4 Ways To Stay Connected with Your Husband After Having a Baby

Becoming a mother has been a transformative experience. I can live on a lot less sleep than I thought, I can be awoken from the deepest of sleep if I hear my baby stirring and I care much less about my needs or wants now that I have this little life depending on me. However, it can be easy for me to get so caught up in baby care, especially during the newborn weeks that my husband can take a backseat. Of course, this isn’t intentional but her needs often take priority during this season of life. Now that our baby is just over five months and we are more settled into our parenting roles this is the advice I would give to a new mom who desires to keep her marriage connected while navigating into parenthood.

1. Know Your Love Language and ASK FOR IT

A lot of the time we are told to know our partners love language so we can love them better. I agree it is important to study your spouse and learn how to fill their love tank. However, when you are postpartum and sleep deprived it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you, in turn, can care for others.

Personally, my love language is physical touch. For me, I need at least 20 seconds of a good, cuddly hug from my husband. After that, I feel so energized, cherished and taken care of. Instead of expecting my husband to read my mind when I’m feeling down I will ask or tell him I need a hug.

If you don’t know your love language take this quiz and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to help you be the best version of yourself for your family.

2. Get Creative With Date Night

Pre-baby date nights were easy. We could stay out late and be spontaneous. Post-baby we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Such as bringing our baby to dinner with us, eating out on a less busy night like Sunday and bringing my nursing cover. As long as we don’t stay out too long, our baby has done great whenever we’ve gone out to eat.

Another option for date night is having your hubby run out to grab a pizza (feta, pineapple, peppers and buffalo chicken was a recent favourite) and then watching a movie after your baby is in bed.

Date night can be tricky with a new baby but it’s not impossible to set aside time for just you and your hubby. Even if the baby has to tag along with you it is important to have intentional couple time.

Have You Downloaded My FREE Guide of 10 Cheap + Fun Date Night Ideas?

3. Check in with Your Hubby

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is our chats before bed. This doesn’t happen every night because he works continental shifts. However, we often catch up when he gets home.

If we don’t see each other at night we will text throughout the day. I try to be intentional to encourage my husband. I thank him for working hard for our family or I’ll send him pictures of our baby.

4. Affirm Actions You Appreciate in Your Husband

Along with encouraging my husband, I try to notice the things he does well and point them out to him. When we magnify positive attributes in our husbands they are more likely to keep doing those things. If your hubby is really good at responding to your baby’s needs or comforting her be sure to point this out to him.

Positive affirmation is rewarding and people will keep doing things they are appreciated for. Refrain from criticizing and try to speak about the good your husband is doing instead.

A new baby brings a lot of changes to a couple’s dynamic. It can be easy for both mom and dad to shift attention off of each other and onto the new bundle of joy. However, it is important to remember that the best thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse.

The point is to not put pressure on yourselves, these are just suggestions you may not have thought of or already do. Either way, it’s important that you make an effort to keep your marriage connected.

Remember keeping your marriage connected doesn’t have to include a formal or scheduled date night. It just takes remembering to communicate with your spouse, telling them what you need to feel loved, affirming what they are doing well and making time to do things you enjoy together with or around your baby’s schedule.

How to keep your marriage connected as new parents while navigating life with a newborn baby.

5 Ways to Stay Strong Mentally as a Mom

As a new mom or really anyone leading a busy life, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by one’s present circumstances. Maybe you feel stuck or like things will never change or improve.

However, a goal I have for this year is to overcome my mental outlook and instead of being lead by my feelings into despair and sadness I’m working on telling myself how to feel.

My daughter is a great source of joy and I find myself choosing to be happy for her instead of moping around feeling sad or discouraged. She deserves to be happy and I want her to feel secure and loved despite how I’m feeling on the inside.

Along with her motivating me to choose joy here are 5 more methods I implement on a daily basis to stay strong mentally.

1. Listen to uplifting podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? If so leave me a comment with your favourites down below. If not, why?

Podcasts are super popular right now. There are podcasts for every topic, hobby or interest.

A few of my favourites that keep me motivated, informed and encouraged are The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Risen Motherhood, Journey Woman, Surviving Sarah, Lighten Up with Melanie Dale, The Simple Show, The Lazy Genius, Business Wars, Tides of History, and The Popcast.

If you like to listen to podcasts on the go and don’t have an aux cord or built-in Bluetooth this is the adapter I use in my car. The last one we had was super cheap and broke. This one has worked great and is very easy to use.

Bluetooth Adapter

2. Play music

The simple of act of playing upbeat, positive music can instantly uplift your mood. I vacillate between using Spotify and YouTube to stream music. I do enjoy Spotify because of the ease of selecting a playlist to match my mood. YouTube is also nice because there aren’t as many ads.

Here is a kid-friendly playlist on Spotify:

3. Go Outside

I am a total homebody, I love being in my habitat and being productive. However, going for a simple walk with Lyla and listening to a podcast really helps shift my perspective to a more positive one. Never underestimate what a change of scenery can do for your mental state.

I live in a colder climate so most of the year it is not easy to get outside for a walk. I try to go out only if the temperature is above O Celcius and around 2 pm when it’s warmest out. When it’s too cold to be outside I like to walk around a large store and browse or the local mall.

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4. Run an Errand

As much as I love being at home 90% of the time, sometimes I need to get out. Whether it’s running to the post office or Walmart I always feel so much better when I get home. Plus it helps break up the day and Lyla usually naps in the car. It’s a win-win. I get time alone and the baby gets in a good nap.

5. Plan to be Social with Real People

Finally, as much as my introvert self would rather be a recluse I need real people. Even though I live far from some family I try to see them once a month. I also try to video chat with my friends.

Volunteer with Your Baby

It is also important to build a community where you live. To meet new people in your area consider volunteering for a cause you care about. For me, that is food skills and food insecurity. In the past, I have volunteered with Growing Chefs! and VON where I cooked with kids and prepared a low-cost meal for seniors. In this season of life, I’m caring for my daughter and cannot volunteer as frequently as I would like. However, I volunteer in our church’s nursery one Sunday a month. This allows me to socialize with other moms and make new friends.

Join a Local Moms Group

When I moved to my new neighbourhood one of the first things I did was a Facebook search for our neighbourhood moms group. The group is open to any moms wanting to join and each week they have a meet-up to socialize and chat.

Mom life or whatever tasks your life includes on the daily can be draining. I hope these simple ideas will help improve your mood and help you be your best for those around you.Encouragement for new moms trying to stay mentally strong

*affiliate link used

Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum

Lyla is six weeks old and I finally feel like I’m emerging from the postpartum fog. I expected birthing her to be hard but I was not prepared for the unique and unexpected trials of postpartum life. Of course, I’m so happy to have my sweet daughter but I’m not enjoying the challenges postpartum has brought to me personally. Everyone’s recovery and experiences are different but I want to share my experience in the hope that if you are pregnant or postpartum we can support each other in our journeys.

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Postpartum or the first few months after birth when your hormones are finding their way back to normal can be a particularly traumatic time for any new mom.

Breastfeeding: learning to breastfeed, engorgement, leaky breasts…

Breastfeeding is natural, yes but it’s a skill that both you and baby have to learn. I thought I was prepared to breastfeed, I took a class and read a giant book on the subject. Yet I still struggled to get a good latch (I had to stay at the hospital and work on breastfeeding before being discharged) and to keep my baby alert enough to feed (we had to strip her down to her diaper to feed and use a cold cloth and tickle her to keep her focused). I ended up having to hand express colostrum and feed it through a syringe. Couple these challenges with the afterpains of birth, lack of sleep and a small crowded hospital room-not fun!

I also wasn’t prepared for the seemingly endless hours of feeding known as cluster feeding. Usually, this occurs at night when you are exhausted and wondering how you can stay awake enough to keep nursing. One consolation is that when the baby is done you both can finally sleep…for a short few hours.

A few days after finding out what cluster feeding was my milk came in. I was not prepared for how engorged, heavy and lumpy I felt. Not to mention the pain of being so full. However, I was advised to take a hot shower, try some hand expression to relieve some of the engorgement and firmly push down and out on the ducts while nursing to release some pressure.

Finally, don’t forget those breast pads because one look at your baby and the milk can come “pouring” out of your breasts. I was astounded at first by how much milk I was leaking.

Helpful Breastfeeding Supports:

  • My Brest Friend pillow
  • towels, burp cloths, swaddle blankets-anything to wipe up milk dripping on you and the baby
  • co-sleeping + lay down feeding
  • a supportive partner
  • Netflix
  • inexpensive nursing bra’s + bralettes (trust me you’re going to be leaking a lot of milk all over your bra’s)
  • Milkies Milk Saver-this is worn on the breast not used for feeding to catch any milk, it works great and surprisingly catches a lot of milk! It also prevents the mess from leaking.

I’m very thankful for the ability to breastfeed my baby. However, there have been many times where I’ve wanted to give up, partly to get a break from being the sole, on-demand feeder. According to the parenting forums around month, three things will get easier so I’m holding out for that.

Baby Blues

I thought pregnancy messed with my emotions. Well, postpartum really messed things up. Physiologically your progesterone drops (which affects one’s mood) and prolactin increase in order to breastfeed which is good. However, these changes can really affect one’s mental state. For example, I cry when I don’t want to. I’ll be talking to my husband trying to explain something that’s bothering me and I’ll well up with tears. Which make the issue seem way bigger than it really is. In reality, I can’t help the tears from falling out. I’m not trying to get a reaction out of him, my body is just taking over my tear ducts.

Aside from crying are the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and fear. At times I feel incapable of my role or that I’m doing it wrong. I especially feel this way when I have to get up in the middle of the night and lift her out of her bed to feed or change her. I love my daughter but sometimes I just can’t extend myself any more than I have. This leads to thoughts of “If this is so hard, how could I ever going to care for multiple children?”. I do have a lot of support and encouragement around me but obviously, we are our own worst critic.

Self Care

Finally, self-care is so important during this period. This is something I discussed with my midwife and she noted how if I take care of myself I will be a better mom. Although I knew this it was a reminder I needed to hear. I try to get out for a daily walk at 2 pm each day, I make a point to shower at least every other day, I keep ingredients on hand to make a filling, protein-rich smoothie that I can drink while nursing and somedays I’ll quickly do my makeup while the baby is in her swing and I try to wear something that I feel cute in.

Even though things have gotten better over the last few weeks, my midwife noted that postpartum depression can occur anytime up to two years after giving birth. It’s not always easy to address mental health issues but it is so important to make sure you are taking care of yourself and get support when you need it. Finally, one thing I appreciated was at each of our appointments my midwife would ask how my mood was. Being that I trusted my healthcare provider I could be open to her about my concerns and she was able to provide any resources I might need.

Bleeding + Padsicles

After giving birth you bleed a lot. Especially in the first few days. This is known as lochia and is due to the placenta being removed. The body has to heal the place where the placenta was attached and until that occurs you bleed. This makes sense because the placenta transferred everything baby needed through blood vessels and when the placenta came out at birth the area has to heal.

Lochia is just another fun thing to deal with after giving birth. Thankfully I have a few tips that can make this time more bearable!

First use disposable type underwear (think Depends, you can get a free sample on their website) for the first few days when the flow is the heaviest (so much better coverage than what the hospital provides). For the rest of the days Always Overnight pads (the purple ones) are great. They have two wings and are super long which provides a lot of coverage. Also, buy some throwaway larger pairs of underwear for the postpartum period. Finally padsicles. Basically, take your pads pour some witch hazel (to help with healing) over them, aloe vera and if you want lavender oil, fold them back up in the wrapper and using a large Ziploc bag store them in the freezer until needed. You can wear them straight from the freezer or thaw them out for a few minutes. Either way the coolness feels amazing, especially during those first very sore weeks.

4th Trimester

Understanding the 4th-trimester concept has changed the way I view my baby’s needs during this newborn period and has allowed me to not feel guilty for putting other things on hold.

The idea of a fourth trimester is about seeing the first three months as baby’s adjustment to the world. They spent the last 9 months in utero, all cozy, warm and constantly fed. On the outside babies still have the same needs to be near to mom, lots of cuddles, feeling secure, eating on demand, sleeping…

With this view in mind, I’ve tried to put less pressure on myself in regards to anything that would take me away from the baby. If I’m stuck on the couch cluster feeding for a few hours and just watching Netflix I don’t feel guilty.

Especially in the first few weeks when you’re healing, in pain and can barely walk it’s best to just lay low. Your family, visitors and friends should understand and will most likely be willing to help out with meals, dishes, cleaning or anything else you need.

Remember babies are only babies for such a short time so savour each moment!

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Postpartum or the first few months after birth when your hormones are finding their way back to normal can be a particularly traumatic time for any new mom.

Everything No One Told Me About Pospartum


The Christian Postpartum Course by Angie Tolpin

Nothing in this post is sponsored. However, I did want to share one final resource I stumbled upon thanks to Audrey Rollofs Instagram story about a postpartum course offered by her friend Angie Tolpin of the blog Courageous Mom. Audrey herself struggled a lot postpartum (her sweet daughter Ember is 2 months old), she had troubles breastfeeding and mastitis twice. Since Angie was a personal friend she was able to reach out to her for support. Unfortunately, not everyone has a friend like Angie. That is why she created the Christian Postpartum Course.

Who is Angie Tolpin? 

Angie is a mom of 7 with a heart for helping moms in all areas of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting. She created a course that combines practical advice and tips along with a biblical perspective. She even addresses intimacy after having a baby.

Angie shares that:

Unfortunately, many women are not willing to talk about postpartum and those who do, are shining God’s glory in ministering to their sisters in humanity through sharing what God has taught them, but many times they either cannot offer Biblical insight ALONG WITH PRACTICAL TEACHING THAT HELPS or they are not offering that teaching from a Biblical perspective at all.

To find out more about the course click here.


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

5 Way’s to Prioritize Self Care

The first time I heard about self-care was from my practicum professor who also happens to be a therapist (class felt like a therapy session because we just talked about our practicums and ate food, it was literally the best.). Our professor knowing that we all lead stressful and busy lives especially as students on the cusp of graduation or grad school really encouraged us to make self-care a priority. She shared how taking a hot yoga class when she’s really stressed or spending time with horses helped her maintain a balanced life.

During this time I was under a lot of stress from school, life and being pregnant (but also not knowing it, I was very emotional and overwhelmed). I really needed to hear this message of taking care of myself beyond my physical needs and my daily work of school and home.

 

5 Tips to Prioritize Self Care

In short, self-care consists of taking time for yourself to recharge and take a break from the pressures of life. It may seem selfish to want to make ‘me time’ a priority but as my professor explained to us it will enable you to be a better person for yourself and to those around you.

Self-care is especially important for women as we take on so many roles and are relied upon by multiple people. In fact, when I’m not taking care of my well-being I tend to suffer-emotionally, physically and relationally as I did during the beginning of my last semester.

However, when I do make time to do things that fill me up I feel energized, loved, taken care of and more motivated and inspired to accomplish the more mundane tasks in my life. Plus I’m a happier person because I’m not relying on those around me to satisfy that need.

Self-care doesn’t have to expensive or take a lot of time. The main thing it involves is intentionality or else it’s just going to fall to the side. Below I have 5 tips to get you started on ideas for self-care and how to make it fit with your life.

Find Out What Recharges You

First, without taking time or your schedule into account brainstorm a list of activities that you find enjoyable.  Think about hobbies you gave up in the past or interests you never got around to trying. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn ceramics, or you really enjoy reading, perhaps it’s the yoga class you never signed up for, or gardening, writing, browsing the bookstore, seeing friends, even getting your hair done. Let your mind wander and write down any ideas that pop up.

Personally, I feel recharged after I spend quality time with a friend or family member I haven’t seen in awhile, treating myself to a Starbucks date, going on a walk, listening to a podcast, taking a bath, baking, reading a good book or even going for a run.

Schedule Self-Care

Next, take a look at your schedule and determine where you have the margin to fit in self-care. Is it after work on Tuesdays, Sunday afternoons, before everyone wakes up, during nap time or perhaps you can book a day off work once a quarter to do something extra special.

As I said above if self-care is not a priority it will never get accomplished. Just like scheduling a doctors appointment write down or make a mental note of when you can have time just for you. It might take some juggling but remember when you take care of yourself everyone around you benefits.

Take it One Week at a Time

Perhaps in your current season of life, you can’t commit to a weekly class or taking time off work. That’s okay! Maybe all you can manage is a weekly bath and reading your book for 15 minutes. The important part is to make sure self-care is part of your weekly routine.

Evaluate Your Self-Care Routine

In addition to making time for self-care and taking it season by season, take the time to evaluate how your self-care routine is working. Are you feeling more fulfilled in your daily life? Do you have more or less time in the coming months for self-care? Is there something you would like to change or a new activity you’d like to try?

Life is constantly changing, it’s important to make sure your routines are being adapted to fit your lifestyle or else they become another thing that can bring you down and make you less productive.

Find Creative Ways to Incorporate Self-Care

In addition to scheduling time for just myself which I also encourage my husband to do, I like to include self-care while I’m doing mundane tasks. For example, while I’m doing the dishes or driving I’ll listen to a podcast. Sometimes it’s a lighthearted and entertaining one like the Popcast or a more at times serious and inspiring one like the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Or maybe you don’t have time to read so an audiobook is a better choice. In fact, most libraries offer free downloads of audiobooks. I love that I’m able to be productive while still taking time for myself

I’m not a mom yet but I do know that when Baby K gets here I’m going to make it a priority to make sure we get out of the house. Whether we walk to get coffee or to the library, I know we’ll both benefit from the activity.

Plus when you model that taking care of your mental health is important for your children they will take notice. Even if they are young, having quiet time once a day can demonstrate that having alone time is important and that mom needs time for herself in order to be the best mom she can be.

Spend Quiet Time with God

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the number one thing in my life that keeps me steady, hopeful and able to face each day. That is my relationship with God. Spirituality is something that oft gets looked over. Yet it’s so related to our mental health and well being it cannot be ignored.

For me spending time with God is simple. I first spend time in prayer thanking God for all the blessings in my life no matter how big or small they are, I talk to God about my worries, I confess sins in my life, I pray for my husband and our marriage, my family, safety, health, friends, just anything that’s going on in my life.Remember it’s okay to share anything with God or ask for help in areas where you’re struggling. The psalms are a great example that it’s okay to tell God our honest feelings.

Following a time of prayer which I may or may not also write down, I use a tool called She Reads Truth. This website has reading plans that also provide a devotional for each day. Currently, I’ve been reading through Romans and before that, I went through the Song of Solomon. This tool has been very effective in helping me stick to doing devotions because it lays out what to read. First,  I’ll read the assigned passages, usually out loud so Baby K can hear too and then reread the passage and take notes on what the author is saying and how I can apply it to my life. Even if I never come back to these notes, writing it down helps solidify what I’m learning.

Finally, I’ll read the short devotional accompanying the readings. Usually, it contains a helpful commentary on the big picture and other themes I haven’t considered. Perhaps if you don’t know where to start in having a devotional this website would be a great resource. Just try to find what works best for you and stick with it.

Overall scheduling time for yourself is not selfish, it means that you care about your mental health and want to be the best you. Don’t feel guilty if you need a night off once a week or have to make room in the budget. In the long term, it is so worth it not only for yourself but for your family and everyone around you.

In Summary:

  • Find out what recharges you
  • Schedule self-care
  • Take it one week at a time
  • Evaluate your self-care routine periodically
  • Incorporate self-care in creative ways
  • Spend quiet time with God

Finally, here’s a great mantra to remember “Create your own sunshine”

Find things that bring you joy and make them a habit. 

5 Ways to Prioritize Self Care

10 Ways to Create Your Own Sunshine Today

buy fresh flowers

get a manicure

print off pictures

go for a walk

write a gratitude list

take a bath

schedule a coffee date with a friend

read a book

treat yourself to a special drink

colour

For more great tips on incorporating self-care be sure to check out this post by Lisa from Lisa Designs Life, she has a lot of tips to make self-care part of a busy life.


What are some of your best tips for self-care?

What activities help you feel recharged?

I’d love to hear!