I knew that it was important to anticipate I may have some baby blues with #4 maybe even postpartum depression. With my third pregnancy, I definitely experienced some postpartum depression. You would think since I am a nurse practitioner I would have recognized the signs early and sought help but for some reason when it is happening to you, your clinical judgement is altered. Nevermind the plunging hormones that color everything during that postpartum phase so seeing anything objectively is damn near impossible. Anyway, I thought I would anticipate that with this baby there may be some baby blues at the very least and hopefully with some proactive thinking and planning maybe it would not spiral so out
of control like last time.
I had heard about mindfulness, saw a few magazines in the grocery store but didn't really dive into what all it was about. After all these people didn't really "look like me." Did they even have kids? But inspire of that I decided to find a guided meditation online and give it a try. I did a 10 min meditation the week before I had the baby so I was not at all a regular with the whole meditation thing. I remember I liked taking that time out for myself so I would do something similar when I got home even for a few minutes a day. So the plan was to do a breathing exercise for about 5 minutes twice a day sometime during the day. I really didn't think that doing these basic exercises would do anything to change my mood and it didn't really. But it was very life changing to say the least.
During that first week home I did some mindful breathing exercises for just 5 minutes. I laid flat on my back with one hand on my post baby pooch and the other on my chest. I focused on my breathing. The rise and fall of my abdomen, the way by hands felt against my stomach and chest as I breathed going deeper with the breath and sometimes just allowing the breath to be naturally how it was. Not trying to control anything. Just brining awareness to my stomach and breath. It's like I became tuned in to my body and razor focused on how everything in my core was feeling. I became more curious with the minute twinges and sensations I felt with each breath. Each breath also brought with it a deep appreciation for the task my body had undertook. Nourishing and bringing forth a child. The amount of energy expended to get that baby into this world was moving to me. Every time my mind started to wonder I focused back to the breath and my core. These exercises really helped me during that 6 week time frame after I came home from the hospital. Although I was super sleep deprived, after during the mindfulness meditation I was able to do things with more clarity of thought and more importantly approached my recovery with so much self compassion. The mood swings were there, the fatigue was there, the pain was there, the frustration was there and love was there. I gave myself permission to feel it all. Not resisting but embracing and that mindset made all the difference for me.