Postpartum Stress & Your Dog

Jennifer Shryock's picture

Your first days, weeks and even months can be an emotional roller coaster!

Having just experienced the postpartum stage again for the fourth time, I can honestly say that sometimes even preparing does not seem to help. You are preparing for something you have no idea how it will present itself. Your birth is unpredictable, and so is postpartum.

I thought I was prepared as I had had 3 other children. Kelsyann proved to be different from birth through our first months. She was high needs and nursing was challenging. I felt so incapable at times of caring for her and our other 3 children.

There were definitely times I felt as if our dogs and cats were more trouble then they were worth. Yep...me the dog lover was overwhelmed by it ALL.

Many families contact me during this vulnerable time in their lives. I encourage all new families to allow themselves time to transition into this new chapter with their animal family members. Yes, things are different BUT different is not a bad thing. Different means opportunities to grow for all of you.

Having pets offers so many learning opportunities for your baby as they grow. As your baby grows your animals will benefit from more love, more fun and MORE TREATS!

It is a win/win but in the moments during the postpartum period it can feel completely overwhelming to have one more thing to care for.

Please take a moment to breathe and look forward.

  • You will get through this stage and can include and keep your furry companions.
  • You may not be able to keep up the "old routines" but you will make new ones.
  • Be patient with yourself and allow the time it takes to recover and bond with your baby. Your companions will be there for you all the way and appreciate the time you spend with them.

Do not feel you must give up or re-home your companion. This is an option many consider when overwhelmed or feeling incapable. Please know that many families I speak to who have made this choice regret it and say that they were just overwhelmed. If you are feeling overwhelmed reach out to a professional for support and resources.

Dogs & Storks has a list of such professionals and we are always happy to support you and answer your questions. Also check out The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants for dog and cat behavior consultants.

The lessons and love our companions offer is amazing and worth fighting for. Stay strong and let us help you if you need it.