Monday, October 17, 2016

My Postpartum Experience


I've been working on this post for a while. Of course it's hard to find the time with a 3 month old, but also because I feel like I'm still processing some of this postpartum stuff. I had a pretty easy, healthy pregnancy and just about a picture perfect labor and delivery, so I guess something had to be tough for me, right?! Postpartum rocked my world. And it still is some days. But I wanted to share my experience for myself, for anyone that's currently going through the baby blues and for my pregnant friends that just want to be educated. Because that was my thing - I didn't really realize that these 'baby blues' feelings were normal and I think that made it so much harder for me to get through them. 

I was all about studying up on post baby life in those last few weeks of pregnancy and I had read everything on what to expect after giving birth. I had the pads and hemorrhoid cream ready, I was familiar with how to do a sitz bath, I was ready to ask for stool softeners at the hospital (so glamorous, I know), but I didn't really come across anything that did much more than acknowledge how out of touch you will feel with your new life and how nasty those little hormones can be. I wish I had read something like this so I knew it was OKAY! The hardest part was how hard I was on myself for feeling this way, the guilt... like I was the only terrible mother out there that was having a hard time accepting this new life I was living... but that is so not true and I should have given myself way more grace than I did. Lots of women struggle with the baby blues and it is completely 100% normal!

It all started the day we got home from the hospital. I think I was going on pure adrenalin and a natural high when we were there, not to mention the help and care of the nurses and my doctor. But then we got home. And real life set in. Within an hour of being home, Nick was out mowing the lawn, his mom who stayed with us for a few days was out grocery shopping, and I was alone with my sweet, sleeping baby. And when I say alone, I have never, ever felt so alone. Everyone else started to go back about their normal business, but not me. My world had just been completely rocked and I didn't even know what to do with myself.

I have always sucked at dealing with change, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that this was going to be tough, but it did. You hear everyone say it's the best time in your life! soak it all up! aren't you so happy?! and while yes, all of those things were so true, it was also so. freaking. hard. and I felt like a terrible person for not just being the happiest person on the planet with my beautiful, healthy new baby girl. I was overwhelmed, scared, tired, my body felt like it had been run over by a pick up truck, anxious and had to make sure she was still breathing 500 times a day, and did I mention exhausted?

Of course it was okay that I was feeling all those things, but when you're dealing with an epic hormonal crash (and going on no sleep for like 3 days with no end in sight), it's hard to be rational and realize this. You can't think straight and every emotion is felt at the extreme. My overwhelming emotion was of sadness those first couple of weeks. I was so in love with Haddie and I felt like Nick and I had never been closer after bringing her into the world, but I just couldn't shake the sadness. I was sad because I missed my old life - the quiet evenings of relaxing, being able to get together with friends, having time to even just take a shower ha! - I felt awful that Brady was acting up out of desperation for the attention he was so used to getting, I sobbed so so hard at 7:16pm that next Saturday when she turned one week old, extreme guilt over not being able to breastfeed... I just couldn't get it together guys. 

I would sit next to Nick on the couch and just cry because I felt so alone. I honestly hadn't spent much time around babies before having my own, so I thought this inconsolable crying/no sleeping/not leaving the house was how the rest of my life was going to be and I was having a hard time processing this. And then on top of that, I would feel terrible for wondering why I just couldn't be happy?! I had a healthy, happy baby, a beautiful home to take her back to, an understanding husband, so many friends and family that were excited for us. Why couldn't I enjoy it? (Hint: hormones)

Having a new baby is so hard and there is literally no way to prepare yourself for the changes thrown at you. All you can do is buckle down and get through it. I don't know if I've ever prayed more than in that first month of her life. Take it one day at a time. Rely on your support system and TALK EVERYTHING OUT. This helped me so much. Evenings were the worst - I would get anxiety about the night to come - and I think I cried through dinner for at least 3 weeks straight. But Nick was amazing. He knew all the right things to say and would remind me that we could get through this and we could do this and it would be okay. 'Everything is a phase' has become my life motto and oh, that is true when it comes to motherhood!

My hormones and emotions did start to level out after about 4 weeks, slowly at first. I would realize I had made it through a whole day without crying and that was a huge accomplishment. I started to feel more like myself again, we would get a little more sleep each night and we started to get into a little routine (well, as much of a routine as you can with a newborn!). Haddie began having more alert periods and it was so much to be able to interact with her. And those smiles! They make everything worth it. 

It was a really rough first month - so much harder than I could have ever imagined it would be - but it wasn't all bad. For every bad moment, there were twenty great ones. I realized how many amazing and supportive people I have in my life, Nick and I grew even closer throughout all of this (we would just stare at her and be like we did this! we made this!) and of course, my sweet girl. I can't even begin to describe how she has completely made my life. I didn't even know I could love anything this much, but she's truly opened my eyes to what's important in this world. We may have had a bit of a tough start, but I wouldn't have changed a thing.

I don't know if there was any point in writing this, other than to get these feelings out and hopefully it'll help anyone that's going through this to know these feelings are normal, and totally understandable. A lot of this is also for myself because I'm sure I'll go through this with my next baby, but next time I'll have this post to come back on and remind myself that it's going to be okay and I will get through this. If you're going through the baby blues right now, take comfort in the fact that they WILL pass! You will get into a routine, you will sleep again :) Feel free to email me if you ever want to chat, because that makes all the difference in the world - being able to talk through your feelings. I'm here for you mama and you've got this!

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49 comments

  1. Thank you so much for writing this and spreading the awareness of PPD! My first appointment with the high risk specialist, one of the Doctors reminded me that it is completely normal to have the baby blues and it's almost not normal to not have them at all. I think she wanted to remind me of this to prepare me for the possibility of PPD and because I was off of my antidepressant at that point. My doctor talked about putting me back on it 6 weeks before delivery but last month, my depression and anxiety was just so bad. I didn't feel like myself and felt sad for no reason. Because I was in the third trimester, it was safe for me to get back on my antidepressant and with my Doctor's approval, I went back on it. This particular medication takes over a month to really get it your system. So I don't 100% feel it yet but I haven't been crying and have noticed little positive changes. I know that it is still a very real possibility I could have PPD after I give birth but at least I'm taking the steps to try to prevent it and educate myself on it.

    http://dogmomchic.blogspot.com/

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  2. I think it's incredibly brave of you to put this out there, for yourself and for others. Its not easy talking about the less than glamorous parts of life, and so much of our world right now is making things look picture perfect (or it seems that way, especially in blog world where pictures are staged, and the like). But life is messy. You're not the first friend of mine who has experienced this, and felt those same feelings that you did, but were surprised by them because no one really talks about it. Im glad you're ending the silence around it so that others can relate and know they aren't alone.

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  3. Katie thank you for being brave enough to share your thoughts / experiences with postpartum with us. I love that the people around you (family, friends and nick) supported you to help you get through those scarier times! Realizing that you made beautiful and perfect Haddie...that is truly amazing! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  4. It is the craziest feeling to be happy/sad/so in love/so scared/loney and everything else all at once. I remember people being in and out of my house all day and truly never feeling more lonely. I'm so glad you shared your experience - I know it will help someone else!! Thank you for trusting us with your feelings <3

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  5. Girl, I applaud you for sharing this. SO many people just assume that life with a newborn is supposed to be pure happiness but it's so much more. Like you, I don't do with change well. At all. So I feel like I'd be right there with you in your feelings. I'm glad you're feeling better and things are getting back to a routine for you! You have a beautiful baby girl! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  6. Oh girl I remember those feelings so, so well. I cried every night anticipating the nighttime cluster feedings that were still hours away. Those postpartum hormones made me feel bat shit crazy, thank god for my husband! So many mamas can relate to this, I'm so glad you shared!

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  7. I feel like I wrote this because I have a draft sitting on my blog that I've been nervous to post. I have had a very similar postpartum experience. My mother-in-law would tell me everyday "this too shall pass" and it made me feel less guilty about my feelings, she had PPD so she was a great resource. You're 100% correct in that no one really talks about "baby blues" and I love that you shared your experience :)

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  8. This post couldn't come at a better time as I sit here 3 days past my due date frustrated, as I know you know the feeling all too well! Thank you so much for this raw, real, and beautiful post. I can't wait to meet baby girl, but know that the days and weeks following are going to be the toughest we've ever faced. I don't deal well with change, especially big changes, but I will get through it and it will all be so worth it. Sending you lots of *hugs* sweet friend <3
    Green Fashionista

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  9. You are incredible wonderful mom and woman. Thank you for speaking up about your experience because it seems no one does on here unless it's roses and butterflies. Life is real and messy and sad and crazy and not just staged for others. LOVE YOU!

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  10. This is such a great post and rings so true for so many new mothers! You are/were definitely NOT alone in those feelings! I will say going from 0-1 child really rocked my world and I definitely felt the 'baby blues' a lot more the first time. This time around, I kind of knew what to expect and I made sure to surround myself with people that I love and that support me as much as possible for those first few tough weeks and that definitely helped! Also, being completely honest with your partner about how you are feeling helps as well. It is so hard because, like you said, you feel so guilty for feeling sad! You are a great mother and Haddie is the cutest! So many great memories and moments/milestones to look forward to that first year!!

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  11. Aww, so sweet and honest of you to write this. I think you'll be helping more than you even realize just by sharing this. It probably helped me and I haven't even gone through it yet! I think it's hard for anyone to go from one day everything is a certain way and then the next -boom, it's completely different. Not to mention hormones, oh my god. Those are for real! I sometimes feel so crazy, I've cried twice this morning to be honest, but they just take over! It clouds my judgment totally and makes me so irrational. So anyways. I just had to comment and say thank you for writing this ;) And trust me, you're never ever alone.

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  12. #1. That picture is so sweet. #2. What a great mama you are! #3. I can't 100% relate because I have not yet had a sweet baby, but I feel like this is so on point with how so many mamas feel! I think some feel like it's taboo to discuss the real truths of being a new mom so sharing this will touch someone, I have no doubt!

    Zelle
    Southern Style

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  13. Aren't writing posts like these so therapeutic? I felt the exact same way you did. I dreaded night time, I was a mess when Theo went back to work and I had to be all alone, I felt guilty for being so sad and crying all the time, even writing this is making me tear up because that first month was a dark time in my life. Luckily it is such a short time and so many fun days are ahead and you get into a routine and the baby interacts more and you settle into your new normal. But there is no doubt it is a hard time at first and you feel like you're the only way feeling this way. I feel like in person women don't talk about it as much and act like everything is perfect but that's why blogs are so awesome because people are able to express themselves more and are much more relatable. Now that Oliver is one I think back a lot to where I was this time last year and how I don't miss that time at all! It does make me nervous for the second baby but everyone tells me it's just so much easier and you know what to expect. And nothing is permanent, although as a new mom it's hard not to think that way! I'm glad you wrote this post, I know you told me you've been working on it. I think it'll help a lot of new moms who feel scared and alone.

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  14. Such a brave and beautiful post. My husband and I are talking about trying to have kids in the next few months and I am absolutely terrifed. I know it'll be a huge adjustment and I'm afraid that it'll be too much change for us. We've been together since highschool and its been just the 2 of us... I can't imagine how I'll feel when/if there is another person in our house. I'm afraid that I'll hate the actual pregnancy too... and how it'll change my body. I have family and friends that LOVED being pregnant but I can't picture myself being like that. I guess I won't know until it happens.. which is equally as terrifying. I am going to book mark this post for the future just in case I need it some day!

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  15. Thank you so much for being honest and open. I went through this as well and it was so nice to talk to people. I am nervous about our 2nd one.
    Thank you agin for everything you posted
    Chelsea @ http://thewilliamsjourney1.blogspot.com

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  16. This is such a fantastic post - thank YOU for being open and honest about your post-pregnancy experience. You're right that I've heard that this is completely normal, but there isn't a whole lot of discussion out there about it! You're lucky that you have such a great support team around you and a fantastic husband to get you through all of it, and I'm happy to hear that you're finally coming out of "the fog" of it all!

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  17. I really love that you put your feelings and struggles out there to share. I know several people who have experienced the baby blues on some level and I think the more it is talked about, the more women it will help. Especially when you start to feel alone or guilty with the feelings. Or like you should feel some other way. I am glad you worked through it. I know I have a hard time with change too, and I will try to remember to give myself some grace. <3

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  18. Katie, this might very well be my favorite post that you have ever written! Thank you for being so raw and candid and more than anything, honest. I'm due with our first baby in March and honestly, I'm scared shitless! My husband works a lot and I will be on my own a lot, so that will make it even harder. I'm so worried that I will want nothing more than my old life back. These are all things we considered before we decided to have kids, but like you said, there is nothing that can prepare you for it! So thank you for being brutally honest. I try to keep a positive mindset and tell myself that all of these things (even the feelings I fear the most) are all normal. And that it won't last forever. Here goes nothing, I guess! Hadley is the sweetest, you are doing great mama!

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  19. I know momma appreciate posts like this - real life. Makes others feel like they aren't alone.
    I'm so glad you had a great support time & an understanding husband. Makes such a difference.

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  20. i am so sorry you went through this girl, but thank you so much for sharing. you've definitely helped someone, probably multiple someones. i know i feel a bit more prepared, but you can remind me when the time comes ;) but really, thank you for being honest. there are so many posts/articles out there about how easy and perfect it is, but that's not real life. i have no doubt you are right that nothing can prepare you for how much your life will change, but at least i (and others) will have realistic expectations. hopefully. thank goodness you had Nick through all of these - he sounds like a complete gem, i'm sure KC would be like 'stop crying!' haha. hopefully not ;)

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  21. This was AMAZING! So honest and open and so important to share! No one talks about the baby blues enough and it's something almost everyone goes through. It's SO HARD and I am so glad you are on the other side and doing well!! I am always here if you need a mama to chat with! XOXOXO

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  22. Oh girl! Thanks for opening up and sharing this, and know that you are definitely not alone! I was the exact same way. I can remember thinking to myself in the beginning that I would never be able to go out in public again, haha but this too shall pass. It just takes time to adjust to everything and I think you're right the lack of sleep and hormones doesn't help. Great post girl and glad to hear that things are going better for you now!

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  23. So beautifully written Katie! I so appreciate your honesty. I will say that every birth & postpartum experience is different, so many experience something similar again or perhaps you won't. After Liam, I had some birth trauma but otherwise managed really well. With Finn, the blues were much more intense. Much more! It actually has me a little bit to nervous for any future babies because I really don't want to go through that part again. I think it's so important to have a support system in place. I had mama friends that I would check in with on a regular basis to let them know how I was feeling. They helped me navigate what was normal, making sure it never got to a point where perhaps I would need help (it didn't). Anyways, you are a strong woman and terrific mother. Xoxoxo

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  24. What an amazingly honest post! So proud of you for sharing your feelings <3 My best friend had PPD very, very bad and that opened my eyes to the "baby blues". My mom also had them pretty badly with my older sister. It is definitely not talked about enough and I feel like our OBGYN's should spend more time broaching this subject and providing info/guidance on how to cope

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  25. Thank you so much for opening up and writing this post! I've heard from multiple mothers that hormones really do a number on you. Even though it sounds awful, it's so good to know this is normal. I'm definitely sending this over to my friend who is giving birth in 3 weeks :)

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  26. You're a great mom! Adjusting to life with a baby comes with so many changes. I always felt like most of those changes happened to me. My mom always told me that life will go back to normal for most people after you have a baby, but it'll never be the same for you. It's true. Motherhood is wonderful, but it takes a bit of adjusting to have a tiny person relying on you for everything. Thanks for sharing your story :)

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  27. I love love love the picture of you and your sweet girl. Precious moment captured. Thank you for being so open + honest in this post. I feel like it's something that needs to be talked about more because you're definitely not alone!! xx

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  28. Thanks for sharing, it was really brave of you and it will definitely help some moms out there who feel like they're alone!

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  29. I'm so glad you shared this Katie! It's something my friends have also dealt with and mentioned feeling like they were going crazy. Sometimes all you need to know is that you're not alone. I've saved this to read in the future :)

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  30. This is such a brave post! I'm glad it sounds like it's getting a bit easier - motherhood is SO overwhelming and the hormones are no joke! You're doing a great job! <3

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  31. What you wrote literally is what I fear when we have a kid. But knowing that others have gone though it and will help me, helps a bit.

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  32. Such a sweet picture. I didn't experience too much of the baby blues, although I'd heard about them! But I had a very hard recovery and that was really emotional for me. I have friends who seemed relatively fine a few days pp, and I definitely was not. Each person experiences it all so differently, and it's so good to share and know we aren't alone :)

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  33. Girl, you are a rockstar for opening up about this. It's so hard to let people see past the picture-perfect parts of life so I think it's awesome you shared this. Hormones are straight crazy sometimes and this is something that should be talked about more so new moms don't feel so isolated. And I am so glad to hear that things are leveling out now!

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  34. Giving you a big hug right now!! I can't even imagine what those first few weeks are like as a new mother and all the emotions that come with it- and kudos for sharing this because it's so common and no one should be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. It's just a part of pregnancy that some people go through but all evens out in the end. Haddie is so lucky to have you as her momma!

    xo, Kristina
    Medicine & Manicures

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  35. It's so good to talk about these things! I also didn't realize it was so normal, and I wish I would have!

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  36. You brought me right back to our first month home - and night time brought so much anxiety for me too. My motto was "everyday is better than the last" - and right about 10/12 weeks, the fog truly lifted and I felt like I could walk on water. For some women, that release never comes and I think it's amazing that we keep the conversations authentic and open so that the nights (and days) don't have to be so dark. Thanks for sharing this! Xo

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  37. 1. I'm glad you wrote this. Mommies need to know the truth about allllllll of it... So they don't feel alone.
    2. I wish I had known. I would have talked you through (in the best non-experienced way I know how). I'm always here and I LOVE YOU (and Haddie-girl and BradyB... and nick too because he basically rocks! ;) )

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  38. Love this post so much! I just had my second and can tell you postpartum is much better the second time around. Your daughter and my son are only a few weeks apart :) just read so many of your posts! xo

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  39. I had the same experience with my first son and the loneliness feeling was the absolute worst. So thankful for you sharing.

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  40. Oh girlfriend!! You are SO right!!! I recently had my third baby girl (well, three months ago). Hormones are HARD. Post baby is my worst time and mine seriously last until I am done nursing which was 14 months last time. I am almost considering not nursing this time because of how intense and crazy I am while my hormones still control my body. Thank you for writing this post, there needs to be more awareness on PPD. The feelings you are and were feeling are totally normal and honestly never go away, you just learn how to handle your "new normal" better. Mom life isn't for the faint of heart!! Hang in there!!!

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  41. Stephanie over at Olive & Tate wrote about this too! I have heard it from many sides.

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  42. I can relate to EVERYTHING on here! I had my Lois just a few weeks before you had Haddie. I cried at everything - would just cry at the most ridiculous things, but at the time, they were such a big deal. Like my dog - it was around the time I had Lo that I first saw the Amazon commercial with the dog dressed as a lion. I felt so, so bad for my dog. Then I missed laying on the couch at night and watching TV. I would be so anxious for the night ahead while my husband and family who were visiting would be enjoying dinner. So alone is the best description - everyone else's life was still going on just the same while mine was totally rocked. It does get so much easier and I'm thankful that I had friends who had gone through it before to remind me of this. Great post!

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  43. Girl, those hormones are AWFUL! While my experience didn't last as long as yours, I felt very similar feelings to you. I expected to instantly connect with Baker and when I got home and still didn't feel connected, I felt like I wasn't cut out for motherhood. And honestly, I still have moments where I don't feel as connected as I think I should. It took me about a week to really feel connected to Baker and that helped tremendously! But the crying! Good Lord, all the crying! I got some witch hazel on my clean pj pants one night and cried for like an hour. It was just pure exhaustion at that point! So glad you are sharing your story because women need to know they are not alone in this phase of life!

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  44. So beautifully written Katie! I know sharing this is such a gift to other Mommas going through the same thing. We are all in motherhood together and the more we can provide support to one another the better!

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  45. With two short weeks to go before I give birth to my boys, I am so glad you posted this. No doubt I will be head over heels in love with them, but if I develop feelings like you explained, I will (hopefully) know it's completely normal and to not be afraid to ask for help.

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  46. Thank you so much for posting this. I know nothing can really prepare me for what's to come with my baby, but at least I'll know some of my feelings will be normal. It should definitely be talked about more amongst moms, although my mom has been great about not sugar coating the coming home with your very first baby experience.

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  47. I saved this back when I was still pregnant and came back to it just now, one week into motherhood and this post had me in tears because you put into words exactly what Im going through-the loneliness, the tears, the lives of everyone else going right back to normal. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this...it helps so much to know I'm not alone and, even more encouraging, that this wont last. Thank you!

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