This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
In the early trappings of parenthood; with the lonely, sleepless nights and the long, caffeine fuelled days, it can be difficult to remember if you brushed your own teeth in the last 24 hours and sent out the birth announcement with the correct spelling of the name you agonised over. So to be dealing with an autoimmune disease on top of all that can be overwhelming.
Here are some tips, from a new mum with psoriasis, to help you have a few less things to worry about in those newborn days.
While baby is still a bump be sure to add psoriasis to your pregnancy notes. Ensure your midwife, and any other professionals involved in your pregnancy care, are aware of your skin condition, any recent changes and any medication or treatment you are currently using.
Look After Yourself
The phrase “You can’t fill from an empty cup” springs to mind. Yes, you have a new tiny bubba that is wholly dependant on you to cater for it’s every whim but you also need some TLC. It’s true that you can be so consumed with baby you will forget to brush your own teeth but sometimes something as simple and mundane as washing your face and freshening your breath can make you feel more human, if not completely back to yourself.
Even though your priorities have changed, you still need to keep on top of your own medical needs; as well as registering the birth, trying to recall if the health visitor said morning or afternoon and if you are on dirty nappy 9 or 10. If you have dermatology check ups or appointments due around the same time as baby is due, think about this in advance and plan accordingly to ensure that you don't miss important appointments and you continue to get the care and support that you need. If you are one of the lucky ones and baby can be left with a loved one, then use this appointment time to skip out of the house, grab a takeaway coffee on the way and enjoy the peaceful, alone time of a surgery waiting room to gather your thoughts.
Nappies and naps aside, you may not have an actual appointment to attend for your skin but instead you may have a prescription that needs to be collected. Ensure you make time for this. Otherwise ask friends or family to collect it on your behalf.
Those first few days are a real whirlwind of emotions. Highs and lows, with every mother and birth being unique. You don’t know how you’ll feel. You don’t know how the birth will go. So be kind to yourself. You are allowed to feel down. You are allowed to be teary or upset. Managing your own expectations can be crucial to your own well being. Keeping a check of your emotions, which is different to controlling them, but simply noting and accepting how you’re feeling can mean you face your feelings head on and help you prepare for the next swing or dip in emotions. In turn this can help to manage your psoriasis. Asking for help, talking to someone you trust about your feelings, admitting to yourself that ‘this is hard" is self preserving, not weak. You are not a bad mum if you need 10 minutes to yourself to put some moisturiser on your skin. OR if you really, really need to sleep then ask a loved one to look after baby and let you have that nap you crave. You have needs too and your body has been through a lot!
People love a baby; they love talking about babies, holding babies, staring at babies and asking about baby’s eating and sleeping patterns the minute they are born. You will quickly find, you play second fiddle from now on. So when people are keen to come around and help, assuming you are ready to accept visitors, take the help. Leave your housework to others, let them do your dishes or fold your laundry. Ask them to do little things around the house in exchange for baby cuddles; they’ll do it. Or before they even visit, ask them to bring a dish or do some batch cooking to keep you going for a few days.
No I don’t mean directly after the birth. But days, weeks down the line when the stream of visitors has subsided and the 'Welcome' balloons are looking a little wilted. Think about speaking to your health visitor, doctor or dermatologist about the management of your psoriasis since you are no longer pregnant. If you are planning to breastfeed this is another important factor to discuss with your doctor when thinking about which treatments are suitable for use and which should be avoided.
Most importantly, enjoy this special time and remember to look after yourself as well as your new addition.
UK/IE MAT-24211 Date of Preparation: April 2019
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.