Pregnancy Exhaustion, Post Natal Exhaustion
When a new mother is suffering from post natal exhaustion, it is important that she saves what energy she has to care for herself and her new baby. She needs to prioritize so that those things, that are not so important in the first few months after the birth of her new baby, can fall away. In other words, she needs a postpartum plan. The immediate family, extended family, neighbors and even hired help can be included in this plan:
• The secret of survival during this time is low expectations and setting realistic goals. The baby needs to be fed and changed as often as necessary and the new mother needs to eat, sleep and shower whenever she needs to.
• Preparing meals, cleaning the house and entertaining guests are not high up on such a plan.
• Friends and relatives often ask what they can do to help and this is your chance to enlist such help and most people are only too happy to give assistance. Suggestions are looking after the baby while you take a break, preparing the odd meal for you or carrying out a household chore which has been neglected.
• You need to limit the amount of visitors just dropping in or who will need entertaining. If friends and relations come and visit, they must be the ones who are going to help out.
• Enlist the help of your husband or partner too. He can take turns with a night feed sometimes either with a bottle of formula or breast milk which you can express earlier on. An uninterrupted night’s sleep from time to time will make a big difference. There are many other ways your husband or partner can help out as well. Sometimes they may feel pushed aside as the new mother tends to the needs of the baby so it is important that they are actively involved in their new baby’s life and complimented on their efforts.
• As soon as you have established some sort of routing, try to schedule at least one activity per day just for you. This could be a massage, time to read a book or a good soaking in the tub.
• If your husband or partner is working hard and involved with baby care, then he also needs some time off on a regular basis even if it is just watching a game with a couple of friends.
• Then as a couple, you need to get back in to the habit of just having some time together – try to make a weekly “date” that you do something together while someone else is minding your baby. This time together alone is an important ingredient to a lasting marriage or partnership.
• Again, once you are feeling more rested and confident, take time to interact with your girlfriends once more and especially those who also have babies or young children. They can be a tremendous source of information and help and you can swap hints and experiences.
• Join a mothers and babies group so that you can widen your circle of friends. You also absorb new ideas on baby care which can only be to the advantage of both you and your baby. Your baby learns to socialize with others of his age.
Having a baby is an important milestone in your life and you will want to look back on those early years with fondness and not just as a time of always feeling too tired to cope. So don’t be shy to enlist the help of those around you to help you get through.