After giving birth- which is the most incredible experience of my life so far- I expected to feel over the moon 24/7. But, within just a few short hours, I was slapped with the reality that is not 100% the case. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was completely in love and excited about finally being a mother. But with the sudden drop of my hormones, I was feeling ALL of the feelings. The only way I can describe my postpartum blues experience is that it’s equivalent to the 9 months of PMS I had just skipped coming back to me all at once.
A few hours into the postpartum life, I started feeling so angry because my husband could not wake up to help me grab something for the baby while I was trapped and not able to get out of bed. Now, let me get one thing straight, I don’t blame him- he was awake all of the hours I was in labor and has been extremely helpful. BUT… after yelling his name a million times (as loudly as I dared at 3am in a nursery ward), throwing a tissue box and a lone hair tie at him (it was all I had within reach), and even calling his cell phone, I couldn’t do anything but cry with him 6 feet away, sound asleep.
Now, that may have been a legit reason to feel helpless and cry, but unfortunately it got worse before it got better. Here is just a short list of things that made me sob in those first glorious postpartum weeks:
- My baby had really bad gas, and was in pain all night and I couldn’t help him.
- Too many people wanted to visit us and see the baby.
- Nobody wants to visit us anymore. Does nobody care?!
- My baby’s umbilical cord fell off when he was 10 days old. Me: “He’s not a newborn anymore! Why did it have to fall off when he is in double digit days, it’s two milestones at once!” cue sobbing.
- I commented on my baby’s funny faces and stinky looks. Someone joked that he gives me looks because only likes me when I feed him- something I would normally laugh about (I think).
- Brad Paisley’s song “You’re Gonna Miss This” came one. I started the waterworks when the plumber told her she was gonna miss the kids running around, crying, etc., because his babies are 36 and 23 and he misses the good and the bad.
- My baby projectile pooped all over my bed sheets at 2am.
- My baby was nursing all. the. time.
- Then, my baby wasn’t nursing enough.
- Brad Paisley’s song came on again.
About 95% of the time, I felt the postpartum blues for absolutely no reason at all- and that is totally okay. I’m glad my mom gave my husband a heads up, because the first time I started bawling my eyes out for no reason, he looked genuinely terrified for me. It is so important to have a good support system whether it is your significant other, family, or friends. The blues affect everyone differently, so if you feel back to your old self immediately, that is wonderful! If you are struggling heavily with this, that is okay too. However, if you start feeling sad or angry most of the time, make sure you talk it out with someone as this may be a sign of postpartum depression which is another category.
Here are some ways you can combat the postpartum blues and feel like your old self again:
- Don’t stay cooped up in the house after having your baby. Make sure you get out whether you are just going to the store, coffee with a friend, or for a walk around the neighborhood.
- Get dressed everyday. As much as I wanted to stay in my pajamas all day and just be comfortable with easy nursing access, I can tell you I felt better and more productive when I at least put on a clean shirt and jeans, or even “daytime sweatpants” 😉
- Don’t feel like you have to do it all. Let your partner tackle one of those midnight diaper changes or early morning feedings. I have never been more thankful for my husband than the day he took the baby out of the room at 5am, used the breast milk I had in the freezer to feed him, and let me sleep for 4 uninterrupted hours for the first time in forever. He knows I am the one who gets up dozens of times throughout the night to feed, change, and poke the baby to make sure he is breathing, so he was more than happy to do so.
- Wash yo’ hair. Yeah, if I were reading this two weeks ago, I’d feel personally attacked. I kept my dirty hair in a messy bun for who knows how long after having my baby. But, if you wash it and even just put it in a nice French braid, you will feel so much better. There is something about clean, fresh smelling hair that can make you feel like you have your shit together. 🙂
- Leave your pregnancy Facebook groups. If you are like me, this is all your feed consists of, and a lot of the posts are sad or just not positive. The last thing you want to see or read about is another mother’s unfortunate miscarriage, or the latest infant death due to one reason or another. My entire day was ruined due to sadness or worry several times due to seeing these posts. It is better to just leave them.
This is all a part of this crazy experience we call motherhood. You’ve got it! What is the silliest thing you cried over during your postpartum experience or your best advice to get through it? Let me know in the comments!