The baby blues. For me, these were the “bah ah ah, I can’t do this” kind of blues. The first five weeks after bebe was born were a rollercoaster of hormone-fueled emotions. One minute I was high on life loving everything to do with being a mom, to the next minute feeling so defeated & often disgusted by how my body was functioning. The worst part is that it slightly affected my ability to take care of my baby. In total it took about 6 weeks to get over the worst of my baby blues.
Wk1: Extreme swelling from the waist down affecting my ability to walk & take care of myself. On a high when I look at my baby.
Wk2: Frustrations with breastfeeding & how tired I am. Guilt for relying on family to take care of the baby while I sleep. This is the last week that I will have full-time support & I begin to get nervous about doing it on my own.
Wk3: Exhausted & I’m anxious about feeding my child. I stay up a couple nights in a row because it’s easier to stay awake rather than waking up & then falling asleep while breastfeeding.
Wk4: Baby starts to lose weight. I panic & I quit breastfeeding, move to exclusive pumping & bottle feeding so I can measure exactly how much he’s eating. I feel disgusted by almost everything around me, my house, the food I’m eating, sometimes even the people around me. I’m anxious about my baby feeling my negative emotions.
Wk5: I speak to mom-friends about what is happening, I understand that they had similar experiences & I feel less desperate & alone. The feelings of sadness start to subside as I understand it’s a normal part of the birthing experience. I begin to work through & rationalize them.
Wk6: I begin to feel like myself again – a sleep deprived, shower deprived, spit up on version – & I’m feeling happy & in love with my baby & my new life. I venture out of the house to visit friends, I cook for myself, I begin co-sleeping & establish a night time feeding & pumping routine that I can manage.
All this is to say: if you’re feeling anxious & alone after birth, speak to your family & friends about it. It’s important that they hear what you are going through, even if they don’t understand. Talk to them about postpartum depression so they can support you in managing it. If you are not getting better after 4-6 weeks, it’s important to speak to a medical professional.
You should speak to more than one mom-friend as well. Not everyone will have had a similar experience & diversity in experiences can teach you so much. It’s also important to note that those who have not experienced childbirth or child-raising may not be able to relate, sympathize &/or offer you the emotional support you may need.