Turn the Blues Green
I was exhausted after the long labor that gave birth to my first child. My body and mind both were adjusting to the new reality of motherhood. I had a tiny, impossibly fragile life that weighed all of 7 pounds in my arms. She now actively depended on me for her survival. I was totally in love and utterly overwhelmed all at once.
That’s about when the nurse came in and told me to turn on the TV and watch a video about newborns. They called it the Purple Crying video, and in it I was told that there would be moments where my baby would be completely inconsolable, crying nonstop, maybe for hours at a time. The goal of the video was to prepare me for these impossible moments and tell me not to harm my child, but to ask for help, take a break, or otherwise give myself space. The result was more overwhelming than they probably intended.
I finished watching the video and looked over at my mom, who had come to help coach me through the birth process and to spend the first days of my daughter’s life at my side. She could read my thoughts without me even saying a word. “Don’t worry. You can just take the baby outside. It always works and it will make you both feel better,” she told me. I must have given her a bit of a skeptical glance because she went on to tell me how she used to rely on the leaves on the bushes in front of my childhood home to distract me, or how my dad would carry me outside before bed on summer nights and hold me over his shoulder while he watered the plants, letting the rushing water and evening breeze lull me to sleep.
I didn’t know it yet, but my mom had just given me the single most useful piece of advice about having a baby that I would ever get and it was SO simple – just go outside!
Just Go Outside
That advice has stuck with me. I now have two daughters. Both have been walked outside whenever they were too fussy to calm down, too wired to sleep, or just cranky and in need of a change of scenery. As a mother, I also came to crave the peace of the outdoors. That deep breath of fresh air is like no other when it comes to soothing nerves, calming my postpartum baby blues, or lowering my blood pressure after a particularly challenging parenting moment.
It is the advice that has been my beacon as I think about what I want Hike it Baby to be and to accomplish in the years to come.
The simple fact is I want more moms, dads, parents, and caregivers to know that a single step outside can be the solution to so many of the challenges of early parenthood and life with a new baby.
Once you know the trick, it’s amazing how quickly you and your children will want to seek more time outside. And it’s a trick EVERY parent should know about, right?
Turn the Blues Green
Last year, with the help of a really dedicated team of staff and volunteers, we were able to pull together a new program – Turn the Blues Green. This program introduces new mamas to the benefits of getting outside with their newborn and the positive affect it can have on both mother and baby’s mental and physical health.
With generous support from SCL Health’s St Joseph Hospital in Denver, CO, we were able to create our first-ever new mama welcome booklet. It’s full of great advice, tips, and tricks from Hike it Baby mamas to help share the meaningful gift a step outside can be to a new family. It also includes some journaling prompts to help moms prepare and process during their shift into motherhood. Personally, I think it’s a pretty amazing resource and I am so glad we will be able to share it with more families so they can have my favorite piece of baby advice at their fingertips.
This year, we are excited to continue to grow our program. We know the importance of maternal mental health, and were thrilled with the success of the program at St Joseph Hospital in Denver! We have also partnered with three Intermountain Health locations in Montana to bring Turn the Blues Green programming including booklets, hospital staff led hikes and Wander Walks to all three hospitals. We held family workshops in Oregon where we were able to use our Turn the Blues Green programming with several new mamas and their babies. After these successes, we are ready to continue to Turn the Blues Green in new communities, and we need your help to provide these mamas with resources, gear, facilitated support and community by donating to our Everyday Giving campaign.
This Mother’s Day we have one wish – that every new parent has a chance to know about the healing benefits of time outside with their newborn. We thank you in advance for your generosity!
Coming full circle, we’re proud to share about our Turn the Blue Green program for Mother’s Day. So Mam, this one’s for you. Your amazing advice and support is the spark that’s helping moms everywhere as they take the leap into motherhood. Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do to make my life as a mom healthier, easier, and more enjoyable! Thank you for showing me how to bring it outside!
Jessica Carrillo Alatorre, Executive Director, Hike it Baby