Having a baby is well…a unique process. If I could describe it in one phrase I would say that it is an emotional roller coaster because it is the perfect storm of everything from anxiety to overwhelming happiness. Although it was one of the best experiences looking back on, being pregnant really wasn’t my thing. It’s weird and I know I am not the only one who feels this way but looking back at pregnancy it really wasn’t that bad…I mean don’t get me wrong, I was miserable but thinking back on it pregnancy seemed quick and short lived. I guess that is how you end up with more than one baby because you literally forget how bad it was the minute that sweet baby is in your arms. (again, my opinion…some of my friends LOVED being pregnant)
One thing that I was really nervous about after having a baby was feeling like my ‘old’ self again. Yes, I know I will never completely feel like my old self again because so much has changed but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel like a ‘new old self’. I have said this before and I will say it again but if you do not take care of yourself, it is hard to take care of others.
When I was pregnant I cannot tell you how many people said “enjoy your sleep now”, “your life is really going to change” “enjoy dinner just the two of you” “your clothes will never fit the same” and more phrases like that that I won’t bore you with today. Honestly, it was really discouraging to hear all of that. When someone says “congratulations, children really are the best things ever but enjoy your life now because BOY will it be different” it’s almost discouraging. I will say one pro to people following their congratulations with unsolicited one liners was that it really set my expectations pretty low as far as what to expect. I honestly had anxiety that my entire world would change, for the worst.
In fear of everything going downhill after Ralph arrived, I made sure to make a list of things that I could do for myself after he arrived to feel like my (new) old self again. This list consisted of everything from try and work out at least once a week, spend alone time with Wade, to make yourself get dressed during the day. I know these items may sound silly and they really did make me feel superficial writing them down but by writing a list of ‘personal goals’ post baby, I can honestly say that I think it helped recover faster and really enjoy my new normal.
From the get go, I made myself promise that regardless of how tired I was, I HAD to get up, shower and put make up on (at least mascara). For me, looking and feeling clean makes me automatically feel better. I remember (slowly) walking to the shower in the hospital room and as painful as that first shower was post Ralph, it was the best shower I have ever taken. I have kept up with this getting dressed/shower goal since the baby was born and it really does help me start even my most tired days!
Another thing that has been a HUGE part of me feeling like my new old self again is working out. It is so nice to be able to take an hour 3-4 times a week and just turn my brain off. I don’t think about Ralph, I don’t think about errands that I have to run or chores I need to complete around the house..it’s just a time where I can turn off and sweat. Even though I am not able to just head to a work out whenever I feel like it anymore, I just plan ahead and with a little bit of scheduling, I am able to get a work out in a few times a week. I really do encourage you to try and at least take an hour a week to just remove yourself. It really is amazing how recharged you feel after you are done!
Going to out dinner with Wade has always been something we did all the time (literally because we both are not into cooking). We are very blessed to be able to have flexible schedules that allow us to spend quite a bit of time together and I knew after the baby that alone time would be a bit more limited. Now our old dinner time consists of play time and even though we both love this new change we do make time just for the two of us, which I think is really important. I once got a very aggressive message from a follower saying that I should be at home with my baby. Well, it was 10 pm on a Saturday, I was out with my husband…oh and I had put my baby to bed 3 hours before. I am still confused by that message because I felt like she was implying that I should be sitting by my sleeping babies bedside and not spending time with my husband…People are unique.
Sleep is something that I was really afraid that I would never have again. I have no idea how but Ralph has been such a great baby, although this fear was put to rest when he started sleeping through the night at 6 1/2 weeks I would be lying if I said that I was not incredibly nervous that first night in the hospital when he was up ALL NIGHT. One thing I learned early on was that if I was tired and the baby was sleeping, I needed to sleep. These hour or two power naps (even 30 minutes sometimes) that would happen every so often really recharged me and helped me be more present.
I know I have rambled a lot in this post but I really just want to get the point across that your life is NOT over after you have a baby. Yes, it is different, it takes more planning and scheduling in advance but it is in no way over. You can still go out with your husband, you can still catch the occasional work out class and you will fit back into your jeans (I promise). Having a baby is really the most wonderful thing and to all those girls who have gotten the same one liners that I got about your life being over after a baby, just know that it is not.
The last 4 months I have gotten to know my new old self and I can honestly say I’m better. Ralph has made me better and he has made our lives more amazing than we ever thought possible. And yes, it took about 7-9 weeks for me to feel like my new old self but once that day hit (and those high rise jeans fit again..joking..well kind of), I had never felt better. I’m sure lots of you have tips and tricks for how to feel like your new old self after you have a baby and I would love to hear them. Remember, these are things that worked for me, everyone does things differently.
images by sukilynn