I’ve always been a bit of a planner. Organising others is actually my day job. And I truly believe that a good routine is really helpful when battling PND, and for motherhood in general.
When you first bring your baby home routine is almost impossible. They eat when they want to eat (constantly), they sleep when they want to sleep (daytime only) and you basically have no idea where you are or what on earth is going on (or was that just me?). But when I was really struggling at around nine weeks postnatal my best mate (bona fide supermum to three boys aka my hero) kept saying that getting Caterpillar into a bedtime routine would really help. I was crippled with anxiety and the idea of sleep training even in the vaguest sense filled me with dread, but I bit the bullet and she was right. A few days of bedtime stress and Caterpillar was going to sleep at 7pm without a struggle. I had my evenings back and some precious time in front of the box without a fussing, tired baby in my arms, and my husband and I had each other back (as much as there was to have of me when unwell with PND). There are plenty of opinions and methods for dealing with young babies’ sleep and I’m definitely no expert so I can only tell you what worked for us, and still does to this day (mostly!)
Then came my own bedtime routine. Dealing with insomnia left me panicked but a simple routine before bed is one of the many techniques that helps to improve my sleep.
As my recovery continued, routine continued to be a big factor. It wasn’t even intentional really, I guess it was just something I automatically did to try to gain back some control. I had a weekly routine built around various baby classes I attended, therapy appointments and regular visits with family, and this structure helped me to feel safer somehow. It still does. I’m not obsessive about it, and we still have plenty of spontaneity in our lives, but just having a rough idea what the week ahead will entail and having regular small tasks to carry out each day, really helps me to feel better.
Our current routine is less structured but we still have one, and it’s now as much for Caterpillar as for me. I think it helps to make kids feel more secure when they know in advance when they will be doing certain activities. And it helps reduce tantrums and stress (slightly!) which helps me to manage my recent flare up of anxiety and my worries about being a mum
Has routine helped you?