Postpartum Talk: Surviving the Baby Blues

 

(Normally this is more than I would share about myself, but during the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had several women reach out to me and warn me to be prepared to feel some level of sadness or depression after my baby was born.  I thought they were crazy - how could I be sad when my little bundle of joy was here? But lately I have experienced this weird sadness in the midst of immense happiness, and many woman I've talked to have said they went through the same thing, and it's nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. I hope by sharing what I've been going through some women out there going through it realize its okay to feel this way, in fact to be prepared to feel this way, and that it helps to talk about it.)

 

At the hospital as we were being discharged our nurse told Tom to be prepared for me to be really sad and cry a lot when we got home. I still thought it was a myth, I was so happy and couldn't imagine not being elated with how in love with my new baby I was.

 

The first few days home from the hospital were great.  Tom and I spent hours just staring at our baby, she was sleeping decently, and we just enjoyed each others presence.

 

When Maddie Grace turned one week old it hit me.  All of a sudden I started just crying uncontrollably all the time.  Yes I was happy and in love with my baby, but at the same time I was overwhelmingly sad!  I wanted to freeze time and keep my baby this size forever.  I so badly wanted my sweet snuggly newborn to be a sweet snuggly newborn forever. Every time someone would post on my Facebook or tell me how quickly babies grow up I would burst into tears (and yes this still happens sometimes).  I'm sure people don't say these things to cause harm, but my hormones are out of whack, I'm not sleeping great at night, and I just couldn't help it.  I also began feeling extreme homesickness and missing my parents like crazy.  Tom was supportive, would comfort me when I broke down crying, and talk to me about my feelings, but the sadness was still there.

 

At just under two weeks postpartum I am still experiencing the baby blues and know that it takes time to go away.  Here is what has helped me feel better when the blues hit:

 

Talking about it

Seriously.  Although talking to Tom helped, I needed more support.  I finally broke down just a few days ago and called both of my parents crying.  No, my dad couldn't fully relate to what I was going through, but it still felt good to share it with him.  Talking with someone who had been there done that, aka my mother, was really nice.  Just to be told that I'm not crazy for having these thoughts was a relief.  My mom told me that the great thing about babies is they just get better with every stage. Watching them grow up is amazing, and that it doesn't really go by that quickly, but at just the right speed.  This was exactly what I needed to hear.

 

Journaling

After the baby blues kicked in I grabbed a notebook, and started journaling twice a day in the form of letters to Maddie Grace.  This has been therapeutic for me.  I write down everything she does and every moment that I want to remember with her.  One day I hope to share these with her.

 

Skin to skin 

Because is there any better way to enjoy a newborn?  Take your shirt off and do some good skin to skin with baby.  It will at least make you feel a little better.  My baby is laying on me right now as a matter of fact, and I love it.  I'm getting this post done and cherishing sweet moments with her.  Win-win situation.

 

Getting out of the house

I've been following what the pediatrician's rules way to closely.  Yesterday my mom told me that my mental health is just as important as keeping baby away from germs.  And I think she may be right.  So yesterday after Tom got off work we packed up the baby and went to the park just down the street from our house.  There's a beautiful lake there so we just walked around the lake, and watched the ducks.  I couldn't walk too much because I'm still experiencing a lot of hip pain, but it was great just to have a change of scenery.  Plus, I didn't feel like we were exposing baby to any more germs than we do walking around the neighborhood, so I didn't have to panic about that.

 

Limiting visitors

This is one thing I've read helps with the baby blues that I haven't been good about following.  I just want to show off my little baby to all my friends and family!  A dear friend advised me not to allow visitors the first two weeks unless they brought food or cleaned for us, and I really wish I would have listened to her.  So if you are expecting a newborn, follow that rule.  It's awesome to have food brought over or to have someone help with the cleaning so you can focus on your baby.  But having too many visitors will stress you out, throw off your routine, and even make you jealous that so many other people are getting to hold your baby instead of you.  Plus, if you are like me you may find yourself worried that people are going to bring germs, or judge you for the house being dirty, which is not what you need to be worried about.


Doing things you enjoyed before baby

Even if it means putting baby in a swing or sling and doing some work around the house.  As much as I want to cuddle with baby all day, throwing her in the sling and doing some cleaning yesterday helped me out a lot.  For me even writing on here helps.  As I mentioned above it's easy to do while cuddling with my baby or even nursing her, and I enjoy it.  So find something you can do while snuggling with baby or while carrying baby and do it!

{Maddie Grace's first trip to the park.}

 

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