It’s one of those things that sneaks up on you. You’ve been building up to this for months, all the excitement of welcoming your new little bundle of joy into the world, and it’s finally here. You’ve made it through those first nights that are flooded with blissful hormones, extreme exhaustion and spent hours just watching that beautiful little baby.
After a little while, the visitors get back to doing what they normally do, your partner goes back to work, everyone settles back into their normal. But things are different for you. Your normal has changed.
Pre-baby it was easy to leave the house. You’d just get up and go. You could do things whenever you wanted. Pee whenever you wanted. Duck out and grab some groceries or take away. Head out to a cafe for lunch. A kind of freedom you didn’t even realise you had.
But after your baby arrives, it can be easy to start feeling trapped with a newborn. Getting out of the house seems like a marathon effort. It feels like you have to take all the things you know, just in case. This little baby now relies on you for everything, it can be a little overwhelming.
I promise this feeling will pass. It won’t last forever and you’ll soon find your groove. But until then, there are ways you can cope with feeling trapped with a newborn and start to feel a little more independent again.
1 – Take Moments Of Time Alone
I know it seems impossible right now, the thought of actually having time alone, but you can find little moments with a bit of coordination. Get hubby on board and let him know you need some time alone and some ‘zero touch’ time. You don’t have to spend hours on your own. A bit of time here and there can really be refreshing.
You can start by having a disruption-free shower. Make sure your hubby knows he is only to disturb you in an emergency – anything else he can handle. You could even do a nice hot bath if that’s your kind of thing. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or an hour, every moment helps.
If you really need some space to breathe, leave your baby home with hubby and get out of the house. 10 minutes of alone time can do wonders. Don’t stress about making yourself presentable, and you don’t even have to interact with anyone else if you don’t want. Go sit in a park for 30 minutes and enjoy the quiet.
2 – Ask For Help
You know all of those people who say ‘if you need anything, let me know’? Let them know! Ask for help and start delegating. I know this is a big deal for some (myself included) but you don’t have to do everything on your own.
Asking a friend to make dinner for you, or to even come around and just sit with you and chat can do you the world of good.
Also, make sure you’re communicating to your partner what it is you need. All of this is new for them too and they may not know what it is you need help with. Ask. If you want them to hold the baby for a while because you’re feeling all touched out, then ask.
You’ve got a much better chance of receiving what you want and need if you ask for it.
3 – Outsource Tasks
Asking for help doesn’t mean you just have to ask friends and family for help. It means you can hire help and outsource the tasks that are time-consuming and easy to get someone else to do.
Hire a cleaner to come in once a week (or even more), pay someone to do your ironing and find someone to cook healthy meals and snacks for you so you’ve got food ready when you need it. There are so many sites you can post for help on (like AirTasker) and you don’t have to commit to long-term if you don’t want.
4 – Ensure You’re Eating Well
When you’re feeling trapped with a newborn at home it can be difficult to eat well. Just the thought of going out and buying groceries can be so overwhelming so eating whatever is on hand seems the easiest option. But eating poorly isn’t going to give you the nutrition for energy that you need – and with a newborn baby, you need a whole lot of energy.
Order your groceries online and get them delivered, get hubby to help by cooking meals and meal planning, or refer to #2 and #3 and ask for help or hire it out.
Keeping healthy food on hand is so important – when you eat poorly, you feel like crap and it’s easier to feel more overwhelmed and stuck.
5 – Get Out Of The House
Here’s the thing, yes it feels so frickin overwhelming, and yes it feels like it is the biggest task and takes so much energy, but the only way you’re going to get more comfortable in doing it is by doing it.
This doesn’t mean you have to get out every day or be out for hours on end. But set little trips and then be sure to acknowledge how awesome you are for doing them.
Also, prepare yourself so these outings are easier. Have two bags you can grab to take out of the house – one that has ALL the things, another that just has the essentials (nappies, wipes and a change of clothes) that you can grab for quick trips. You don’t need to pack everything and the kitchen sink. Buy a wrap (like this one) or a carrier (like this one) to make grocery shopping easier. We rarely use a pram or stroller in the first few months.
If you’re going out to meet a friend, you’ll be even more motivated to get out of the house and you’ll have a set time you need to be there by.
Most importantly, don’t push yourself to the point where you’re having panic attacks. And be mindful if this ‘trapped’ feeling lasts more than a few weeks – it could be a sign of Post Natal Depression and something that you should definitely talk to your healthcare provider about.
This feeling will pass, if you want to stay home with your baby then by all means do that, but if you’re feeling trapped with a newborn then try a few of these things and see if they can help you feel better and happier and able to enjoy that gorgeous little baby of yours even more.