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Phylicia, Atlanta, USA
"For the most part, the birth of my son was enjoyable. My fianc�� was with me in the delivery room, and we played music to keep calm. I had a vaginal delivery and during the birth, I did lose some blood which was worrying at the time. Other than that, there were no complications, and the experience was positive. He came out perfect!
I didn't have any expectations surrounding his birth, mainly because I already had two children, so I knew what to expect. Since his arrival, our family dynamic is amazing. I think my two eldest girls have struggled a little with getting used to having a baby brother, but we're figuring it out!
Having a new baby has challenged me and my partner, mainly because we don't have much time to spend together. Our relationship is currently on the back burner. Because we live in a different state to our wider family, it's difficult to find people to baby sit, it's just us!
Self-doubt is real, and a part of me feels like I'm not capable of raising three kids! I often feel like my attention is pulled in so many different directions, plus I am back at work now, so I often have days when I feel really fragile and shed a few tears!
Unfortunately, I did suffer from postpartum depression after the birth, which was a real struggle and probably the lowest low of the whole experience. It was very hard on me and my whole family. My partner was unsure how to help me at first, but we're making it through now and I'm determined to overcome it. I got a virtual therapist through my health insurance which has definitely helped, and I also take certain vitamins that help to boost my mood. I'd advise anyone who's struggling with postpartum depression to reach out to their doctor and remember that they're not alone!
Luckily, I have my partner here to support me and remind me that I've bought three miracles into this world. His words lift me up and make me feel like I can take on any challenge that comes my way. Plus, all my friends are moms too, so I'm glad that I have them to reach out to for advice and support.
My advice for any new parent is that the first few weeks will be hard. They will challenge you and your partner, both as individuals and as a couple - especially during the night! Try to come up with a plan before you have your baby so that you're both on the same page. If you do have family close by, accept their help. It doesn't make you weak at all and it makes life so much easier, like a weight being lifted!
Caring for yourself after giving birth is really hard. When I can, I take a shower in the evening to reset. It's really surprising how something so simple and mundane can become a real task when you have a newborn! I exfoliate to care for my skin, and I like to drink a lot of green juice and eat healthy foods to look after the inside of my body.
I initially wanted to start working out and getting back into shape pretty soon after the baby was born, but that hasn't happened. It's really hard to fit in exercise when you have three kids to look after. Despite not having time to get fit after the arrival of my third baby, my confidence improved massively. I like to remind myself that I have birthed three kids, and I feel very appreciative that I am able to be a mom!
Right now, me and my partner are struggling to find time to spend together and communicate one-on-one. We're outnumbered! I wish that we had more time together, he's my best friend and I miss him. I suppose one positive is that there's no time to sugar coat anything, so we say how we feel and then move on. As parents, we do the best we can with what we have and we're able to tell each other when we're slacking.
In terms of sex since our son arrived, it's not happening right now. We don't talk about it at the moment. Even though I've been cleared by the doctor, I just don't feel ready, and I think it's important that other moms know they're not alone if the feel the same. Hormones are weird things! Before if we we're in the mood we'd tell each other, but right now, I don't think it's on our minds at all, we just don't have time for it!"
If this content reminds you of your own experiences or makes you think of someone you know and you feel concerned or uncomfortable, please head to the PSI website for information about perinatal mental health resources that may be able to help.