Post-partum depression/baby blues is a very real phenomenon for women. I am extremely blessed to have only had a mild case of baby blues. For anyone who doesn’t know, Medicine Net defines Baby Blues as “ a common temporary psychological state right after childbirth when a new mother may have sudden mood swings, feeling very happy, then very sad, cry for no apparent reason, feel impatient, unusually irritable, restless, anxious, lonely and sad. The baby blues may last only a few hours or as long as 1 to 2 weeks after delivery”.
I found myself (in the first two weeks) in constant amazement of how much I love our daughter, Charlotte. Truly, it is an experience that no words can accurately describe. However, the beginning was challenging because I had never done anything like this before, obviously. Sure, I’ve had experience working with children and interacting with them but there is a BOLD line between working with children and returning them to their parents and having one of your own who literally depends on you for everything.
I remember Charlotte being four days old, breaking down into tears because she wouldn’t wake up. My mind raced with thoughts ranging from A to Z of all kinds of reason as to why she was sleeping so soundly. At the time, all that was playing in my mind was the nurse saying “she has to get up every 2-3 hours to feed …. you don’t want her to get sick …. have jaundice….” I found myself panicking because Charlotte had been sleeping for about four hours straight. All I wanted to do was hold her in my arms. Oh wait, I did that to see if she would wake up and she didn’t. Even when Keith wanted to hold her so that I could take a moment to breathe, I was refusing to let go of her. I mean, eventually I let go of her because I was wetting her up with my tears.
There were other days that I would stay home with her and I felt trapped because I was used to being up and down and all over the place in between all the hours I spend at work. I understood that I had a newborn but I refused to allow that to mean that I couldn’t go and have a breath of fresh air for an hour or two in a place of my choosing – also known as the mall (for the most part).
Another thing that contributed to it was Keith’s ability to sleep quite soundly by the time she hit three weeks of age. Granted, he had to go to work and so he needed his sleep but man, 2am can be such a lonely hour. After all, I had gotten used to him getting up with me, giving me my breastfeeding pillow, helping to soothe the baby amongst other things. Every so often within the first month, I would seem to hit a slump but I am thankful for a husband that is aware and for a tribe of fellow mamas who were there to support and encourage me in the wee hours of the night.
I knew what support looked like to me and I had people around me who knew how to do and say the right things at all the right moments. Three things that I know for sure … firstly, find your tribe and love them hard. Secondly, define what support looks like to you and communicate it clearly. This will help others to be able to help you.
Thirdly, to my fellow mamas and soon-to-be mamas, you are really and truly enough.
From the bottom of my heart, thank-you to my tribe. You guys know who you are and how you have contributed to a successful start to my journey as a motherhood. I hope to make each and everyone of you proud.