In my second postpartum experience, I have been more sleep deprived and hormonal than I remember from when I was going through it with my first. [First born is a boy, second is a girl.]
As a result, my cup has been really empty lately — I literally had nothing to give or offer to anyone. Even simple conversations feel/felt forced and draining. Of course, some days are better than others. It really depends on how much sleep I have gotten the night before.
All of this to say that my eating and movement were seriously compromised. I found myself (over)eating for energy. I did not have the ability to wake up early to get my walk in before getting the kids up for the day. This was also during a heat wave so daytime walks were not possible either.
It was easy to feel like I “should” be pushing myself harder than I was. I was so used to walking most mornings, and only eating for hunger. My specific minimums, including drinking water, and sleeping solidly.
Gone were those days…
I genuinely felt ragged, exhausted, irritable, and drained. My son was adjusting (roughly) to being a big brother, and my newborn daughter was not sleeping great during the night. Also, I had just started my new routine as a stay at home mom.
It is important to recognize where you are with your emotional (and physical) needs before you can be willing to share it with others. Simultaneously, you are also responsible for taking care of yourself first. There are no “should”s that can be imposed on one’s self when you are in the midst of a trying moment.
Becoming aware of your emotional energy is an effective way to evaluate what you are able to accomplish in one day — what you “are able” to do. Show yourself some compassion on the tough days by recognizing where your energy has been depleted.
I needed to have a good nights sleep, to take a shower, and listen to a podcast. Then I felt refreshed enough so I could meet my minimums. Though to be honest, I am still not able to offer support yet. I am 5 weeks postpartum, we are finding our rhythm and I have re-evaluated my minimums to be within reach and have abandoned what I “should” be doing based on what I was able to achieve daily during my pregnancy.
It is important to recognize how you will fill back up your cup, give it some time and then you can resume trail blazing.
(This was originally written when I was 5 weeks postpartum. 9/7/18)