On my Here’s How to Raise a Baby post, reader Diane Davis asked:
“Have you had any sadness or baby blues?”
Thanks for the question, Diane!
I’m going to start off by saying that I’m not a doctor, so any advice is strictly based on my very limited experience – but this is an important topic that deserves attention. “Baby blues” and “postpartum depression” are two different things. Anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of mothers get the baby blues and it usually only lasts a couple weeks after giving birth. If you’re experiencing these feeling for longer than that, please, please, please from the bottom of my heart, go find help. You may be suffering from postpartum depression and you don’t have to suffer alone. Do it for me, ok?
Being a new mum is one of the most overwhelming experiences I’ve ever had. Even though I had nine months to prepare, there’s really no way to understand just how much your life is about to change until you’ve given birth. I love my son more than anything, but some things will never be the same again. Maks and I can still go out on dates, see our friends or head back to work, but for the most part, my thoughts, my time, my purpose, and my body are all dedicated to the care and wellbeing this little person. It’s a lot to wrap your head around in such a short period of time.
Whether it’s the baby blues or just crazy hormones, there were a lot of tears in those first couple of weeks. I felt like a failure when I couldn’t get Shai to sleep right away because I couldn’t figure out why he was crying. I felt broken when I was having trouble squeezing out enough milk to feed my son because my boobs had gone rock hard and my nipples bleeding from a plugged duct. I felt disgusting the first time I looked at myself in the mirror and all I could see is this body that I didn’t recognize with a huge stomach, engorged breasts and cellulite thighs.
You know what helped? Trusting the people around you and time. I felt like a failure because I wanted to be a good mother, so I sought the advice of good mothers around me. I felt broken because I thought I wouldn’t be able to provide for my son, so I kept working and trying until I was able to get the amount of milk he needed. I felt disgusting because my body was different, so I let Maks know how I was feeling and hugged me and told me how amazing this thing I just did was and let me know how much he loved me until I felt like the most beautiful person in the world.
So, yes, baby blues do happen – even for optimistic people like myself. You just have to give it time and take time for yourself. Cry if you need to and let yourself be vulnerable, but know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s still your life, just with a little bonus.
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Photo Credit: Stefania Orru