Adjusting with a Newborn

How do you even get through the day, let alone make time for self-care when you have a toddler and a newborn?

I’m thinking of my dear sister-in-law right now who had her second at the end of February and is adjusting to life with two little girls (her oldest is 2 1/2)…….and I’m remembering my journey since our two children are the same spacing.

I personally had a very hard time with a newborn and 2yo at the same time. Everything was chaos and I could barely go to the bathroom by myself, let alone take a shower.I guess our circumstances weren’t the norm either, but I think the adjustment is hard for anyone. Some of us have an easier time letting things go and going with the flow………these are lessons I’m still learning! And so…….an abreviated version of our story below with lessons I learned.

  • Very long story short but after our son was born, I had 2 miscarriages and then started having complications at 5 weeks gestation with my 4th pregnancy. I had chronic abruption & placenta previa with constant bleeding & clotting…. I made it about 7 months and was on bedrest for over 100 days and in a hospital bed for 2 1/2 months – complete misery for a control freak with a 2 year old son wondering where mommy was.
  • Our daughter was a miracle baby from the beginning (although they’re all miracles!) And even 2 months early and 4lbs, she seemed to be doing great. She was only in the NICU 2 wks, then came home on oxygen and after a nerve-wrecking 2 weeks, she was readmitted to Children’s Hospital because of low O2 saturation even on oxygen. It was awful…to see this fragile little newborn go through extensive testing and eventually a lung biopsy to confirm a rare diagnosis: Pulmonary Interstitial Glycogenosis.
  • …..But she’s a fighter – as she proved by making it through my traumatic pregnancy. The abnormal cells in the lungs seemed to go away with time, supplemental oxygen and high-dose monthly steroid treatments. She was free and clear of wires, treatments and oxygen at 8 months old and she’s our constant reminder that miracles are possible.

But what I didn’t expect was the difficult adjustment, even when her health improved. I didn’t get to enjoy those newborn moments. For her 1st 8 months, I was petrified about her health and still trying to recover physically and emotionally from being stuck in a bed with everything spiraling out of control. We didn’t go anywhere. I was paranoid about germs. It was hard. It was a year of fear, stress, and emotional roller coasters.

But she made it through. And the part I found so bizarre, is that we could finally see light at the end of the tunnel………and all of a sudden, I was an emotional and a physical wreck. I had been in survival mode for so long, trying to be strong for everyone and doing very little to care for myself. I was still trying to run the house and our company and had some part time help but not enough for everything I was trying to juggle.

This journey made me realize:

1. Not only is it okay to ask for help, it’s a MUST

2. If you neglect yourself in the chaos of your life and “to-do” lists – you don’t get much done

  • You NEED sleep when you can
  • Drink plenty of WATER & eat well to maintain any and all necessary energy!
  • Once you are physically cleared, try to get some fresh air and slowly add in exercise -it will increase your strength and energy
  • Be kind to yourself and don’t expect to be able to do everything you used to right away -try to let go (of all the things you think you should be doing…they’ll be there later!)
  • Remember the temporary nature of each stage & enjoy your tiny miracles
  • Get creative and sneak away where and when you can!
    I was at my wits end many times and my dear husband kept saying I should go somewhere – or get out ….all I wanted most was to take a bath, a nap and just hide in our room. I actually said bye to the kids and went towards the garage and then crawled through the laundry chute and locked myself in our master bedroom!!

    3. Finding gratitude for all the blessings in your life (especially family & friends) helps to get through the challenges

    4. Embrace difficulties as challenges that are making you grow as a person

    5. The power of prayer

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