My biggest fear surrounding baby number two was repeating my cycle of postpartum depression. It was the black cloud that loomed over our decision whether or not to have a second child.
When Stella was about two I started to emerge from the fog to consider a second child. It felt like what I was supposed to do. For one month I was all in, but after sobbing at a meet the midwives session and having such glorious relief when my cycle arrived, I came to my senses and hit pause. I was not ready. And for a few years both Jason and I settled into that pause being a stop.
It was early 2015 when I began telling Jason I wanted to consider a second child again. It took me quite a few months to convince him I was serious. We had everything and we were on solid ground. Did we really want to rock the boat?
I tested my “I’m ready” theory by enrolling in a course to become a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher. I figured if I could be immersed in the study of pregnancy and babies for a full season I really was ready. The training gave me a place to talk about my past depression. It was amazingly healing. I completed the course in October and became pregnant that same month.
Though I knew it wasn’t fully under my control, I methodically plotted the ways in which this second time around would be different. The biggest change factor was my career. The voice in my head nagged long before I would listen, but finally I sold my half of the yoga studio. I knew any other changes would be futile if I didn’t remove the struggle between caring for my family and caring for my business.
After selling, my ego mourned. How would others view me? Did I still matter in our community? Mostly though, I was just happy. I stopped having to play the yoga studio owner and lo and behold I became. I became more present to life. I carried less stress in my pregnancy, and teaching yoga again became a joy and not just a job.
That big change was offset by lots of now I know better type changes.
- I trusted without judgment Luna’s birth and first week in the NICU.
- I took my placenta capsules daily for the first month. It’s said to help soften the baby blues and lead to increased energy. Whether it is a placebo effect or more it worked for me.
- Sorry environment, but this little girl is in disposable diapers. I am focused on the easiest path for me.
- Family and friends had to wait a bit to meet Luna. I needed time for just our little family of four.
- And since we emerged from that solitary week at home, I have handed off the baby whenever possible. No more attachment parenting here.
All those pre-planned changes had an enormous impact during my immediate postpartum weeks. Yes I sobbed quietly at times in the hospital and even wailed uncontrollably twice in the shower. And that’s the point. I felt real emotion and still held on.
Luna is almost 12 weeks old now. She sleeps pretty well, and as a breastfeeding mom I’ve now sufficiently switched my diet to agree with her belly. The cool thing is that Luna’s mandated dairy and gluten free diet made it easier to lose the baby weight and has for sure boosted my energy. I never knew how much bread was weighing me down!
And with a decent night’s rest and boosted energy I’ve made exercise a priority. My belly will likely always bare reminders of my pregnancies. I’m still working on accepting that. But whether I wear a bikini again or not, my daughters are darn sure to grow up with a strong, fit mommy – outside and in.
It’s still no fairytale. Everyday includes plenty of fussiness (and not just from the baby). It is just that this time it all feels perfectly manageable.