Here we are, half a year later, 6 months postpartum! Sometimes it feels like its been 30 seconds and sometimes like its been 30 years. Do you all remember when I wrote my 3rd month reflection and talked about how I believed the hype on how the first three months were the hardest being the “fourth trimester” and all?
Yes, it was hard healing and figuring out life with a teeny baby…
But how come no one told me about the fourth month?!?!
Fearsome Fourth Month
I remember when it started. We went to a park by the beach on a beautiful sunny day and met up with friends. I packed muffins I had just made and had even straightened my hair because I intended on taking cute pictures of us all. Dante had other plans. He was a screaming crying hot mess that made the nice family on vacation sitting next to us get up and move. I tried every single thing I could before feeling defeated and going home.
That was the first time I experienced Dante being inconsolable. No amount of nursing, burping, bouncing, singing, diaper changes, silly noises – NOTHING – worked. We endlessly checked over his body for irritation, clothes fitting, possible mommy hairs wrapping him and everything possible. It went on for a good four or five weeks. My husband and I went through checklists of could he be this or that and our google search history had things like “high needs baby” on it.
It got better somewhere around Dante turning five months and we’ve been on an uphill slope ever since. Now I get why its the biggest chapter in the Wonder Weeks book. But GOOD LORD. Month four is the reason I laugh when people ask if I’m planning on having more kids.
I had Postpartum Anxiety
Recently I’ve been feeling a lot better about pretty much everything. As the anxiety lessens I realize how much it affected me for months.
I knew the panic, stress and horrible recurring thoughts weren’t me. When I talked to people about it I got a lot of “well its not “postpartum depression” and being “worried about your baby” was “normal””. I knew it wasn’t normal for me but I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.
I thought hey, I could still manage it so it wasn’t bad enough, right?
It wasn’t every day so it wasn’t bad enough, right?
New parents are super stressed and this is part of that, right?
Looking back I know I was wrong. What level of bad would be “bad enough”? I was suffering. I avoided everyday things that gave me anxiety like leaving Dante with my super capable husband for 5 minutes and taking a shower or driving with Dante in the car. When I talked myself into something like driving I would be plagued with horrifying visions and the need to check that Dante was breathing every 30 seconds. I knew it was irrational but that didn’t help.
My husband is and was super supportive and helped me so much. He has general anxiety so he knew a lot about how to help me when I was feeling panicked or if I couldn’t shake terrible thoughts. Talking about it with friends and family helped. Forcing myself to do things that gave me anxiety could go either way. Not getting enough sleep or days where Dante cried a lot made it worse so I would always try to get enough sleep and keep Dante as happy as possible – not good for days where he was inconsolable.
I’d like to think that my talking about it brings awareness to any other mom experiencing it. If you have any question that you might be experiencing postpartum anxiety, seek help. Looking at it now, I think I should have talked to my doctor about it. I don’t know how it would have been different if I did or if I would have gotten any kind of treatment…especially since my health insurance ended when I wasn’t ready to go back to work.
I am Taking Back My Joy
I’ve always loved Dante so deeply. But as moms know, loving a tiny screaming needy being is not the same as enjoying them. There were a lot of really trying days back to back and I realized how much I was just not enjoying a lot of the day. I found myself just wishing for the baby age to be over because I just wanted to do other things. I was fed up with how stuck I felt and I knew Dante wasn’t going to magically be years older over night.
My mindset was still just making it through – survival mode. It was then I realized that I wasn’t going to find any joy in just making it through and that I needed to do the things I wanted to do without waiting around for time to pass.
Time is going to pass either way so I’m determined not to live in survival mode – but in thrive mode.
I got a planner and I’ve been filling it up with things I want to do. Its been a real game changer.
Now that I am filling my days up with happier time, I have a lot more joy to share. I am absolutely IN LOVE with making Dante laugh! Its the greatest thing!! He loves silly noises so we make them all day. He loves peek-a-boo but we play the Filipino version. It sounds like “Eeeeek” building up suspense and then “Bah” when you pop out. He also loves our dogs and its hilarious watching him squeal and bounce in excitement when he sees them. The baby swings at the park are his favorite, especially when we go with friends.
He seems to be so intelligently taking it all in. I am so grateful to have this happy, healthy, curious baby. He gives me the chin sucking version of baby kisses and holds his arms out towards me and my momma heart just melts. The more I can see his attachment to me and the more he interacts with me the more I am just overcome with love.
I want to know, what are you doing to keep yourself thriving instead of just surviving? Was it 6 months postpartum or less or even longer?
Until next time, as always,
I wish you Happy Momming!