Getting the {Big Time} Blues After Baby

I don’t have to tell you having a baby is hard. It is a life changing event that wraps up pretty much all of your emotions into one. It’s scary, it’s painful, it’s happy, it’s exactly what you thought it would be, or maybe not. Either way, your body is all over the place with hormones and sometimes it can turn out how you did not expect.

I recently shared the personal story about how I thought I never wanted kids…until I had them. So, it might not come as a surprise that when my first daughter was born it didn’t turn out exactly how I planned.

It’s taken several years, but now I find strength in sharing my story with others, especially those about to embark on motherhood too.

For starters, when my first daughter was born, I didn’t have that “oh, I am in love” moment when I first saw her. I didn’t even have it in the first few days. After a traumatic delivery and eventual c-section, I was out of it. Later, I was just a ball of raw emotions pretty much all the time. I had difficulty breast feeding, and I could never seem to help her stop crying. I remember sobbing on my bed one afternoon because I thought my life was over. I remember crying for an hour after my husband left for work because I was scared to be alone with the baby. {He was such a big help to me.}

For the first 3-4 weeks, I easily cried several times a day. I was anxious about feedings, bed time, burping, and blankets that might suffocate her. You get the point. I felt like this was me just being “hormonal.” When I had a checkup with my doctor, I didn’t say anything because I really thought what I was feeling would go away. I also didn’t want to seem ungrateful or petty or dramatic. I mean, I am so fortunate to have a healthy baby and so many things could have gone wrong but they didn’t, so a few tears didn’t seem like a big deal.

But things didn’t get better.

I never really enjoyed anything. The best way I could describe it to my husband {which was pretty much the only person who knew} was that I felt like someone died. I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach pretty much all the time. He would tell me to call the doctor, and I remember thinking… “I’m not going to do anything crazy, so I’m not going to call and tell them anything!”

Eventually, my husband went with me on a checkup with the baby. He told the doctor I wasn’t feeling like myself. And I burst out crying. She gently explained that having these feelings is normal and it happens to a lot of women. She said just because you are not having extreme symptoms of postpartum depression, it doesn’t mean you don’t need help. And, a lot of women take medicine to feel better. I was exhausted and was willing to do just about anything at this point, so I accepted the prescription — and it only took a few days for me to feel a huge difference.

Night and Day.

I vividly remember the day, and I can cry just thinking about it. It was like the fog lifted. Exactly 9 weeks after my baby was born, it was like I was becoming me again. Brandon made a nice pork tenderloin for dinner, and we were relaxing on the front porch. A nice, cool breeze had rolled in, and I looked over and saw my sleeping baby in the arms of my handsome husband…and it felt like home. This was my life, and I felt really good about it. During the night feedings, instead of feeling stressed or counting the time on the clock, I would look into my daughter’s eyes and felt such a bond. I felt like her mom. I was this baby’s mother. ME.

Was it just the medication that helped? I’m not sure. Maybe it was partly that and also time spent learning my baby, or getting into a routine, or feeling more comfortable just being a mom. Either way, life was getting pretty good.

And here’s the big part I tell my friends when they are expecting… Don’t wait weeks to get help if you need it. That is my one regret with my first child. I sometimes feel like I cheated her {and me} out of valuable time because I was too stubborn or prideful to ask for help. I was even embarrassed to tell people about all of this.

Fast forward…and when I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, I was so worried about all of this happening again. I told my doctor I didn’t think I could deal with the extreme emotions and feelings, let alone doing it with another child there to care for. She said, it is not uncommon for women to get a prescription and have it filled and take the medicine right after giving birth. I asked a few more questions and decided this was the best move for our family. I did it. I now have no shame in telling people this because my experience with baby #2 is something I see now that a lot of women have from the start with their new babies. It was a different world.

I feel sad knowing there are women out there {like me at one point} who don’t get help. Sure, it may be a mild case of PPD, but if you can feel like yourself again — why wouldn’t you? I guess I always thought since I wasn’t an extreme case like you hear about in the news, it wasn’t a problem or I didn’t need to get help.

I was nervous about putting all of this out there for everyone to read, but I hope sharing this in a more public way can help at least one momma. I am not a doctor and I’m only sharing my personal story in the hopes that just one woman reads it and feels like they are not alone.

Every story is different, as Becky and Brittney can both attest too.  And of course, talk to your doctor if you feel like you need help. Here is a complete list of symptoms, causes, treatments, medications, and other support for PPD.



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