I've been up since 4am. I'm covered in milk stains, my house is a mess, and I've got a long day ahead with a kid who won't nap.
I have no idea how the hell I'm going to make it through the damn day.
Here's the deal though. Finnegan wakes up around 4am and falls back asleep immediately after he's been changed and fed. I, however, immediately start scrolling through my feeds, making to-do lists on my phone, googling random shit that I've been putting off... you get the idea. Somehow it's wired in my brain now that as soon as he's asleep it's time for me to work. Then the anxiety of how little sleep I'm getting sets in. Then the fear that Finnegan isn't getting enough brain stimulation, or too much brain stimulation, should he be eating more varied solids, did I tell him I loved him enough today.... AAAAAHHHHH!!!
We're told that "mom guilt" is now normal and it's okay to feel like a crazy person. This acceptance is not healthy, and gets us absolutely nowhere.
One of the teachers of my nutrition course, Jenny Burrell, says it best, "When mom is doing poorly, the whole ship is going down."
I think we should give up the guilt, to start.
Postpartum anxiety can be caused by many things. Lack of support, increased cortisol, hormonal imbalances remaining from birth, lack of sleep, lack of quality nutrition, and poor gut health. If you're like me, and you've always had anxiety, it can become much, much worse.
So let's take the weekend off.
Here's what I'm thinking, this weekend I want you to start a little note in your phone and title it "shit I'm not going to think about". I'll do this with you and report back.
Rumination (allowing thoughts to fester and steep around in your brain) is one of the key signs of anxiety and depression. When we start to focus on negative thoughts over and over, they start to take over. (I swear I'm not stealing this from some shitty Pinterest board, click here for more information on rumination and mental health.) Journaling can be a great way to get these thoughts out of your head and on to paper. Sometimes seeing your thoughts penned out can show you just how silly they are and not to take them seriously, and they can also highlight deeper fears so you can address them head on. I'm inviting you to do this with me for the next couple days.
Now, I'm already starting to beat myself about being on my phone around my kid (one of my biggest pet peeves), so I'll start with that. But no one is going to cart around a pen and paper all weekend. There's seriously no room left in my damn diaper bag, and I'm pretty sure yours is the same.
When you feel an anxious thought or that dreaded "mom guilt", write it down. Then write down what actually happened or add some logic to it.
For example, I have a deep fear of dropping my kid. Every time I see a flight of stairs I cringe. So, when I have the "I could drop the baby" though, I could write, "I didn't drop the baby, and I've never dropped the baby". Phew.
If you start to notice a pattern and some of these thoughts on paper seem very unlike you, please go see someone. Again, we are at the helm of the ship. It's time we take care of ourselves on a normal, daily basis.
So, rather than focusing on that never-ending checklist and mom guilt, I'm taking the damn weekend off.
Please share your thoughts and experiences below or with me on my Facebook page (facebook.com/themomtrainer).