So… baby number three?!

It’s hard to believe I became a Mum almost 5 years ago! And now we are expecting our third child, which has been both surreal and exciting. I feel calm, tired, clucky and relaxed. Life is so busy and we just have to keep moving this time! I remember randomly falling asleep on the couch while playing with Olive while pregnant with Ezra. Feeling pale, drained and so, so exhausted. But this pregnancy, I am pushed to keep going and that’s been ok. Thankfully I have only had “evening sickness” and Steve has been an amazing help – cooking, getting me sparkling water (obsessed!), putting the kids to bed (a lot! They have both become daddy’s kids! I think they know I’ll soon be occupied with a fresh little babe.) This time I feel less concerned about the labour, which engulfed my thoughts for both my first and second children. Instead, I think about what life will be like once Bub is out!? Life is going to be busy, full but we are excited!

I want to share Ezra’s birth story, to shed some light on how different two inductions can be. To also share what happened after his birth as I had such a fear of developing Post Natal Depression again. If you have read Olive’s birth story (which still has Part 3 to come…!) then you know how much I had to work through and a glimpse into a very unwell mind. Normalising my chemical/hormonal response to pregnancy and post partum life was also a big part of the journey!

Each pregnancy has been so different but we have cherished each one, whether it ended too soon, breaking our hearts and hopes, or to the wonderful days we welcomed Olive and Ezra. It has been a strange feeling explaining to Doctor’s that this is our 5th pregnancy. I did not expect them to ask how many accumulative pregnancies we have been through. It unsettled me and made me hold on a little closer to the news of having our third child. Safely cocooned (I hoped!) in my womb, just Steve and I aware that they were there. We had prayed for three children one day, and were so amazed that this was happening now. So grateful for the support and well wishes that have come through since we publicly shared a few weeks ago.

So as I try to find time to write a few more stories before this new little one joins our family, I thought I would share a few things that helped us or would help if you know someone who is expecting a baby. I was asked to write a post about a service we received recently, and it prompted me to think, what else would be helpful once you are thrown in #parenthood! Here are a few thoughts, but feel free to add more in the comments!

  • Cleaning Assistance – I was grateful to receive a gifted 3 hours of domestic house cleaning from Fantastic Services last month. Two of their cleaners came to my home and gave all the rooms, floors, bathrooms and kitchen a good clean! It was so refreshing to come home from some time out with Ezra, and see our house spotless. This would be a great gift idea for a new mum or family who are going through hard times, needing some support and help around the house. You can receive $20 credit to any of their services, using my link. Click here.
  • Food Deliveries – We were so thankful for the amazing meals and late night breastfeeding snacks our wonderful friends made for us when our kids were born. Having a home cooked, nutritious meal was so restorative and was usually my favourite time of the day! Sometimes when we are all busy trying to keep afloat, it may be hard to cook fresh meals for those we want to. So arranging for delivered meals such as Odyssey Lean (Premade healthy meals, I would add a side of extra vegetables or carbohydrate for breastfeeding mothers), Hello Fresh (meal kit delivery service which provides all the ingredients and recipe cards) or even giving them some gift cards for groceries, nappies and petrol can ease some of the expenses.
  • Babysitting for older children or fur kids! – giving the mum or parents some time to rest, hear their own voice or netflix and chill, can be a lifesaver! The early weeks can be relentless and exhausting. So taking their older kids or fur kids out of the house for awhile can be helpful for their mental and physical health.
  • Activities for older children – This was helpful when I had Ezra as Olive was almost 3.5 years old. We had a few new activity books, playdough, toys and dvd’s to keep her occupied if I was busy feeding or trying to rest. Their life has been turned upside down and often they go through their own adjustment period. Keeping a rough routine helped our family and made Olive feel a lot more secure. She knew that there would be times we could play with her, or she would need to do some activities on her own. Also arranging a few playdates, family or friends to come over reminds them that not everything has changed in their world!
  • Date Night – I dream of this and thought I would add it here! This is my wish list too! Giving the parents an opportunity to have a date night, even if it’s uber eats and a netflix movie, will be amazing for their relationship. So much changes in the family dynamics when a child is born. And the parents are often working, occupied with #parentlife and keeping everyone else happy (burped, wiped, fed and changed!) Having a designated date night where you don’t have to cook or you can communicate with each other has been great for us in the past! I think I need to bring this one back for Steve and I!
  • Grocery delivery – All major supermarket chains offer this service and it is the best! I tried it when I had Ezra and found there were alot of great specials online too. You can arrange for delivery or pick up the groceries saving so much time! I have many friends who swear by this service and haven’t set foot in a supermarket for a long time!
  • Home Duties Assistance – I don’t think anyone likes doing house hold chores. My least favourite is folding and putting away washing! It is the final step but I just procrastinate over this one!? (Maybe because I need more storage!!) Giving your new mama friend a helping hand with some house hold run of the mill duties can ease their mind and make them feel like a new woman! Perhaps bring over a big platter of soft cheese and champagne, sit her down and fold washing together 😉
  • Girl’s Date – “Take your mama out all night.” Ok, maybe not all night. (If you don’t know the Scissor Sisters, then ignore that reference, if you do, I’m sorry that the song is running through your head right now.) Give her a sense of normalcy and take her out of the four walls she may have grown accustomed to. Whether it’s a quick trip to get her nails done, a coffee, meal or for a walk, being in the “real world” can put things back into perspective if the newborn bubble has been tiring, painful or overwhelming.
  • Mobile Hairdresser – There are many hairdressers who can visit you at home. This is a great present for a mama who needs a bit of pampering but may not feel she wants to go out or too far from her baby yet!
  • Nap Assistance! – Just let them sleep! Take the baby, assure them that it will be ok and let them sleep for awhile.
17 weeks pregnant! This sassy big sister is going to be helpful…. I hope!

Post Natal Topics

New posts arriving soon…

Topics include:

  • Going through Post Natal Depression, Twice
  • Adjusting to a growing family
  • How to help siblings deal with a new baby on the scene
  • What PND isn’t
  • “This too shall pass” – what is the difference between sadness and depression?
  • Where is God when we are suffering?
  • Recovery and Relapse
  • Small things are still good things
  • Self Care for the busy woman.
Staying in the moment.

Celebrate the small things

Since the time I had Ezra, I have been seeing a Psychologist. This was so beneficial at this stage of change in our family. She guided me with tools I could use to help with anxiety, negative thoughts, depression and self care. It was great to have someone to talk to during those early weeks where I felt like Post Natal Depression (PND) was resurfacing for a second time around. As the weeks went by, I was able to go longer stints without seeing her and it never felt like I was hanging off her. It was such a contrast to when I had PND after Olive’s birth. That was such a different experience and the intensity was a lot stronger.

One chat we had really highlighted to me that I like to achieve things. Having a ‘to do’ list, completing a project, feeling productive, these were all things that gave me a sense of worth. It helped me subconsciously “rate” whether I had a good day or a less worthwhile day (or so I thought!). It changed my mood, it made me feel unmotivated or down if I didn’t have a focus. I had unknowingly been doing this and operated in this way for so long.

So when we got to those newborn weeks of slowing down, focusing on feeding and caring for an unpredictable little human, I started to shut down. I started to get cabin fever and feel the walls closing in. It is a precious time, but also, in many ways, a mundane, repetitive time too! There’s so much sitting, feeding, folding, washing, burping, swaddling, rocking, stumbling! It is sweet, it is tiring, it is different but it is quick in the scheme of things! Although it still felt like a long time when you are sleep deprived!

My sense of worth and achieving something during these early weeks really bothered me. I found it helpful to have small, achievable goals that I could tick off. Such as, I’ll fold the laundry today, change out of my pyjamas, read my bible devotion book, cook dinner/chuck it in the microwave, go for a walk, paint my nails, take a milestone photo, pluck my eyebrows?! Etc. It helped that part of me that desired order, achievement and completion of a task.

I learnt that identifying the small things is important. Because small things are still good things. These small things may have been things I do anyway, things that were essential, simple and necessary. These things were still good things and did not mean the day was wasted or I achieved nothing!

Celebrate the small things because they are still providing balance to how you feel. One negative feeling or situation sometimes can taint all the successes that have happened in the day. But having balance of what makes you feel satisfied, content and accomplished helped me have a sense of peace.

If you identify with this, here are a few steps you can try! Let me know in the comments if this resonates with you or if you have any strategies to recommend!

Steps to Small Things being Good Things

  1. What are the small things? Identify what makes you feel content when they have been achieved, no matter how small.
  2. List them out – speak or write them out.
  3. Aim to complete these tasks in an achievable time frame that you have set.
  4. Celebrate these and know that “Small things can still be good things.”
  5. Glow in the knowledge you don’t have to do everything, be kind to yourself! Survival mode is okay.
  6. Reflect back at your list and see how much you have achieved in the week. Even if you got though one thing, don’t discredit the fact that you are functioning. If you get to the end of the day and the kids are fed, you are in one piece, this is a good outcome! Be grateful for the small and mundane things because you have achieved them despite it feeling like it’s a routine task.

 

Since writing this post in April, I have finished up my meetings with my Psychologist. She was such an integral part of my recovery from PND a second time around. It was great having the practical strategies and routine of seeing her for mental health support. The tools and ideas she educated me on were new and more suitable to me. I feel that it is important you find someone who you “click with” and has methods which resonate with you. Mindfulness, science and learning about the processes behind why something happens really help me! Feel free to speak to your GP if you feel a Psychologist or Mental Health professional would be someone helpful for you.