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!