This week something amazing is happening, Zulresso. The first FDA approved drug to help treat Post-partum depression or PPD is being released into the market. Before now there have been no medications available to specifically treat PPD and sadly it’s reported that 1 in 7 woman suffer from PPD. I was excited to see a woman from my area was getting one of the first doses of Zulresso outside of the trials. It had me thinking about ways to help a new mom and what I would have appreciated during my post-partum time or 4th trimester.
When I had my first baby I was elated on the new mom cloud and life was great. We had the normal ups and downs of adjusting to being new parents and having a baby in the house. I remember we were out of the house the day he came home from the hospital our to dinner with family to celebrate and I remember that within the week we were at our favorite swimming pool introducing our little guy to Deep Eddy Springs. I never had any issues related to my mental health, it wasn’t something that I really was ever concerned about during my pregnancy.
Fast forward a few years when we’re pregnant with baby #2 and I’m sicker than I’ve ever been in my life. My entire pregnancy was a struggle. Nausea and vomiting so overwhelming that it was a struggle to get out of bed. Mind you I have an active 2 year old at this point and laying in bed for the most part isn’t an option. Medication helped with the symptoms but also made me very sleepy so that had to be take in small amounts. We had a lot of days snuggling and watch shows on his tablet together. That little guy was a champ! When spring rolled around and he was out of preschool for the full week we planned to meet up with friends and have a few adventures before sister arrived in a few months (or days). I pushed through each day, stifling nausea to have some quality time with my little guy that was about to become a big brother. It’s during this week, that someone took our picture together. It’s one of 2 belly showing pics I have from my entire pregnancy. Goes to show you how little we did.
When I went into labor with a few days at 30 weeks and 5 days, anxiety set in. Our entire plan changed. I was no on bedrest in the hospital. I was away from my husband and son. I was about to have a baby way to early. When the labor stopped with medication it was a answered prayer, after 4 days in the hospital, we’d be going home the next morning. Except we didn’t. I went into full blown labor late that night and Mary was born at 1:23 in the morning. She was rushed off to the NICU having been born at 31 weeks and 2 days.
We spent 5 weeks in the NICU, and the only issues she had were a few apneic episodes in the days before we went home. Which is terrifying to a parent. Once we were at home I had a lot of anxiety, about everything really. We had a few anemic episodes at home in those first few week which again are terrifying and every sad cry in her car seat made it near impossible for me to drive the car. So we’d stay home instead. That first year was hard and the anxiety was high. But with time and support it improved. That isn’t always the case and medication can be essential to helping treat PPD and PPA. I’m excited to see something available to help these women live their best life!
5 great ways to help a new mom after delivery
Bring a meal– Cook something for dinner to bring over and DROP OFF. This isn’t time for a visit, you are providing a service, not making this new mom think about if her house is picked up for company. If cooking isn’t your jam, grab something from a restaurant that you know they enjoy or consider a meal delivery service if you are not in their area. I promise you food makes everyone less stressed. This is a big one, listen here, use disposable servingware. We don’t want this new momma to worry about getting the right dishes back to the correct person or even about having to do the dishes.
Laundry– If you know the person well come over and do their laundry. I think a mom at any stage would love to have someone help with laundry. Live out of town, consider paying for a local laundry service that has pick up and delivery.
Babysitter– No not for that sweet new baby, if the family has older children, this is a great time to allow mom/parents a little bit of time to be together with the new baby and possibly grab a shower. Older siblings would probably love an opportunitiy to hit the park, play at a friends house or grab an ice cream where they are the focus of attention for a bit.
Care Package– Want to do something but can’t decide what? What about a small care package that will make the family life a little easier in those first few days/week. Throw together paper goodies, plastic silverware, gift card for a meal out(even fast food) a book you think mom might enjoy, a pair of comfy socks and some hand sanitizer. Maybe include something that you loved as a new mom as a special touch. Some of my favorite tricks of parenting came from experienced moms but from the books I read.
Words of Encouragement– Sometimes words are bigger than any action. Send that momma a text telling her how great a job she is doing, say a prayer for her, write her a card. I would avoid phone calls as they can become overwhelming for attention. Biggest thing on this one, don’t except something back. Just know that she heard those words even if she doesn’t respond.
When mom is ready for visitors check out these great tips from The Shirley Journey.