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