I am yet another parent who is trying so SO hard to make healthier changes for myself so that I can be a better wife & mother. For the past year, I’ve experienced PPD & PPA, which I’m happy to say is now in remission (is that even the right word for it??). I believe that the turning point in my recovery was my decision to take part in the Live a Better Life in 30 Days Challenge (which I’ve posted about briefly here and here).
The Challenge caused me to think, and I mean REALLY think, about my values, my goals, and my ideal life. I am not sure whether I’d ever given much deep thought to these things. Before the Challenge, I had been too busy with work, chores, and the whole nine yards that I’ve never allowed myself the luxury of pausing to drum up goals. My goals included changing a diaper without Jax squirming off the changing table, or getting to work on time in the morning! Nobody told me how important it is to have goals just for myself!
Because the Challenge asked me to think about these things for about 45 minutes daily, I began to focus on myself for a part of each day, which is something that hadn’t happened since the birth of my son in 2009. I came up with some goals just for myself (i.e., they’re not baby-related), and boy did it feel good. One of which was to start blogging! I chimed in on interesting discussions on Twitter and met some great new people. I spend more time in the bubble bath (my favorite thing to do, especially when feeling stressed out). I take long, calming, deep breaths when I am starting to spiral into anxiety or worry. All of these things have helped me become a happier mother.
I’m now a firm believer that self-care is an important step in recovering from any mood disorder, especially a postpartum one when a woman’s life suddenly has become all about caring for another person first and foremost. So to coincide with my new daily activity of thinking about my ideal life and how to get there, I made a few physical changes as well:
First, I began taking an omega 3 supplement because of the link to improved mood. Then, I started to take walks with Jax after work because of the link between sunlight and activity to improved mood, not to mention increased vitamin D production for both me and Jax. While I implemented those two changes, I also decided to also switch my makeup & bath products to natural or organic instead of the chemical-laden stuff I’d used for years. I’d already been using natural products on Jax, so why not look after my own skin just as well? And afterall, I am breastfeeding and am conscious of everything that goes into my body, why not onto my body! I wish the lightbulb had gone off over my head sooner!
I’ve found that the effects of taking care of my own mental and physical health through the changes I’ve made so far has had an effect on my whole family in that I’m a happier person. And we all know that saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” In addition, Jax is really loving our little walks through the park. He loves to pick up leaves—and then shred them to pieces, but hey at least he’s admiring their beauty first!
This post is part of the Attachment Parenting Month blog carnival, hosted by Attachment Parenting International. Learn more about how you can keep your children “Full of Love” by visiting API Speaks, the blog of Attachment Parenting International.