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It’s been a week an a half since we brought our sweet Caroline home from the hospital. As any new mom will tell you – it hasn’t been easy, but it has been SO worth it. We are more in love with her than we ever could have imagined – and she truly is such a little angel.
First things first – this isn’t her birth story. Although I am trying to write that and get it up on the blog sometime in July. This is more of a life update and something valuable I’ve learned the third time around.
As you can imagine… the past week and a half we’ve been adjusting to life at home as a family of 5. Parts of that have been easy and other parts, not so much. The boys love her and that is so amazing. There is such a difference in behavior with William versus when we brought David home. William is another year older and so sweet to her. Since David idolizes his older brother – we’re very lucky in that anything William does, David must also do. We’re working on lots of gentle kisses, head pats, and getting her pacifier for her when she cries. The most difficult part right now is that it feels like we always have one child left unattended – and more often than not – that child is getting into something they shouldn’t be. 😂
Other than that, I’ve been re-learning how to breastfeed. Every time it’s hard for me. I’m not one of those this is THE most natural thing in the world kind of people, so every time I have to re-teach myself. The first three days we tried not to use a pacifier (omg so dumb) and my nipples bled all day long. Then I was dealing with horrific clogged ducts, cluster feeding, and trying to get on a pumping schedule. Yesterday I was stuck in bed with the chills – as I was certain these clogged ducts were turning to mastitis. Thankfully, I feel like I am on the mend.
I’m am also trying to slowly figure out what clothes fit me and what clothes I can actually wear to breastfeed in public. WHY is this SO hard?!? I plan on doing a post on this once I’ve got it all figured out! 😂
But now to the point of this post – after my week and a half at home, if I had one piece of advice to give to any new mom it would be this: Say no, and take care of yourself.
Why do I say this? Here we go…. because I had an uncomplicated delivery with Caroline, I felt amazing afterward, which was fantastic. I am so thankful for that. But the downside to feeling SO great was that I took too many visitors, I tried to keep the house perfectly spotless (a ridiculous attempt with two small boys), I was trying to get content up for the blog, I was trying to be a good mother and wife, and in the process I totally stopped taking care of myself.
This past week – I had a complete breakdown… physically. Little Miss Caroline is an incredible eater. She’s already 9oz bigger than when we brought her home (score) but that being said, she eats every 1-2 hours all day long (as newborns do). The sleep deprivation alone is enough to drive anyone insane. But I thought to myself – this is my third child – I’ve got this. Ehh not so much.
I was trying to be super mom, super wife and super friend – and in reality I was just being super stupid. I forgot to eat, I forgot to drink water, I forgot to take my prenatals and my placenta pills, and my body just couldn’t keep up. On Tuesday of this week I started to get a horrible migraine, and by Wednesday night I was stuck in bed with clogged ducts in both breasts, shaking from what felt like a fever, and crying because I was in so much pain and because I felt like such a failure.
Joe and I had a good long talk – and basically he reminded me that I can’t be a good mom if I don’t take care of myself first. The first few weeks at home with a newborn are hard – just because of how little sleep you get, and I had severely underestimated how much it was affecting me.
So why am I telling you all of this?!? I promise there is a point. And I think it is a good reminder for all of us – not just new moms. Self care is SO incredibly important, I don’t care who you are. We all need it. You have to find what fills you back up – mentally, physically and spiritually – and do that. Because unless you’re taking care of yourself, you can’t fully take care of anyone else. In my case – I was totally neglecting my basic needs trying to appear as if I had it all together… my body couldn’t take it, and it totally broke down.
So if there is any advice I have for anyone who is a new mom – whether it is your first child or your fifth – be sure you are taking care of yourself, as well as that new baby. Because what your baby and your family really need – is a happy and healthy momma.
The rest, trust me, will all fall into place!