This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way, a Tricare breast pump provider. All opinions shared are entirely my own. Read more of the fine print here.
Bringing Home a New Baby
I can clearly remember that first solo trip to the commissary for groceries.
I was about six weeks postpartum. I’d had a c-section and had only recently started driving again. The family visiting from out of town had gone and my husband was back at work. This was that magical time when as a postpartum mom you’re expected to be completely healed and fully back to your normal self.
I wasn’t feeling the magic.
Now, don’t get me wrong- I was doing MUCH better at this point than I was after the birth of my first child. During that delivery, I suffered from a 4th-degree tear. The lingering discomfort from this current c-section was NOTHING compared to that first experience. But I was definitely not back to my “normal self”.
First, let’s talk about the ridiculous amount of hormones that are still happening. Just trying to figure out how to get the baby wrapped correctly in the carrier I was planning to wear while shopping was enough to have me on the verge of tears.
I finally figured it out and into the store my little trio went. Things started off well enough. Thankfully the newborn slept through most of it. But as I approached the last few aisles to get the final items on my list, my body began to make it loud and clear that it had had enough.
As I had been shopping and the cart filled up and grew heavier, it became increasingly difficult for me to push it. I had already taken the toddler out and let her walk, hoping to make pushing the cart slightly easier, but now she kept wanting to stand on the end of the cart- which was even worse than when she had been sitting!
Between the weight of wearing the baby and pushing the now grocery-laden cart, I was in serious pain. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish, but somehow I did. However, as soon as I had both kids in their car seats and had tipped the bagger, I sank into my seat and immediately broke down in tears.
I had definitely overdone it and I still had to carry all the groceries in once we got home and put them away.
The Stress of Baby + Military Life
Even as I write it, I know it sounds kind of silly- crying over groceries and being in pain from pushing a shopping cart. But I have a feeling there are a lot of you moms out there who will understand.
Having a baby is NOT easy; not the pregnancy, not the delivery, and not the sleepless nights. No matter how angelic the baby might be or how many times mama has been through this before, a new baby almost always brings a new level of difficulty and chaos along with it.
When you have a new baby, PLUS the additional stressors that military life can often bring, stress levels are bound to rise.
It’s not uncommon for many new military spouse moms to have a spouse that isn’t home to help and he may have even missed the birth of the child. Many new military spouse moms are far from their family and may or may not have a support network in place. They may have either recently moved to a new area or are getting ready to. All of these can make life with a new baby even more challenging and stressful.
Ways to Reduce Stress
Everyone deals with stress at some point. Different things stress out different people. Some stress is natural and even good for us at times. But when you are dealing with ongoing, long-term stress (which I firmly believe many military families are), there can be negative consequences.
WebMD lists headaches, stomaches, and frequently getting sick as a few of the physical consequences of getting stressed. Other symptoms include feeling overwhelmed, moody, constant worrying, forgetfulness, nail-biting, and increased drug use. Those that endure long-term stress can suffer from depression, anxiety, obesity, and hair loss. And that’s not even the complete list!
That’s some pretty serious complications from something as simple sounding as “stress”. I have personally suffered from a few of those symptoms so I know how important it is for us to get our stress levels under control.
Obviously, there are some things about life you just can’t change, especially when it involves the military. Odds are, having your husband sent home early from deployment or getting orders changed so you don’t have to move probably aren’t going to happen. But there are some things in life that you do have control over. And it’s those things that we need to focus on. It’s those things we need to figure out how we can make even a little bit better so that we can reduce our overall level of stress.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. If you haven’t had your baby yet, plan ahead. Pinterest has tons of ideas for freezer meals you can prepare now and use later. If the baby’s already here, make double when you do cook so that on evenings when things are extra hectic, you have something already made.
2. Let go of your expectations for a season. This is a new, special, and fleeting season. It will look very different from other seasons. Your body, house, and daily routines will all be different and that’s okay. Embrace it rather than fight it. Try your best each day and don’t be too hard on yourself.
3. Choose your priorities carefully. This is a great time to really learn what it means to “be still”. If possible, reduce the number of activities you and your family are involved with outside of the home. Remember, this is only a season.
4. Give yourself permission to take naps. Your body has been through a lot and needs plenty of rest to heal properly. Plus, you’re probably getting very interrupted sleep at night. If baby’s asleep and you want to nap too, go for it!
5. If you don’t already have one, find your village. This will be especially crucial if your spouse is deployed. It could be extended family if you are blessed to have them nearby, it could be friends or neighbors, a church group, or even a playgroup. Social media is a great tool to find groups you can join, just make sure that you also have real-life people that you can connect with face-to-face.
6. Hire help if you can afford it. Consider paying someone to help you with housekeeping, laundry, yard work, childcare, or a meal-prep service. There is no shame in hiring help so that you can take care of yourself and as a result be a better wife and mom for your family.
7. Accept help when it’s offered. As long as you trust them, let that relative or friend watch the baby (or your big kids) for a few hours. Or let them bring you a meal. You don’t have to prove you have it all together. Be grateful that you have people around you who want to help.
8. Remember that it’s okay if your baby cries. They do that. Sometimes A LOT. If they’re in a safe place, like their crib, they will be okay for five minutes while you finish your shower. If you’re going through an especially difficult phase and you can feel that you’re getting frustrated, put them in a safe spot and step outside for a few minutes to take some deep breaths and pray. Often, you’ll be calmer when you come back in and that in turn will help calm baby.
9. Exercise when you can and try to get outside as much as possible. It’s truly amazing what both can do for your mood and stress level! Often a walk outside with your baby can do wonders for you both!
Thankfully, if you have Tricare insurance, you can receive a breast pump from a company like 1 Natural Way at no cost to you! They work with both your health insurance provider and physician to make it as simple as possible to for you. And because they know new mamas are busy enough, their process is super quick and simple. I personally haven’t used them yet, but would not hesitate to based on their great reviews! All you have to do is click here to visit their website and fill out the short form to request your Tricare breast pump.
Hang in there, mama!
I know it’s hard. I know you’re exhausted and overwhelmed. Some days it seems like it will never get better, but I promise, it does. Your baby grows and so do you. Try picking one or two of the suggestions above to start working on today and over time I’m confident you’ll feel your stress level start to come down. Remember, this is only a season and you WILL get through it. Congrats on your new baby!!