Support: You Can\'t Do This Alone, Sis

As I mentioned in the post, Postpartum, I Wasn't Ready for You, a good support system (along with a postpartum kit and Jesus tools) was critical to enduring my postpartum season. Now this may be harder to come by than you would like.  My support system continued to change throughout the years.   
With my first two children, I had three very essential support groups.  

The first was my friends.  I had two other ladies at my church who were both pregnant with me. We were due a month apart from each other. After our babies were born we would group text each other all day.  It was sooo comforting to know that someone else was awake at midnight, 2am, 3:30am, 5:30am, 7am... feeding a newborn.  It was such a relief to know they had the same questions that I did and that we all were just trying to figure this thing out as we went along. We supported and coached each other along the way, and still do!
The second was a mom’s group that was set up by my hospital. They grouped 20 or so women who are due within 2 weeks of each other together.  Once our babies were around 2 weeks old, we met every Wednesday for 2 hours with our newborns.  We asked questions, shared our experiences, and gave each other advice. It was a safe place for us to be vulnerable. Not to mention, a moment to get out of the house! This went on for 6 weeks and then we chose to stay in contact and meet with our babies once a month.  If your hospital or community offers a mom’s support group, I would highly suggest it, even if it's held via Zoom.  I believe in mom groups so much I established my own, Mom Talkz.  It's a space for us moms to chat, cry, and grown together.

The third was my mother.  My husband was very supportive and helpful, but my mom came to visit with a different energy of helpfullness.  Maybe because she was getting full nights of rest.
  (If you don't have much external help, I can relate.  Meet me in the next paragraph and we can chat about it.) My mom would come multiple times a week to HELP.  There is a difference between helpers and visitors.  Visitors come to hold the baby and chat. In the first few weeks or even month or two, visitors should have a 45 minute maximum time limit. In all that is going on, nobody has time to be chillin’ and talking.  If baby is asleep, I wanted to be asleep too (when I only had one child). Every now and then a good chat helps, but not all of the time. Helpers come to cook (or bring food), clean, do laundry, change the baby’s diaper, watch baby while I nap, and assist you with whatever you need. Helpers can stay for hours and my mother was definitely a helper. She was really good at taking my older children out of the house for an hour so I could rest with the newborn. Although "resting" could quickly turn into me running around the house trying to get stuff done, just having help gave me a peace of mind.  

Having family or close friends nearby is helpful, but I know this may not be an option for many women.  I had my third child May 2020, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person mom groups had just been discontinued and virtual ones had not become the norm yet.  Also, my mom was around less often in efforts to keep our gatherings to a minimum.  She was still present, but not as present as before.  I had my fourth child during the same pandemic after moving across the country without any family or friends.  Talk about tough!  Being a stay at home mom of four children ages 5 and under was definitely a challenge.  I was thankful for the tools that I had established as a routine to help me mentally push through.  Realistically, the biggest support was also myself.  I had to support myself by letting some things go.  Such as not folding every piece of laundry.  If the correct items ended up in the correct drawers, it was a win!!  Frequent phone calls from family also helped to know people were thinking about me.  My postpartum depression usually got worse during time when I felt helpless and without support.

Most importantly, I had to cling to Jesus. People were going to fail me. I failed myself sometimes. Yet, God was always there, whether I paid attention to Him or not.  The more intentional I was about praying to Him during the good times and the bad, and waiting to hear His responses, the less helpless I felt.

Other supportive outlets were a Mommies Sunday School class at our church, other family memebers, Facebook groups, and talking with other moms at the park or kiddie play places. 

If you don't have much family or friend support, consider joining Mom Talkz or join us for our Saturday Gathering in person or online at Vibez.Church. We are big on creating family and community.  

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