Author: Metro Detroit Doula Services

3 Tips For Selecting a Stroller

Selecting a stroller is just one of the many baby item purchases we make as we prepare for a new baby. When thinking about what is the best stroller for your family you need to think about a few things.

What will you use it for?

If you are living in the city and plan to use it all over town you may want certain features like wheels that are made to go over a variety of terrain. If you know you will be driving places and taking the stroller in and out of your vehicle you will likely place some importance on if the stroller can fold and how much space it will take up in your car. So think about when and how you will likely use your stroller to know if the features offered make sense for your lifestyle.

Recently Amy (MDDS co-owner) and I attended a presentation with Jamie Grayson the Baby Guy Gear Guide. Aside from being hilarious and knowledgable he gave great pointers on picking out strollers and we couldn’t have agreed more. Here are the top 3 things to look for when stroller shopping.

THE TOP 3 STROLLER SELECTION TIPS

  1. HANDLE BAR– Look, parents hold a lot of things in their hands. Diaper bags, babies, toys, shopping bags, lattes…….. so picking a stroller that is easy to use with ONE HAND is a great idea. Being able to maneuver easily while carrying all the things is simply lovely.
  2. BRAKES- All strollers will have brakes for locking it into position when you are not looking to roll. In summer season we may use our strollers more often as well as we tend to wear lots of flip flops and sandals. So practice using the brakes on the potential stroller you love. You will want a stroller with brakes that are easy to use even while wearing a flimsy flip flop. This may sound silly but your toes and patience will thank you!
  3. BACK WHEELS- The main thing here is when you may want a bigger back wheel. If you are a regular walker or have lots of steps to go up down you will want wheels that are bigger in the back. They can handle a bit more rough and tumble.

There are so many great brands out there to choose from. Go check some out in a local baby store like Modern Natural Baby. Take a moment to really consider what uses your stroller will primarily serve. Cross reference that with the features available, your price-point, and of course the top 3 tips listed here. Happy shopping!

Holy motherforking shirtballs, I’m nearing the end of pregnancy!

The end of pregnancy is quite literally all the feels.  It can be a roller-coaster! You seem to be in this new weird place.  One foot into pregnancy and wondering what this new life will look like with this baby.  But also one foot already in the future as a new parent. Our minds are preparing as best they can, our homes are ready (or almost). We may have already been through that nesting spell.  Car seats, bassinets, diapers, baby’s first outfit, and a birth bag are all getting checked off the list. It could be…..any…..moment. 

For months and months we watched our bellies expand.   It was gradual yet it also felt like all of a sudden. Just when we thought, “Ok, this is big I don’t think it can get any bigger,”  our bellies grew just a little more. The fluttering movements changed into jabs, and rolls, and stretches, and “oh my gosh get out of my ribs!”  We put up with nausea, aches, pains, bolts of lightning through the crotch, and learning how to navigate normal, daily routines in our rotund beautiful bodies.  After awhile socks are just too much effort.  Am I right?

Our physical bodies aren’t just the only thing riding the roller-coaster of growing a human at the end of pregnancy.

Our minds are taken through the washer like it’s on a heavily soiled extra rinse cycle. They would dry out but sometimes it is like when the load gets put in the dryer but no one hits the start button.  We are excited, then miserable, maybe worried, maybe anxious. Some days we feel like crying. The best thing to do when that strikes us is to just let it out. A good sob is healing for the soul. We may even be so happy to still be pregnant and not taking care of the newborn we long to hold. That is OK too!

Other moments our minds may be in that happy, excited state. The thought of cradling our newborn in our arms may be elating. Whether happy or not many times we think, “I just need to make it to the end of this pregnancy.”

Then the end comes.  

What will this birth be like?  How will life be with a newborn?  Am I ready for this next chapter?

The end of pregnancy a mindfork.

We want to make sure we are doing all the things that can help us prepare for a smooth labor and birth.  But we also want to not overdo it and not stress ourselves out. And then there’s the new things your body starts doing too!  Every new sensation sends us to thinking, “Is this it?!” There’s discharge, and contractions, and mucus plug, and loose bowels.  All of it means labor is coming, and all of it means it could still be days or weeks away. The inability to be in control of when this baby will come can be so frustrating.  The baby is the only one who has any control and our communication with them in the womb is well…hard.  

If you are feeling a little out of your gourd or emotional as you await baby’s arrival know you are not alone.  Most of us as we near the “any minute” stage of pregnancy are right there with you. One minute elated we reached the end! Hooray! Then the next minute we are scared for what’s ahead. “What will this parenting gig really be like?” Then one minute back to “Yay I can’t wait to meet my child!” and then maybe back to “When will this baby come?!”

So it is always a good idea to talk about your feelings and thoughts to a trusted partner or friend.  Call your doula! Take some slow relaxing deep breaths (which is also great practice for birth!). Try to enjoy the last moments of feeling your little being move inside you or whatever may be your favorite part of being pregnant. 

Please know you will be a wonderful parent. You already are!

Having a baby is a huge life transition. Nearing the end of pregnancy can make it all the more real, which is why these feelings can come upon us. Rest assured you are not the first to go through the emotions you are as you sit in these final weeks, days, or moments of pregnancy.  Every parent who has been in your shoes feels you and hears you.

Authored by Andrea Stainbrook

What is Gearapalooza?

This week an event rolled through the Metro Detroit area. It was the Gearapalooza! This event is held by Bump Club & Beyond. I had never been before. Amy Hammer and I were invited to check it out and we seriously loved it!

So what exactly is this event? Is it an expo? What type of gear is there?

The way this event breaks down is simple.

  1. Mingle and eat some food.
  2. Check out the vendors and their super sweet stuff. Types of gear to check out included strollers, breast pumps, carriers, unique high chairs, swaddles, food mats, car seats, and more!
  3. Be a part of an engaging presentation by the The Baby Guy.
Amy with the Skip Hop Backpack Diaper bag. One of their most popular products.

3 things we loved about the event:

  1. It wasn’t overwhelming to navigate.
  2. The vendors and what they offered were legit awesome. The brands represented, the local businesses, and the gear was cool stuff. From Ergo, Love to Dream, to Honey Space for Moms, and Modern Natural Baby.
  3. JAMIE THE BABY GUY. He broke down what to look for in car seats, strollers, mattresses, and breast pumps. All with commonsense no non-sense talk. He is charming and easy to learn from!
  4. OK I guess there’s 4 things…. THE RAFFLES AND SWAG were phenomenal. They gave away high quality higher end car seats, strollers, and more. There were quite a few winners. And what you received as you walked out the door did not disappoint.

I know, I know, I am telling you about an event that already past. But it was so darn enjoyable I wanted to make sure you marked your calendars for when it swings through again! It won’t be happening in Detroit again this year but there is a Chicago date ahead!

If you were ever curious about what in the world this event is and “Should I go?” well now you know that it just may be right up your alley and a totally fun way to spend an evening! Perhaps you will even win something cool!

By Andrea Stainbrook

True stories from the NICU

September is a time to think about and bring awareness to NICU parents, babies in the NICU, and the medical teams that work so hard to care for these babies. The National Perinatal Association even breaks down this week of September to recognize and honor all of those involved in NICU care. You can check out their website to learn more. (For this week September 26 is NICU Remembrance Day, September 27 is NICU Giving Day, September 28 is NICU Staff Recognition Day, September 29 is Sibling Support Day, and September 30 Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Day.)

Some of us may know someone with an experience in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Our hearts are there for our friends, neighbors, or families, but we don’t always know what they are going through exactly or how to support them. In honor of September’s NICU Awareness, I reached out and asked a few parents some questions about their experiences in the NICU. Their answers are real and raw, and sometimes gut-wrenching. You can feel the emotions in their words. Their answers are their truths and hopefully we all better understand what these experiences are like and maybe even how to better support those we love if or when they are experiencing a NICU stay.

What surprised you as the most challenging part of having a child in the NICU?

“Recovering from birth and not having a comfortable place to be near my baby.”

“Being separated from your newborn. I felt it whether I was physically not in the room with her or even physically in the room with her. I just felt separated from her and as my first, it was the hardest thing feeling like I couldn’t just be with her after her birth which was all I wanted.”

“My baby being in the NICU was a shock to me. Both my husband and I are very healthy. I had a normal healthy pregnancy and my baby was full term. I just never thought that I would have a baby with complications. “

One of the most challenging things, to this day, is that I don’t feel like my baby and I ever got that snuggling, in our own world, feeling. I only got to hold him a few seconds after birth.  I definitely had to grieve the loss of the birth/postpartum I thought I’d have.

What positives did you feel about the NICU and its staff?

“Their willingness to help me with breastfeeding/pumping. They went as far as to get all the supplies and try to make a private spot for me to pump near my baby to help stimulate milk production despite sharing a room with 5 other babies.”

“The nurses were amazing! They taught my husband and I so much about caring for a newborn (taking her temperature, giving her a bath, swaddling, etc.). Although our mom/baby nurses were great, the NICU nurses were so supportive and went about teaching us so many things about newborn care that I felt so much more prepared.”

“That they saved my child’s life. He’s a thriving toddler now and without a doubt it’s thanks to the doctors and nurses who took care of him.  Also, the NICU staff was very supportive of our breastfeeding relationship. They also taught us how to care for a newborn. Sometimes my husband and I refer to our time there as “baby boot camp”. They taught us how to change diapers, breastfeed, bottle feed, and bathe the baby. Babies in the NICU are also on a very strict schedule and we just kept that schedule even when we got home. It helped us feel like we knew what we were doing.”

What did you feel was negative during your baby’s NICU experience?

“In retrospect the doctors and nurses were trying to help my baby. But due to all those post birth hormones and the fact that I was also very sick, I literally thought the doctors took my baby from me. It was very traumatic.”

” I wished there had been more private spaces at our hospital where I could have been more comfortable while holding our baby and recovering. Also, although I loved the nursing staff for the care they were providing and newborn care aspects, I felt it was lacking in support of breastfeeding.”

Driving away from the hospital without your baby was almost a physical pain for me, like I was leaving half of me there, and just a shell was heading home.

If you knew someone whose baby was getting admitted to the NICU what would be your best advice?  Tips?

“To check in with them!!! To offer to bring them a meal if they are still at the hospital. And if they are home and their baby is in the hospital give them support. Even if they don’t come right out and ask, just a text is great. Even just popping over for some company to help keep their mind off things.”

“Tips- take lots of pictures because you don’t always know what the outcome could be.”

“Speak up for your needs and for your baby’s! Do not hesitate to advocate for your needs. I wish I would have asked for more comfortable areas to sit, I’m sure they would have been able to figure something out but I didn’t want to be a burden. I felt like I would have been able to be there more had I done that.”

I think it’s really cute how they call the babies “NICU graduates” when they leave the NICU. 

What do you think the general public doesn’t understand about parents with babies in the NICU?

“That PTSD can occur after their stay.  The beeping of the monitors, the urgency of the doctors, the critical decisions that can be life altering for your child/family.  Even if parents end up leaving with a baby in their arms, their stay in the NICU changes them.”

“It’s not all premature babies who are in there – Evelyn was full-term and a large baby! I never even thought we’d have a baby in the NICU because she was full-term. But with jaundice that wasn’t going away as fast as it should have, it was definitely the place she needed to be.”

“That even if the baby is the NICU for something seemingly minor, to a new mom and her partner it’s life altering and the scariest! Unless you have been there it’s hard to understand, I think. But check in and don’t just assume everything is fine.”

What would have or did help you feel supported during your baby’s stay?

“Since we didn’t plan for the NICU we didn’t really pack or have anything for a long hospital stay. I ran out of clean clothes and toiletries. My mom had to bring us more clothes. Bringing us food, clothes, and coffee meant the world. Also just visiting so I could have someone to sit with meant the world.”

“The nurses helping me to order meals since I was a breastfeeding mother. Even though my baby was in no position to eat (sedated/ventilation) they helped get me breastfeeding supplies, helped me store my milk with my child’s name on it in the fridge and made sure I was getting enough to eat and drink.”

” A more private space to recover. The hospital did let us stay in our room one night longer (allowing us to have to leave her for just one night), but the hospital was full. I was so thankful that we could stay that first extra night, but it would have been so much better to have some space to be comfortable after I had been released. Also – (sorry for the TMI) – it was the worst to change pads in a hospital public bathroom. It was a little thing but on top of everything else it was just so hard!”

The care and love the nurses had for those babies. You could feel the support and care that the nurses had.

A big thank you to the parents who shared their stories here. Overwhelmingly we can feel how the medical staff is caring and how grateful these parents are to the team that supported their babies. You can also hear in their words how difficult it is as a parent to navigate it all.

Reach out to these people. So bring a new parent a coffee and offer a hug! High five a nurse and thank her for her work! Write that neonatal physician a note reminding them of how many families are grateful for all they do!

by Andrea Stainbrook

You Live, You Learn, You Love Alanis

I am an Alanis fan. Her angst and passion in “You Oughta Know” got me right in the feels as a teen. I listened to Jagged Little Pill on repeat and have followed her career album after album. I love a female role model who is her own self, a little quirky, a little rock and roll, and absolutely genuine.

It’s not a suprise that Alanis is still a role model and is still killin’ it in all things. This summer she announced her pregnancy with her third child. I stumbled upon an article in Self and it was fantastic. Alanis opened up about pregnancy at 45, birth, postpartum depression, and parenthood in the article. Check out the article here.

All of the feelings, struggles, and joys Alanis described is so relatable and so real. If you are looking to hear from another parent on what it is like to go through all of these read on!

Since that article in June Alanis has actually welcomed this new soul earth-side. Announcing on her Instagram, her son, Winter Mercy was born August 8th. Welcome sweet one!

I wish the best for Alanis and her family. I thank her for sharing her path and her emotions on these huge life moments and transitions for her. Don’t be surprised that I love her, for all that she is. I couldn’t help it! It’s all her fault!

To stay up to date with Alanis check out her website. To feel support through pregnancy, birth, and life after baby contact us!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Chelsea Myers

When looking for doula support some qualities you may want to look for are compassionate, warm, reliable, and easy to talk to. Chelsea is all of these things and more! Take a moment to learn why we love Chelsea and you will too!

What is your path to becoming a doula?

After having my son in April 2018 and a positive birthing experience, I began talking to other moms and friends about birth. I soon realized that a lot of women did not have a positive birthing experience like I had and that immediately lit a passion inside of me for wanting to do something in the birthing field.  I thought about becoming a nurse, midwife, an OB…but that just wasn’t what I wanted to do. My sister introduced me to the word doula and my life changed.

What do you love about being a doula?

I love knowing that our work truly makes a difference in a family’s life during one of the most amazing times in their life.  There is only one shot at a birth and I know doulas help to enhance that experience.

Tell us about your family!

My husband Jeremy and I have been married for almost 3 years.  He is in the IT field and works as a Linux Engineer. We decided we wanted to grow our family shortly after being married and our son Lucas was born on 4/4/18.  4 was always my lucky number growing up and will always be my lucky number now. We also have a 9 year old pug named Diesel who we love to death. My family is everything to me and when I am not working I am soaking up every minute with them.

Chelsea, Jeremy, & Lucas <3

If we turned on the radio in your car what would we hear?

It depends on if my son was driving with me last or not.  If he was, it would probably be country or top 40 (for now…he’s only 1, can’t tell me to change the station yet, and actually enjoys car rides).  If he wasn’t, it’s usually 90s/2000s hip hop/rap or a doula podcast.

Who is your role model?

My mom and dad. 

They worked so hard for my brother, sister, and I and made so many personal sacrifices so we could dance, play hockey, and have the usual, expensive childhood stuff.  Knowing what I know now about life and bills and money, I truly don’t know how they did it without going crazy but they did. I am so incredibly thankful for them every single day.

What is your fave thing to do on a day off?

Attempt to sleep in, stay in jammies until lunch, then do something fun in the afternoon like head to the park or Partridge Creek mall.

What are you reading right now?

My book club book- An Anonymous Girl by Green Hendricks.

What is your best piece of advice for expecting families?

Listen to your gut, know that you and what you’re going through are 100% normal, and to lean on your village (which includes your doula).  

As you can see Chelsea is one great woman! Call us today to request Chelsea as your birth doula! 586-960-5993

I don’t want to have sex. Is this normal?

One pregnancy symptom that can surprise some pregnant women is a lack of desire to have sex.

Pregnancy changes our bodies in so many ways. With the hormone changes, and other pregnancy symptoms you may find yourself not wanting to get it on. This can be a bummer for you, or surprising to your partner too. But know it is OK and should eventually pass.

What causes a sex drive to disappear in pregnancy?

Hormones can be a tricky thing in pregnancy. Those pesky pregnancy hormones, like estrogen and progesterone for example, can play a role in ebbing and flowing your sexual desire. Emotions always come into play as well. Depending on what you are encountering and processing during this time it may impede any naturally occurring uptick in libido. Let’s not forget all the unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. It is tough being pregnant. You may feel nauseous just thinking about certain foods. The smells. Oh goodness just the right, or should I say wrong smell can have you running for the toilet. Then there is back pain. Aches and pains in different places. Sleeping is tough so now you’re tired all the time. All of those things are enough to squash any desires of romping between the sheets.

When will I notice a decrease in my sex drive?

This varies. The first trimester can be hard on those who experience many pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue. If those symptoms are more severe it may dampen your interests even further. For some they may not lose any desire in the first trimester. They may even have an increased libido. As the second trimester comes things seem to level off for a little bit and those who felt that increase and they may notice things shift the other direction. That being said, those who felt awful during the first trimester may be finding relief from their pregnancy symptoms in the second trimester and may now be ready to get it on! The 3rd trimester can bring an upswing again for some. But with new aches and pains, swelling, and having a heavy large belly some just don’t wanna.

Tips for those with a decrease in their sex drive.

Know you are not alone. It is super normal to have these dips during pregnancy. Things will change and you won’t be stuck having no desire forever. Talk to your partner about your feelings too. They want you to feel your best and should be understanding that pregnancy can change normal routines. If you don’t want to have sex come up with ideas to connect and be intimate in other ways. Maybe massage! Or take turns drawing things on each other’s backs with your fingers having your partner guess what you are drawing. Get creative or just snuggle and chit chat about what lies ahead.

Like all things in pregnancy and parenthood there are many phases and changes. Having your sex drive wax and wane is normal and common.

Authored by Andrea Stainbrook

For information on doula services and education contact us today!

Is it normal? | Wow! My boobs are huge!

And just like that you have a couple of large hard melons for breasts.

For some after giving birth their body changes from producing colostrum (the thick usually deeper in color, yellow or orange-ish first food your breasts produce) to breastmilk unbeknownst to you and your boobs. The first sign is “look honey there’s actual milk dripping from my nipples!” For others as their supply builds somewhere on or between day 2 and day 7 after birth you look down and cannot believe your eyes! Just when you thought they couldn’t get any bigger……

“WOW! My boobs are huge!”

They may get ginormous. They may feel hard. They may be really uncomfortable. This is known as breast engorgement. It is common and it is normal!

It can sometimes feel alarming to feel such heavy breasts. You feel like you are carrying around a couple of bowling balls!

Signs of breast engorgement:

Boobs that feel: Hard, warm, or overall uncomfortable.

The skin may feel tight and even be shiny.

-Some have felt like their breasts looked like very inflated balloons, melons, or balls.

So you determined yes, these breasts are engorged. Know its OK and there are things you can do to help it. For most this will pass in 24 hours. Sometimes it can last up to 10 days especially if not doing anything to prevent or help it.

What you can do to help:

Frequent feeding if you are nursing. One goal given by Le Leche League International is to breastfeed at least 10 times a day.

Ensure that when your baby is breastfeeding it has a proper latch. If your baby is not latched correctly it may not remove much milk from your breasts. This in turn tells your body to decrease the amount of milk it is making, which isn’t great for your supply.

Massage your breasts before a feed. Massage starting from up high near your collarbone and move downward to your nipples. Do this in a circular motion.

-Warm compresses. Applying heat 5-10 minutes before nursing can help ease some of the milk out and make for a less forceful letdown so your baby can latch on easier. It also often feels good. These are good to use if you are bottle feeding as well as it helps release some milk and reduce some of the fullness. Be mindful of these though as too much heat can cause more inflammation.

Using washcloths you can make a warm or cold compress. For a warm compress simply run it under hot water and wring it out before use. For a cold compress you can make an ice bath in a bowl and dip the towels in, then wring them out.

-Cold compresses. Doing cycles of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off can bring relief. It is not recommended to leave cold compresses on for an extended period of time. It is also a good idea to have a layer of cloth between the cold pack and your skin. One well loved product is Booby Tubes. They heat up or cool down!

Cold cabbage leaf compresses. These are recommended to be used with initial swelling but then to switch to other cold compresses once the swelling has reduced if you are continuing to nurse. It is believed that cabbage can reduce milk supply when overused. Simply place the cabbage in the fridge to chill it. Green cabbage typically doesn’t stain versus the red cabbage. Cut out the stem from the center of the leaves. This will help the leaves to fit nicely on your breasts. Place them on your breasts or secure them in place with a bra. Once they are wilted remove them. If not nursing you can use these more continuously to help dry up a supply. I know this one sounds weird but many swear by it to reduce swelling.

-Speak with your health care professional. If you are trying to dry up your supply and need relief from the engorgement there may be supplements or specific recommendations from your doctor or lactation consultant. Also if the pain is intolerable or you are concerned it is always a good idea to reach out to your care provider.

If you do have engorgement don’t panic! Follow some of the tips above to help you. Boobs are rather magical and do all sort of shifting and changing before and after birth!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Kelly Galle

Who doesn’t love a warm smile and someone always there to laugh with you or get real with you? This is Kelly Galle. Her compassion and heart for new families is huge. Take a moment to learn more about her!

What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?

I love “Moms on Call.” They have books based on the age of your child.  “The Contented Baby” basically taught me how to care for a baby.  I also love “Mama Natural” for pregnancy. 

Tell us about your family!

My husband and I have been married for 3 years. We have two black cats that I brought to the relationship. Then we adopted our miniature schnauzer, Eloise, in 2015. After Eloise we adopted our special needs dog, Tallulah Belle, in 2017. In 2018 we had our son, Harrison.       

Look at those matching pineapple shirts! <3

What do you love about being a doula?

I love that I can be a part of someone’s life during such a special and unique time. I feel honored that families let me in their home and trust me with the thing(s) that matter most to them. 

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families.

In the words of Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, “hold on to your butts!”

But seriously being a new parent can be really hard. It’s OK to not be OK. But remember your well-being still matters. It’s OK to ask for help. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as they say. 

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear?

You would hear a true crime podcast. I’m obsessed with true crime. I really like Wine and Crime and True Crime Garage. 

What are you reading now?

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

What’s your favorite show/movie, vacation, food, hobby?

I love Parks and Rec. I just saw the movie Dumplin’ and I loved it. My favorite vacation was to Belize.  My favorite food is chips and salsa. And I love cleaning, like really love it. 

Who is your role model? 

Rose from Golden Girls or David from Schitts Creek.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

I don’t think parents have a day off. But I’m a homebody so I like to be with my family, order takeout and watch Netflix. 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I would astro-project  because I feel like I could get a lot done while also sleeping. Controlling the weather would be great too. 

What is your favorite song to karaoke?

I don’t karaoke because I care about my fellow humans. But I guess “Wherever, Whenever” by Shakira because I love Shakira’s hair. 

Call us today to ask about Kelly being your Postpartum & Infant Care Doula for your family! We think her curls are up there with Shakira’s 🙂

586-960-5993 or info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

Is it normal? | I want my life back!

It felt like all of a sudden. One moment. It felt like I looked around and realized I had changed. I mean I knew I was changing. I watched my belly grow and I labored for hours. I had been through this once before. I knew my life would never be the same. But I was in it. I was all the feelings. Happy, excited, nervous, and anxious.

Then she was here. She completed our family. So sweet, so squishy and my brain instantly just wanted to care for this new sweet soul. Soon she wasn’t so new. Visitors stopped coming, my husband returned to work. It was just me, this new baby, and my older child. I spent my days trying to meet everyone’s needs. For the most part I loved it! I love being a mom. In the early childhood years it defined me. I was more than happy to let it. They are my world and I was proud to dedicate my time to them.

These little beings who are amazing yet needy also meant going out of the house was work. Trying to get alone time as a couple was hard. I felt like I could never give my first born the attention she needed. Then in one moment seemingly out of the blue….

I wanted my life back.

I thought about what I could be doing if I didn’t have the responsibilities of these kiddos. What could I do on a whim? What new career path could I be down? Where could I be traveling? Who even am I?

It is common and NORMAL to have feelings of returning to a life you once knew. Having a baby is a glorious time, but it is also a huge seismic shift of our daily lives and identities. People feel this shift at different times. It can happen in pregnancy. As your body is changing shape and your daily routines are interfered with. For others, like me, it comes after baby one or two. You feel like you open your eyes and realize motherhood consumed you and you want to feel like yourself again. Your old self.

If you have this moment of “I want my life back” first off know it is OK. Let yourself sit with the feelings. Life is a journey, and on this journey we grow and process feelings. Processing feelings never seems to go away.

Just because you yearn for an older version of yourself doesn’t mean you hate the life you are in. It didn’t for me. I think it can be a way we check in with ourselves. I think it is a normal moment for all of us at different parts of our lives. We are constantly growing and ever changing, in our minds and our bodies.

Here are some ideas to help you through these moments. Don’t shrug them away! They will return. It is good to face your feelings as soon as you are ready to.

-Talk about what you are feeling.

Your partner or a therapist are great people to turn to. Maybe you can talk to your mom or a best friend too.

-Cherish your old moments and old identities and come up with ways to figure out your new version of yourself.

It is good to embrace where you are at and how you can add things in. For example you won’t be a 20 year old staying out late rocking out in mosh pits or dancing til dawn with no care for responsibilities again. Reminisce on that, but then look at where you are at now. Embrace, “I am a mom! I get to snuggle, and get kisses from little ones who think I am the universe. I get to see these little angels grow and discover life.” Man writing that out makes me pumped to be a mom. Anywho you don’t have to shove parenthood away to find new things to add to your sense of self. Bring them together.

-Seek out new activities and goals.

Find something to do just for you. It may mean finding a not so cheap but reliable babysitter. It may mean commitment. Explore new things to add into your life. For me it was yoga and then running. Not only do these things help my brain matter stay sane they are times just for me. Exercise is just one avenue to explore.

-How are you and your partner (if you have one)? Make sure you are checking in with your partner regularly.

Carve out time everyday to have grown-up conversations. After you trade stories about the kids have some real talk. “What was something funny that happened at work?” “What do you want to do this weekend?” “What show should we binge watch on Netflix?” Like all relationships they only grow if we nurture them. We can’t ignore them and just bank on them always being there. Set aside time for one another. Date again! There are great books out there to help get the conversations flowing and the relationships growing. This is one I picked up and love, “8 dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” by Julie Schwartz Gottman & John Gottman.

-Meditate.

Find that quiet, happy place, and let your mind rest. Stink at meditating? Never tried it? No worries! You can pick up a book or follow some guidance from a video on the internet. Like all things, the more you practice the easier it becomes. It is good if you can incorporate time to clear your head daily, even if just for a few minutes.

-Practice self love.

You gotta love you. You are pretty awesome. I know we may have never met but trust me, I have good instincts and you are super cool. Doing the things above can help you love yourself more. When you can get to a place of loving and accepting yourself fully, you can then tackle most everything big or small.

Want to know the coolest part of finding your next identity and really loving yourself? Your kids will learn from you. They are watching you as you are their ultimate teacher. Seeing someone explore themselves and doing things that make them better humans is inspiring. What a fabulous thing to do as a parent!

So if you are currently in the “I want my life back” head-space, take some deep breaths. This is normal. You are not alone in ever feeling this way. Hopefully the tips above can help you too.

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook