During my second postpartum journey, I started realizing the extreme postpartum PMS could be improved by scheduling. With my first son, my cycle started back at 5 weeks. With our second it started back 10 weeks after giving birth. I was experiencing symptoms very similar to depression, but not all the time, and not really based on external circumstances. An easy week would leave me feeling completely overwhelmed, but then a hard week would be easily chomped through. I couldn’t understand these fluctuations until learned about energy patterns in connection to female cycle seasons.
We spent several months eating crap for periods of time. I would beat myself up for not having the energy to do laundry. Even the energy exerted to snuggle babies and have my body touching another human all day left me exhausted by the end. (Though, postpartum wrapping did help!) Then without warning, it would seem to all snap back in place. I was super mom, doing laundry, extra activities, inviting guests and all the things. It was exhausting for both of us to never know what kind of day/week it was going to be like.
Recognizing Patterns that Exaggerate Postpartum PMS
I started realizing these phases actually came and went like tides. About two weeks every month I was very low energy. The other two weeks, I could operate nearly at full capacity even on low sleep. The extremes that the post-birth experience helped these patterns to be more exaggerated and easier to notice. My husband and I started taking steps based on these observations to build a monthly schedule. This allowed us to know what to expect and improve the quality of life for our whole family.
This also lent its self to a pattern of predictability for my husband. Knowing that he would help out more those two weeks, to allow me to rest and that I would pull more the other two weeks. This kept him from feeling that he would be doing extra work forever, and me from feeling guilty over the things I wasn’t getting done. We were able to recognize and embrace these seasons together and embrace the beauty of each one together. (thankfully he has always wanted a family and embraces this season with me as necessary to add little members to our family)
Building a Postpartum PMS Friendly Calendar
It was at this time I started setting up my social calendar to reflect this knowledge as well. If I couldn’t feed my little family well during my winter and autumn phase it wasn’t the time to take on extra and invite others. If I couldn’t chatter and love my own family well those weeks, it wasn’t the time to take on babysitting. We would plan to invite guests into our home for two weeks per month and set aside for time with just the kids and I the other two weeks. This allowed me to be an energetic and cheerful hostess at the time that I most needed a community to socialize with.
I wish I could say learning all this makes me look forward to the next baby and not being quite as buried, but honestly, the extremes of postpartum and nursing mother life are a challenge. Growing a small human into a toddler is all consuming and beautiful work. I encourage you to look at my encouragement “What I want to Remember from a Birth Year”.
Gentleness During a Birth Year
I think I am coming to see “Birth Years” as a winter phase in general. This is a time for gentleness. A time to ask for help. A time to set aside as entirely the year of that baby. To focus all the love
It’s vital for our daughters to see us performing nourishment and understanding our own bodies. They need to grow up embracing their own thoughts and feelings. We want our children to see the Gospel in motherhood! It is also vital for our sons to see a woman who has created a small life, loved and cared for. He must understand that this is his contribution as a man and father to the life he created! We are showing them the way that the family unit is to operate in health.
Here is some other articles I’ve written on this topic…