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Hey Lovelies,

Ok, so I am going to be really real and vulnerable in this post and some of you might not like what I have to say. But I think it is really important that I talk about the reality of my birth experience and first few weeks at home and that means talking about the horrible time I had with the “baby blues”. Why might this bother some people? Well, I’m an infertile lady and have been trying my damndest to get right where I am now, with a baby at home. I should be thrilled, right? But here’s the thing… for the first two weeks, at least, I wasn’t thrilled.

I really, really suffered with the baby blues. The baby blues have a cutesy name but really aren’t that laughable. For me they meant that I would cry at the drop of a hat, was anxious about everything and nothing all the time, I couldn’t sleep (even when the baby was sleeping), I couldn’t eat and wasn’t interested in normal things that I like. Basically I became depressed. And very, very sleep deprived, which only made all those feelings worse.

Depressed yes, but apparently not with Post-Partum Depression/Anxiety. Why? Well the distinction seems to be duration. Having a baby is a trip, for everyone who goes through it, and so the medical community gives you a few weeks to sort of fall apart at the seams. It’s like a grace period. Where they acknowledge that: Yes, everything in your life has changed. Yes, you are now responsible for this new human and that’s crazy. No, there is no one around to really help you with these things. Yes, your hormones are off the fucking charts messed up. But it’s mostly written off as normal.

Apparently, Post-Partum Depression doesn’t really get diagnosed until 6 weeks (usually). Really the only difference between a really intense case of the blues and Post-Partum is that I didn’t want to harm myself or my baby and I at no point wanted to stop caring for him.

Other than that I am sure I looked hella unstable and majorly depressed.

It was really terrifying to go through. I have struggled with situational depression previously in my life and that makes me higher risk of Post-Partum. As does having gone through infertility. So, I knew already to be watching myself closely for signs that I was slipping. And so this general decent into darkness during the first two weeks after I gave birth was very intense and troublesome for me. I talked to my counselor and Health Link about it but by and large I was in a holding pattern because this hard spell also fell over Christmas and New Year when everything was closed. Bully for me! Note to self: if we ever do this again try not to have a baby over a major holiday period. You know, because we can plan that kind of shit. Ugh.

During this period everyone wanted to know how I was doing. Was I enjoying motherhood? Was it all I had dreamed? In a word, you guys, No. See, this is where I might get some blow back because, and I know it’s true, everyone would gladly trade me places. But, honestly, I was terrified and feeling like shit and most just wanted to know what the hell I had done to my life. It was way harder than I anticipated. I felt way more emotions than I even knew were possible and they were, by and large, not positive ones. On top of all of these things I was really, really sleep deprived, like all new parents are, but I also had the anxiety insomnia to cap it all off meaning I was almost never able to nap and I didn’t always sleep when the baby did at night. Sleep deprivation alone is enough to make you crazy. That’s why it is used as a torture tactic! So, I was not in a good way.

The only upside was that I knew this was mainly hormonal. It felt almost like when you have really bad PMS and KNOW that you are acting nuts but are powerless to reign it in. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that this was all out of hand and that things were nowhere near as bad as they were feeling but I was powerless to really override the hormonal intensity. Luckily, at around the end of week 2 beginning of week 3 there was a definite shift. I started to have more time during the day that I wasn’t crying or wanting to lay fetal in my bed. I had more interest in shows I used to like and food started to taste better. I also started to be able to sleep more which REALLY helped. I would say that by week 4 things had shifted and now in week 8 post-partum I am doing really well. I am enjoying more of the things I do with my son, it’s a lot easier now as he chats away at me and smiles a lot! I don’t regularly dissolve into tears anymore, I am feeling more confident and not anxious and I am more contented that we did in fact make the right decision having this kiddo. LOL. Thank god, as there’s no returning him now!

I didn’t have to write this post, trust me I really toyed with that idea. I could just forget I felt like that and happily move into the enjoyment of motherhood that I’ve been wanting. But that doesn’t ring true. Because I really fucking wanted this pregnancy and child. I mean, so bad! Reference any of the posts from this time last year. Which means that if this can hit me so hard that I basically was incapacitated and barely held it together, then it can hit anyone. And you need to know that it’s ok. And that you need to talk about it. And make sure people know that you are struggling so that you can get the support you need to transition out of the funk into the bad ass parent I know you can be!

Here are a few key factors that put me at higher risk of intense baby blues and possibly Post-Partum Depression:

Difficult or traumatic birth
-Difficulty breastfeeding
-Limited family support
-History of depression

So, if you are pregnant and are going to give birth soon, or if you have already given birth, and are not feeling as euphoric as you would have expected its OK. It’s hard going through infertility and then feeling this way but it can be normal and it’s really best to talk about it. Make sure people who love you know how you are feeling and are watching you in case things take a turn for the dangerous. Hopefully, you’ll be feeling much better in just a few short weeks as the hormones level. I know it feels like a long time, but you got this!

XOXXO,
The Chicken

*Wow, this became about twice as long as a Micro should be. Apologies to Mel @Stirrup Queens.*

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31 thoughts on “Micro Post: Baby Blues

  • February 1, 2016 at 7:19 am
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    How brave of you to post this. It is so common, yet so many (especially in the infertility world) don’t discuss it, for fear of what you described. It is a reality for so many, and I appreciate you being honest and discussing it. May you continue to be well and enjoy your time with baby!!

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:04 pm
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      Jen,
      Thanks, I felt it was important enough to get burned if that was to happen. So far so good!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:04 pm
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      Raven,
      You are most welcome!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 8:21 am
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    I think this is a great thing to discuss. As you mention, infertility and loss can actually put people at *higher* risk of postpartum depression, so it’s very relevant to the community in many ways.

    Truth time – I had some issues also after giving birth, and one of the things that didn’t help was how dang guilty I felt about it all. I’d waited, fought for, and finally had this baby and then I struggled with the hormones pretty seriously. I felt like I needed to love every. single. moment. Of course, there are tough times and it’s not realistic to be “up” constantly.

    Hope you are continuing to do better and thanks for posting this!

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:06 pm
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      Katherine,
      Yes, after trying so long it can be very distressing to not fall head over heels with motherhood right away. People kept asking me if it was everything I had dreamed and I would want to punch them and then I’d go cry. Again. LOL things are much better now thank you.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 8:55 am
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    I wrote a post a bit like this too. I knew the emotions would be intense but I guess I just never thought they would be so negative, given how much work it took to get my baby and how badly I wanted her. But I bordered on postpartum and it lasted past my 6 week check up as I had my OB refer me for help. In the time it took for me to be assessed and set up with someone to talk to, I came through the other side (it took too long for help, in my opinion, who knows what could have happened if I was in a worse place). But I would say it wasn’t until around 8 weeks that I managed to get a handle on things and then it went up from there. But it is tough, and I had such guilt over the way I was feeling. So I hear ya, you are not alone and neither are all the other mommas out there having these feelings!

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:08 pm
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      Infertile Girl,
      YES! Exactly that. I was told to expect all sorts of emotions but nothing could have prepared me for the reality I had coming. I was a humongous mess, way worse than anything I had pictured. But yes I think it is incredibly normal and common. Glad you made it out the other side.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 10:09 am
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    The challenges in life never end. One one ends a new one begins. This was a very courageous post. We know you are grateful. We recognize that what you are going through is difficult and we know you wouldn’t trade places with us.

    Best wishes on your journey.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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      Greg,
      Aint that the truth! Life is a roller coaster for sure, you’d think the years of IF would have prepared me better … But they can still shock you. Thank you, it is a big transition, but yes I am grateful.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 10:39 am
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    Thank you for being so honest! I’ve been so wrapped up in preparing for labor and life with a newborn that I hadn’t thought about how I might cope mentally and emotionally. Thank you for highlighting this, it’s easy to forget baby blues are part of the package deal and completely normal!

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm
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      Lauren,
      No sweat! That’s what I’m here for! Yes, prepare yourself for crazy hormonal times ahead. Make sure you have a good support system to HELP you through the first few weeks. May your labour be grand and your baby sweet tempered!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 12:54 pm
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    Thank you so much for sharing!! This is a great post. While I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, I’ve always felt that I’m never as happy as I can be, and PPD has always been something I’ve worried about. So happy you’re doing better now! xoxo

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:12 pm
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      Baby are you coming?
      Yes, PPD terrifies me. That’s why I had so much in place before the birth of baby in order to help me through it. It was still harder than I would have imagined but it was better because I already had some plans in place for if shit got real. Hope you’re well!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm
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    This is a really important post. Thank you for sharing. Im sorry you did not get more support. I’m also really glad that things begun to improve. Xo

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm
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      Emma,
      Thank you. I wish I had through about the holiday logistics ahead of time but thats ok.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm
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    Twice as long? Try 8 times as long 🙂

    But it’s an important topic. And I think the more people who go into delivery knowing this and preparing themselves for what they may experience, the better. I’m just sorry you went through this.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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      Mel,
      Semantics. 😛 . I submitted it anyways as I wanted your people to see it and also let them know that I was blogging again. Thanks for not taking it down! lol
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm
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    I too remember it being rough for the first few weeks after pregnancy, both times. It is rough! And even more so, I think, because we wanted our kid(s) so much and then to feel like that. …… I am glad you are feeling better. It does get easier, at least I feel so. However, there are times when it will be hard again (and again and again), but that is life. 🙂

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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      JustHeather,
      There are always going to be times that are hard, stages that we hate, challenges we didnt imagine… Life is crazy.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm
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    I am glad that you posted this, I think there is WAY too much pressure in this community to not feel this way.

    Did you know this same thing can happen to adoptive parents too? PADS (Post Adoption Depression Syndrome)

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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      Jess,
      Yeah, after wanting your children so badly there is much more pressure to LOVE every second of motherhood… that’s just not realistic. Though it was shocking how intense the first few weeks were.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm
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    I think this is a really important post. Women in general are pressured to pretend that all parts of motherhood are wonderful, and as you mentioned, there’s an extra layer of pressure on infertile women – that you should always feel grateful, that you shouldn’t question how you feel about your baby/pregnancy/parenthood. That’s just wrong. By talking about the tough times – perhaps made tougher by your conflicted emotions – you will undoubtedly have made it a bit easier for others.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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      Mali,
      That’s the hope, that other people know its normal and ok. And also to seek help so they don’t suffer one iota more than they need to!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 2, 2016 at 10:25 am
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    So before giving birth I read the book “The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood”. In it, the author Vicki Iovine states that every mother gets some sort of PCP we just sometimes express it differently. I totally agree. And is it any wonder? Hormones alone could be the cause but it doesn’t stop there. You just had a baby. A creature who when it isn’t sleeping, its crying, or clinging to your very, very sore chest for what feels like hours and just might be (if your breastfeeding). You feel terribly tricked. What do you mean they don’t know how to go to sleep on their own? What do you mean they can’t pass gas or dirty a diaper without intervention? What do you mean that they can’t figure out how to eat? Your social life, as you know it, has evaporated. You’re not sleeping. You’re probably not eating (as much as you ought to be). You keep canceling your date with your shower. Everything you ever thought you were or liked to do or could relate to has started to change. Everyone promised me it would get better after the first two weeks. It didn’t. It took six. Six really, really long weeks. Six weeks of sacrificing to the sleep gods. Six weeks of patting and shushing. Six weeks of angry, frustrated, exhaustion. I may have even told my husband at some point, that maybe, just maybe, IVF has been a terrible idea.

    Around six weeks, I got better because:
    1. My baby finally slept for a 4-5 hour stretch (and was allowed to by her doctor).
    2. She started to chatter at me.
    3. I moved her to her crib and turned down the baby monitor (because I would wake at every peep).
    4. I put her on a schedule that helped her sleep better at night.

    PCP. You’re not alone and it really does get better especially when they can smile at you. That little gummy smile makes up for it.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm
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      Nicole,
      Right?! Exactly. Yes, to everything you wrote! Yeah i got lucky and our guy started smiling and cooing at 4 weeks, Im positive that is why I started doing markedly better around then. Now at 8 weeks he’s laughing and chatting a lot and it really does make it so much more bearable. I also have him on a bit of a schedule and he’s giving me 6-7 hours overnight. So, REALLY I am blessed.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • February 6, 2016 at 7:34 am
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    Isn’t it interesting how we can judge ourselves so harshly for our feelings. Not actions, feelings. I am glad things are getting better and you chose to write about it and be compassionate to yourself. I did wonder what might have caused the long silence after your last post before the birth. I wish I had emailed now but I was going through a lot over the holidays wrt my dad’s illness and death. I hope there is more sleep, baby coos and cuddles and outings in the next weeks. One great piece of advice I read from Gypsy Mama is Its worth it to go out. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way because it’s a lot of work with a child. But getting out of the house and knowing you can is so good for your spirits.

    Reply
    • February 19, 2016 at 9:00 pm
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      Turtle,
      I was ok before the birth but wasn’t sharing widely with other people in my life that I had been put on bed rest so I didnt want to write too much before and then the blog was being restructured but its nice of you to say! We have been getting out daily since 5 weeks and it was a definite sanity saver. |I’m too extroverted to be cooped up so long.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
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  • February 10, 2016 at 8:58 am
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    There is always a need for a community. When you cannot have a baby, when you are finally pregnant after being pretty much ruined by your infertility, when you are a new mom (and, again, after infertility – you still feel and process differently), and so on. Everyone deserves and needs a community that applies to them and with people who currently speak their language and can commiserate with their struggle. I too identify with the guilt of finally being blessed with a child after a nightmare journey to him, a nightmare pregnancy and emergency birth experience, a wonderful yet problematic first year of his life with medical interventions necessary and no ability to breastfeed, and limited family support/empathy. The struggle and mindset is different than when you are in the worst possible place of never knowing if and how you’ll be a Mom, but there is still a new set of crises and day-to-day fears and strategies needed.
    Thank you for posting this. I hope that every struggling woman reaches their dreams of having a child, and I also hope that they have the supports needed to continue to heal from their journey that has led them to that place, and deal with the new emotional and physical set-backs that many face while now being responsible for the survival and thriving of the little one they have so desperately dreamed of.
    I am so happy for you, and I wish you a healthy, joyous time with your sweet little baby.
    PS. Situational depression is so challenging to overcome. Taking a pill or going to therapy may help, but if it’s not strictly hormonal, it can be very hard to overcome unchanging or unsupportive situations in your life. Then comes the need to connect with others, stand together, and find a way to be your best self through a new or ever-changing normal, despite circumstances around you beyond your control.

    Reply
    • February 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm
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      Julia,
      Thank you so much. We are doing very well currently and rolling more with the challenges that arise day to day. Took a while to find the rhythm but feeling better now. Glad the post resonated with you!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply

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