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Six Tips to Help You Fight Postpartum Insomnia

I’m thinking I must have Pregnantsomnia because much of what I faced with postpartum insomnia I am now facing as a pregnant mama with my toddler running around. Nonetheless, these six tips to fight postpartum insomnia apply to me now too and I think they can help many a mamas, but especially those new moms.

I am by no means a professional and I am only sharing what worked for me. If you are battling insomnia then I would encourage you to seek guidance from your physician.

I remember when Bubby started to sleep longer stretches at night as a new baby. He’d sleep four, five maybe six or even seven hours of sleep. Not me. I’d roll over and look at the clock and it’s 2:00AM. I’d start thinking “I’ve got a couple more hours, maybe even one, before he’s awake again. Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.” Nothing. No sleep at all.

Some women it hits right away. For some, it takes its time, showing its ugly face right when you start to feel “normal” again. Insomnia. Unfortunately, for most women who suffer postpartum insomnia, depression may be lurking around the corner. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia and depression tend to go hand in hand. We already know that those who suffer with sleep disorders need to be wary of the onset of depression. So why does postpartum insomnia get so easily overlooked for moms who experience postpartum depression?

Most women are told it’s normal to run on no sleep during those early newborn months. We laugh about the 30 minute power naps we take a few times a day to get through a 24 hour period. Women are made to believe that sleepless nights are normal and will pass. You know, maybe in a year or two when the kid starts sleeping through the night. Most women need the tools now to curb their sleepless nights which may dial down postpartum depression. Here are a few strategies that you can try right right now in an effort to get a better night’s sleep.

Postpartum insomnia is tough. Here are six tips to help you fight postpartum insomnia.

Quit trying to nap when the baby naps.
Some women just don’t nap well or can’t pull off the power nap.  If anything, you lie there, agonizing over the fact that you’re not sleeping while the baby is sleeping. Instead of trying to nap every time the baby does, use those times as rest time but only pick a nap during the day when you know you just might actually fall back to sleep.

Get some exercise and get outside.
Many moms groan at this one but don’t underestimate the power of stimulating your body. Let’s define exercise real quick for the new mom. It is NOT jumping right back into your old workout routine. It is NOT pushing your body too soon physically.  Sometimes a simple walk around the block will do wonders for your morale and your body. Maybe it’s doing that annoying 10 minute total body workout video you bought from WalMart. Whatever is, give it a simple try. We think we should be able to sleep because we haven’t had very much sleep to begin with, but studies show that a short time of physical exertion helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Quit surfing Facebook before bed.
If you’re like most of us smartphone-loving moms, you check your Facebook during that middle of the night bottle feed or nursing session.  Studies upon studies tell us we need to put our electronics down at night. For this strategy to be effective, we should put them down about an hour before we turn out the lights. This definitely eliminates checking your Instagram while you’re nursing at 2:00A.M. The simplest way to explain this reasoning:
the lighting on your electronic devices makes it hard for your brain to shut down to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Try to not look at the clock when you wake in the night.
This strategy alone helps some individuals reduce anxiety with mid-night wakings because they aren’t aware of how long they’ve been awake. Keep yourself from running in a vicious circle, agonizing over how you’ve been awake for the last hour. Turn off the stress, and you may fall back to sleep sooner than if you were aware of the time on your clock. Plus, looking at the lighting on your clock may be too stimulating for your brain.

Try turning the baby monitor down a notch.
This doesn’t mean turn it off. We already know that women are more sensitive to their baby’s noises than men are. But sometimes we hear every little move the baby makes and wake when we don’t need to. Try different volumes during the day to gage what you’re comfortable with. Maybe move the monitor in your room so it’s not so close to your bedside. Find an option you’re comfortable with so you won’t worry about it.

Just get up and do what you can’t stop thinking about.
This might sound counterproductive, but if you’re laying there thinking about laundry, the grocery list or something else you want to get done, then it might serve you better to get up and do it quickly so you can quit thinking about it. Don’t make this a habit but it could be a valuable option if it will help you go back to sleep.

Seek help and counsel if you feel your sleep loss is greatly impacting your mood and attitude.
While this is the last strategy, it is certainly not the least. Many women fight a silent battle against postpartum insomnia, while they’re dealing with depression. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Talk to your provider or a friend who may be able to give you some advice on how to receive help.

What about you Only a Season Mamas? Any other tips you would add to help encourage one another?
Don’t forget you can PIN THIS article to save for later or share with another mama. And if you’re interested in getting tips like this to your inbox, check out our Mom Tribe.

Peace,
Glo

When Blessings Feel Like Burdens

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12322583_10103391980116680_2891993775767244846_oNoel Perez-White is an a English High school teacher who recently became a mama. She loves to write about her experiences in the classroom, at home, and her daily life. She’s got some pretty rad Haikus about motherhood going on in her own little corner of the cyberworld at www.reflectionsofamillennialmama.com. She is always looking to encourage other mamas! Feel free to stop by her site and say hello!

 

 

 

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It’s 5:45 P.M. on a Friday night and I’m driving home after an excruciatingly long day. Stress from the week has finally reached a boiling point and hot tears start falling down my face. It’s just been one of those weeks, and I’m on the ledge in danger of falling into a deep pit of self pity.

I start thinking about the fact that I stayed at school for an hour after the last bell to grade student work and I still had a pile waiting for me when I returned. I reflected on the school week. A week I wanted to forget. I broke up two fights, my eighth period’s misogynistic comments forced me to tears (in the privacy of the bathroom), my computer broke, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being overworked and under­-appreciated. I planned out the following week in my mind, which included several meetings after school. I thought about how my meetings earlier in the week lasted so long that by the time I got home, my daughter was tucked in her bed, sound asleep. Another missed opportunity to spend time with her. My chest ached because I was pulled into a quick meeting at school and I missed a pumping session. The lasting effects were starting to hit me, as sharp pains shot through my chest.

The to­-do list for the weekend started scrolling through my mind. The ACT class I had to teach Saturday morning was not yet planned for, the shopping list I had for my daughter’s upcoming baptism reception kept growing, yet the RSVP’s were rolling in slowly and I knew I would have to start tracking down the invitees to get a final count.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had alone time with my husband, and even though he slept next to me every night, he felt a million miles away. The idea of planning a date night seemed ridiculous in light of everything we had going on.

…as I climbed the steps to my house I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to declare to my husband that I QUIT! Adulting was not for me, and I was over all of it.

In the short ride between school and home I had worked myself into a full on anxiety meltdown. I kept telling myself that it was impossible to do it all: mother, teacher (both during the week and on the weekend), wife, club moderator, union member (who is in the middle of contract negotiations), caretaker, party planner…and as I climbed the steps to my house I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to declare to my husband that I QUIT! Adulting was not for me, and I was over all of it.

My husband knew I was having an off week, as I had complained about it over the last few days, so he didn’t question my sullen silence as I came into the house and prepared to nurse my daughter. She was hungry and a bit fussy. As he handed her to me, she smiled as she knew what was happening. Dinner! I felt a surge of relief as the engorgement that was ailing me before began to subside, as did my anxiety.

Over the course of the weekend I began to realize I had it all wrong. I was looking at my life ­­ and the things that were making me upset ­­ as a problem. In reality, all of those “problems” were things I had prayed for, wished for, and worked for. It was at that point that I saw that I am not in fact burdened, but I am blessed. I had so much to be grateful for!

I began to see that I was allowing the challenges I was facing overshadow the fact that I have so many things going right in my life. I have a job that, although is a major stressor at times, is meaningful and gives me a purpose every day. I have the privilege of being on the team that is building a fair and comprehensive union contract that will benefit many students and teachers who enter the school doors even once I am no longer there.

I have a huge family! And yes, that can mean that parties and gatherings can get pretty expensive and are hectic to plan, but it’s only because everyone wants to be a part of the celebration. How can I be upset with that? There will always be opportunities to make more money, but making memories is more important.

There will always be opportunities to make more money, but making memories is more important

When I think about what I am grateful for, I start to feel lighter. There is still so much in my life that can cause me stress, but I have come to see that it is only because I care so much about it all. As my identity expands to include more and more roles, I’m learning there may be some growing pains associated with each. I have to trust that the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to be successful will also shift, grow, and change. To not have change is to be stagnant, and that is definitely something I don’t want.

By the end of the weekend, I was determined to make a shift in my thinking. I spoke to my husband about what I had been thinking and I shared my frustrations and guilt. To top it off, in all of this, never did I even ask him how he was doing. Why did I think I was the only one struggling? My guilt became heavier.

To not have change is to be stagnant, and that is definitely something I don’t want.

I decided we needed to make a point everyday to be positive and grateful.  We agreed to do one little thing everyday that would not only give us time to connect, but also help us to see the blessings in our lives. We set a timer on our phones, to everyday, before bed, share with each other something we are grateful for. Something specific to the events of that day. It can be something the other person did, or something related to work or family or ­anything really. To hold ourselves accountable we made three rules:

  1. We BOTH have to do it, even on the bad days. If there is ever a time when we are not together at the end of the day, we must share our gratitudes in a phone call or text message.
  2. It must be specific­ not a vague cop­out statement like, “I’m grateful for my husband.”
  3. It must be genuine gratitude ( this one was mostly for me since I can get pretty sarcastic when I’m in a bad mood)

I know it may seem like a silly thing, but so far it has made such an improvement in my life and in my marriage. It forces me to stop and think about all the good moments I had throughout the day that can easily be overlooked, and it’s an opportunity to spend a genuine and intimate moment with my husband. It can be said over dinner, or during my daughter’s bath time. It can be just a statement or it can open the conversation to a story from the day I want to share. Eventually, this will be a tradition we will extend to our daughter and future children. We’ve only been doing it for a short time, but I believe it’s something that will last because it makes us feel good and it’s not hard to keep up.

I have to admit, I am a little embarrassed. I let myself go on and on thinking I had it so rough, when it’s the opposite. I am grateful to my readers, for allowing me to be self­-centered. We all need to sulk sometimes, but it’s also important to pull ourselves out those dark moments too.

How have you been feeling lately? Have you been looking at your blessings as burdens like I was? It’s never too late to open your eyes and heart, and make a small change that can improve your outlook on life.

Do you have a story to share? Want to encourage other moms? Click here for more information about Writing With Us!

Get Your Body Back after Baby

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I met Erin in a mom’s group on Facebook. I asked the group a question about Asher and she responded with some kind advice. Once someone comments on your question, you start to notice them more as they comment on other posts. I paid attention to Erin and her “social media etiquette” and found her to be a lovely person. Not long after my question, Erin reached out to me via a private message and we found we were both teachers! We became friends on Facebook and I soon learned that she is a fitness lay-day! She works hard and is AWESOME at encouraging others–a dominate trait I see in Erin. She is such an encourager and positive person.  I knew I wanted to have her on the blog to encourage other moms to improve their health. Enough rambling from me! I’ll let Erin take the stage!

Erin

 

I’m nervous what’s going to happen to my body after having this baby. Will I ever get my body back? Will I be able to wear my pre-pregnancy jeans? Will I turn into a “frumpy” mom? Will I have “mom” gut forever? Will I feel sexy again? Will I still feel comfortable in a bikini?
Ever have these thoughts? I did. As a first time mom, there are so many new things dealing with the baby that I think we struggle with these inner thoughts, but then as soon as we start to try to figure it out, the baby wakes up, needs to eat, needs a diaper change, etc. And the cycle continues.
However I’m here to HIGHLY encourage you not to wait to long. There will ALWAYS be something to do. Whether with the baby, the house, your job, your husband, etc. But MAKING time to take care of you WILL make you a better wife, mom, more patient, you’ll have more energy, you’ll feel more confident about yourself, plus you’ll be teaching your kids BY EXAMPLE how to take care of themselves!
Not only that, I’m here to tell you that you CAN DO IT! You can get your body back, or better! You can wear your pre-pregnancy jeans, you don’t have to be a ‘frumpy’ mom, you can get rid of your mom gut, feel sexy again and wear a bikini proudly!
Think I’m crazy? Well it happened to me! And if I can do it, so can you! After having 3 kids, I’m actually in the BEST SHAPE of my life! I have toned arms and legs, no ‘frumpy’ flat mom butt, I’m wearing clothes 3 sizes SMALLER than I ever did before I was pregnant, I have a flat stomach (though get me in a plank and I still have some saggy skin), I feel confident in my clothes, feel good about myself and I learned how to take care of myself physically and how to eat properly.
Here’s my transformation video http://youtu.be/4fyiseQrMjs (This one I did after baby #2, but I did the same process and got the same results after baby #3).
So how do you do this too?
1. Your baby is not an excuse, your baby is your REASON for taking care of yourself. Stop the excuse that you don’t have time. You have the same 24 hours that other moms have that are in your similar shoes and they make time to workout. I’m not saying it’s going to be convenient, but you do have time.
Most practical (notice I didn’t say convenient times to workout): In the morning before your kids wake up During nap time Doing it WITH them! Doing 30 min of exercise and have them play in the room. After your kids go to bed (I know you’re tired. Do it anyway.)
2. You HAVE to have a plan! I was actually a fitness instructor and a personal trainer before having kids. And I NEVER got the results I was after UNTIL I followed a workout program and a nutrition plan! That’s because they’re smarter than I am and put together a fool proof plan to get you LASTING results! If you follow the workout calendar, IT WILL WORK. If you replace one meal a day with Shakeology, IT WILL WORK. If you commit to sticking to the meal plan, IT WILL WORK. If you check in with our accountability group every single day, learning and growing together, IT WILL WORK.
3. That leads me into the last thing you’ll need. ACCOUNTABILITY. You can do it on your own, but you’re MORE LIKELY to succeed if you have someone to do it with you! And that’s me!! I won’t let you down or let you give up on yourself!
I run accountability groups monthly to help you find the right program for you, guide you with your nutrition, plug you into an accountability group to keep you on track! Check out some success stories by clicking here. 
If this is something you’re looking for, or just want some advise on where to start your fitness journey, I want to help you!!
Fill out this form so I can learn more about you and your specific needs.
Send me a friend request on Facebook, and let’s connect there too!
YOU GOT THIS!
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