that I hated my body and I just wanted to hide under the soft covers until I felt better. Luckily we went into the doctor for my six week appointment a few days later and my husband and I explained how I felt to my OBGYN. She hugged me and said that she sees people all day that say the same thing and that I was not alone. I was prescribed a little higher dose and I started to feel better. This is not just something that can happen with your first child, it can show up, or not show up, with every pregnancy.

 
 

Nevertheless, those days of being in a fog of sadness and dismay, was not just difficult for me, but for my husband as well. As a husband, it is important to be there for your wife and to let her know how important she is. Here are some ways to help drive that home. You may have to tell her she is beautiful and that you love her a million times before you see a glimmer of it sinking in, but keep on keeping on. Remember that the adorable baby you brought home needs her every second and the puke, poop, and pee that she wears much of the day does not make her feel glamorous.

 
 

1. Remind her that there is no super mom
As women we tend to compare ourselves to EVERYONE else and the media and social media doesn’t help that feeling. There is always that mom who seems to take her kids to every event, have a great marriage, and look amazing all of the time. Remind your wife that it is easy to make life look a certain way on social media and that most people will not post the poop covered sheets the baby just managed to cover.

 
 
2. Tell her she is loved
We forget really easily. I remember when I first had our son and my husband was working late how I felt like he didn’t love me because he never seemed to have time for me now. Of course that wasn’t the case at all, he was just tired from working so many hours, but that is how I felt no matter how unreasonable it sounds now. Keep telling her all the time and take a few extra moments to show her affection that is not from a screaming infant or toddler crawling all over her.

 
 
3. Keep an eye on her emotions and how she is doing
Most women I have talked to are afraid to admit they are depressed. I was so afraid that people would think I was crazy for saying I was depressed because I really thought that being a mom was easy and that I could do it all. If your wife seems to be down all the time or mentions wanting to hurt herself or others talk to her about seeing her OBGYN. There is no shame in taking medication. Hormones are crazy, they have to get back into balance after you have a baby, and this can be hard sometimes. Talking to her OBGYN will give you both a good idea of the options and she may just need to talk to someone.

 
 
4. Make sure she has time to be alone
One of the things that I wish I would have been better at is finding time for myself. I always felt like the kids needed me, the house was dirty, etc, etc, etc. And I would get bitter when my husband had his time away at night to decompress from work. I was working too! Why didn’t I get a break! Well to be honest, I was never taking a break. I had to realize that the house would always need something done and that it was okay to let my husband take the reigns and figure out how to soothe a crying baby and toddler at the same time. Your wife may need you to help her see that though. Give her the keys to the car and tell her to go somewhere she enjoys. When we didn’t have a lot of money just going to the store to get groceries for the week alone was refreshing! Help her find an outlet like going to the gym, getting groceries, or taking a class at night once a week.

 
 

 
 

5. Take up a few more chores
If there is one thing on this list you should do it is this one. Please, for your wife, your kids, and your marriage, help your wife more around the house. We know you go to work, we know you are tired, we know the last thing you want to do is have more work when you come home, but she is going to need more help now that there is a baby around. Whether your wife works, stays at home, or works from home she is still working all day too. When we first got married my husband had two jobs take out the trash and clean the bathroom. Now that we have kids he helps in whatever ways he can. Baby has a dirty diaper? Change it and empty the diaper pail. The laundry is piling up? Start a load of laundry. The littlest things like emptying or filling the dishwasher can make a world of difference and it will make the weight of being a mom and being depressed a little lighter.

 
 

cake-pops-693645_1920

 
 
6. Make time for date nights
This one was really hard for us because we didn’t live close to family and a babysitter is expensive! Try to swap with a friend, you watch their kids and they can watch yours. It’s a win-win because two couples get a date night without the expense of a sitter. You can also put the kids to bed early. We did this with our first two because both times we had recently moved and knew no one to ask to babysit. Yes, this is not the most glamorous of dates, but you don’t have to worry about dressing up and you can have dessert first. ☺

 
 
7. Finally, write her notes
There is something about being able to read that someone loves you again and again, especially on the bad days. My husband wrote one that on the front says, “Who is Kabrina?” and on the back he wrote what makes me, me, like beautiful, good mom, great wife, etc. We also got a cute box from Michaels that we put love notes in to each other. Here is a similar one on Amazon as well as a set of three. I love that they look like books! Classy right?

 
 

 
 

This is a very joyous, but difficult time for a family. You are adjusting to a new person in your lives, whether it is the first or fourth, give yourself grace. You are doing great! Encourage your wife as she adjusts physically, emotionally, and mentally. Before you know it you will have your groove back and be looking back thankful that you were there for each other!

Let me know what you have found helpful and any other ideas that you have for helping your wife, or that helped you through depression.

 

How to be Pregnant with a Toddler Under Two and Survive

 

 

Let’s start with the obvious, while you are throwing up and have a little person watching you gibbering things you don’t understand; pregnancy is A LOT harder the second time around.

With your first child, you read the cute advice people blogged about sleeping when you could, having an excuse to not do anything strenuous, and getting to eat whatever you want for two and blaming it on the adorable little human growing inside your belly.

Well, as I am sure you are finding out, sleeping is over rated (even though you could collapse with pregnancy and toddler exhaustion), having a toddler and picking them up or walking them up and down stairs IS strenuous, and whenever you have food in front of you most of it goes to the toddler who acts like you haven’t fed them in a week, even though they ate twenty minutes ago. Being a Mommy now seems more difficult than ever, so how can you survive it?

baby-1151348_1920

1. Put your toddler to bed early.

This may sound like obvious advice as well as difficult if your little one enjoys staying up late, but try it. Start by starting bedtime a half hour earlier every three nights until you get to the desired time. Before we were married, my husband and I were being mentored by a couple with three kids. When 7pm rolled around, all three were in bed and we were like, “Man, this is an early bedtime!” We found out though, that it can save your sanity, give you some much needed time alone to rest or go to the bathroom by yourself (THAT NEVER HAPPENS!), and help your marriage. And, guess what? Our little girl is in bed by 6:30pm every night!

2. When you have some alone time, don’t feel like you need to make the house look good.

If you are anything like me, you are reading this blog to find ways to be the most productive you can with the little energy and time you possess. However, you have to remember that you do have a lot less energy right now.

Give yourself a break!

I know there are dishes in the sink and the laundry looks like it may never end, but slow down! When that new bundle of preciousness pops out, you are going to get even less done so learn this lesson now, enjoy the moments with your toddler because the laundry and dishes will always be there.

Write yourself a list of things you want to accomplish, but don’t expect them to get done all in one day. Set a goal to get two reasonably sized tasks done during the day and if you get more done than two give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t stress over it.

Your husband and your toddler love you and, honestly, probably don’t mind the mess they are making anyways. (And if hubby does mind, hand him the list and he can check off a few for you. Give and take right?) TAKE A BREAK and do what helps you relax. You still are carrying another baby, even though you have more to do this time.

3. Give your husband chores.

My husband works A LOT, so when we got pregnant while nursing and on birth control, I didn’t want him to feel like coming home meant more work.

So I did EVERYTHING and if something went by the wayside, like spending enough time with my toddler, I felt like the worst person on the planet.

My house was clean, but my little girl went to bed without having the quality time she needed from Mommy and Daddy didn’t get home until after she was asleep. The honest truth is, you got into this together and you have to work together. That is marriage! Love each other, be there for each other, and help each other with what needs to get done because if you don’t someone is always going to either be bitter because they do everything or upset because the, visible never ending, mess of having a little kid is always there.

After a long conversation on what we both wanted to see or needed done, my husband and I agreed that I focus on dishes and laundry and he takes out the trash and cleans the bathroom while we share vacuuming duty. Let me tell you though, just because your jobs get done doesn’t mean the bathroom will get cleaned every week (or that it got clean once in four months) and you have to let it go and tell your husband when there are no bowls to wash one. ☺

woman-423608_19204. Whether you work or stay home, get out by yourself, even if only for a few minutes.

Being a mostly stay-at-home mom with a part-time (and a half) job, I am right in the middle of both worlds so I understand that there seems to be no time no matter which world you are in.

However, you need a moment where you don’t have to meet a deadline and you don’t have a toddler on your leg. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for pampering (we sure didn’t), treat yourself to coffee or a meal at a restaurant by yourself or with a close friend so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

I have been really bad about this one, so I am preaching to the choir, but I love to go to Starbucks or the craft store and either get myself a coffee/tea or buy some fun craft I want to try during my “I put my baby to sleep early time” (or both).

Pampering yourself with little things doesn’t have to be pricey. Be wise about your budget, but put a little money aside for you and your husband for spending money each month (Read my post on how to have fun on a small budget here). Even if you only get $10 a piece, that is enough for coffee or a meal with a friend.

brushing-teeth-787630_1920

5. Start teaching your toddler small ways to help and take care of themselves.

I know that sweet toddler was JUST a baby and is still your baby, but this will serve you well now and when you are feeding your new baby ALL THE TIME. We started our daughter off watching Daniel Tiger, which is a blessing from heaven!

They have cute songs about being a big helper and what it is like having a new baby come into the family. (Seriously, watch this clip and buy the DVD about his baby coming here. You can thank me later.)

At first we sang the songs together and when my daughter did a task that we asked like placing a stuffed toy in her toy box or not shutting the door, we praised her. Soon we added in little plastic drawers so that she could learn that everything has a place, and then we showed her where those places were. This does not happen over night and will take months of patients, but when your toddler can put all her dolls in the doll drawer and can find the blocks she is in love with you will be grateful. (If you would like to see our set-up click here.)

If you have been a Mommy to a small toddler while pregnant or are in the swing of it what would you suggest? Did you try any of or all of the suggestions above? Did they work for you? I love hearing what worked and what didn’t and any other opinion or advice you have so always feel free to comment or contact me.

 

happy mommying

 

Having Fun on a Small Budget

 

Doing anything when you are married with little ones can be a challenge. Do we get a sitter? Do we take them with us? What can we even do?
 
Going out to eat or doing an activity like bowling can get expensive fast, especially when you have to pay someone to watch your little bundle of joy. My husband and I have seen some really dark days of no dates and screaming kids in restaurants when we tried.
 
We had NO budging room for a sitter and finding a reliable one was a whole other problem so we ended up bringing our toddler along with us and later a baby and a toddler. This made for some interesting no talking, feeding the kids, quick date nights that I felt more exhausted then relaxed from.
 
We soon learned that we had to start doing something different. Here are some of the things that we changed about dates that helped us have a moment or two to connect together.
 
autumn-22012_1920

1. If you can get your baby or toddler to nap at a certain time go on your date then! We figured this one out by accident when our daughter was a little over one. After no dates for months we finally decided to give it a try. We pulled into the restaurant parking lot and our baby was asleep! I was upset because I thought she would wake up and be grumpy from not getting enough sleep. But, my husband has the special touch, and managed to get her out of her car seat and into the stroller that we covered with a blanket (because people are nosy and they don’t care if they wake the baby). We walked in were seated, ate our whole meal with no peep from our little girl. I literally cried tears of joy because we finally had some time to talk and eat like we used to and we put her back in the car with her still asleep! I know this won’t happen every time, but if it works for you it is wonderful!

 
2. If you live close to relatives or friends, Let Them Babysit Having a family member watch your baby is great and free. If you don’t live close see if your other Mommy friends would be willing to baby swap. You take their baby for a few hours one day and they take your baby for a few hours another day. That way two Mommies and Daddies get a date night and your little one gets a play date.

dollar-941246_1920
 
3. Set aside a budget for eating out/dates This was super important for us because we had to use every dollar to its full potential. Every pay check I would pull $25 from our account and place it in an envelope. If we got pizza one night or if my husband had to have a frosty, it came out of that. It makes you very aware of how easy it is to bust through money going out when it’s in cash, but being young and poor we had to be careful not to use our grocery money to eat out someplace. This meant that many months we only had enough money for one date night, this is where you have to be creative.

 
4. Make a date night at home Ready to be creative? Try picking a theme, like Paris, and make food that you would not normally make for the theme. My husband loves to do this one because we can put the baby to bed have dinner and have some quite time alone. When we were first married, and really had no money, my husband found a twist on a chicken dinner and cooked it, making the plates all pretty like a restaurant would and we sat and had a really good meal together.

 
5. Save change and any tips in a piggy bank You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”, well the same is true for money. We have a piggy bank on a shelf in our room that I place any change I find around the car or in the laundry in. After a few months dump it out and see what you have. We had a time when I would place any money I had in there and one month we were in a pinch. I opened the jar and found a couple $20 bills and my husband and I were able to take care of our bills and still have a nice date together. So those pennies add up and go a long way!

 

What have you done to spend time with your spouse on a small budget? Did you find a fun way from the suggestions above? Let me know!

 

happy mommying

Enjoy this blog? Share us with your friends!

Follow us on Facebook!
Follow us on Facebook!
Pinning Party!
Pinning Party!
Hit us up on Instagram!
RSS because missing something would mean an SOS!
Follow by Email