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
- What are the small things? Identify what makes you feel content when they have been achieved, no matter how small.
- List them out – speak or write them out.
- Aim to complete these tasks in an achievable time frame that you have set.
- Celebrate these and know that “Small things can still be good things.”
- Glow in the knowledge you don’t have to do everything, be kind to yourself! Survival mode is okay.
- 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.