The Path to Recovery From Postpartum Struggles

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The first baby was a breeze, it seemed. I don’t know whether it was because he was a laid back child, or because we were excited first-time parents, or because there were 2 of us and only 1 child, or because my job was easier to succeed at when I only had 1 child. Whatever the reason, I didn’t have any post-partum issues with my first child. It was glorious.

Fast forward to the second child.

She’s a bit more sensitive. She struggled with taking a bottle when I went back to work. There were days during that first month back that I would have to make the 25-minute drive back to our house just so she would eat at least once during the day. It. Was. Stressful.

Now, at 2 years old, she won’t give up her bottle. She’s also very particular. She will only want 1 thing and if she doesn’t get it, her face turns beet red while screaming. Is that how most little girls are? I don’t really know.

When our daughter was about 10 months old, I started struggling with digestive issues and what I’ve come to learn were panic attacks. I went to the doctor several times that year. I had both a gallbladder scan and an abdominal x-ray done. Both were healthy. I had my endocrinologist check my thyroid levels. His suggestion: “You need to lose more weight.” Thanks.

It wasn’t until 6 months later and the third visit to my family doctor that I just broke down in front of her. Good thing I did, because I think that made it evident to her that I was struggling with anxiety. 

That was the beginning of my recovery.

I started taking medicine and went through a couple of counseling sessions. I learned that it was just a case of our family dynamic being a bit off-balance, and we needed to work at being more intentional with each other’s roles. My husband and I both needed time away from the kids to just do something we love. We needed more date nights,  but also more time separately. For my husband, that was taking the time to meet up with his friends to play board games. For me, it’s meant reaching out to other moms at church and trying to form relationships.

It’s also meant focusing on my physical health. Earlier in the year, I had tried several ways to eat healthier and exercise, to no avail. After the second counseling session, I decided on a more structured and accountable program. I started the WeightWatchers app in February 2019. I have a dear friend that had been in the program, and coincidentally just started it again. After 5 months in the program, I had lost 15 lbs and started getting positive feedback from others in my life. I felt healthy again. I felt in control again. Not to mention, my 4-year-old has complimented almost every WW recipe that I’ve made. That’s the real win, am I right?

In addition to the medicine, counseling and getting healthy, I finally read a book that my dear friend had given me after we had our first child. At the time, I didn’t feel I needed it, but God knew I would benefit from it later. It’s called Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson. It’s written from a biblical perspective. 

While I am pregnant again, I am still following healthy recipes and taking care of myself. I’m at the end of teaching our Wednesday night ladies class at church, where we’ve been spending about 20 weeks discussing the book Desperate and sharing our struggles. It’s been a blessing. I know there are other moms of young ones that struggle like I do, and I know there are moms of grownup children that can share their wisdom with the rest of us. 

It seems all so easy when I write it out, but in the thick of it, there’s no clarity. Thank goodness for the people in my life that helped me. Thank goodness for a God that listens to my pleas. 

This was during the midst of my post-partum struggles

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Courtney
Growing up in Devils Den State Park, Arkansas, has certainly influenced my career choice. I'm an Extension Horticulture Educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service via Oklahoma State University. I have 2 little children and a kind-hearted husband that stays at home with them while I work (more than) full time. We love quality time together, whether it be watching Wild Kratts, going to church, hanging out with cousins, checking our plants in the garden, or anything else. We love to travel, and hope to bring our kids on our international adventures in the future. I hope to bring a unique, but relatable perspective to the OKC metro mom community.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for writing this, and for sharing the book title. I’m in the midst of a bit of anxiety myself, I believe. My kids are 4, 2 and 5 months; adding my daughter to the mix, along with moving, has been so incredibly difficult. I am on hold for the book at the library.

    • You will love the book. It not only resonated with my own struggles, but gave me some guidance and perspective. I hope and pray it does the same for you! Thanks for your feedback!

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