It's okay to not be okay

When you're getting ready to welcome your baby into the world, the farthest thing from your mind is how much this life changing event will affect you mentally. In the days before I delivered, David and I spent most of our time fixing up our apartment. We were getting our bedroom in order, painting, moving around the bassinet to figure out exactly where we would want our baby to sleep. Now I've heard plenty about "baby blues" and postpartum depression but never put too much thought into it. I mean how could I be sad or depressed when I was in a great circumstance to have a baby? In my head, these so called "baby blues" only affected moms bringing babies into the world without any support or at inopportune times. Unfortunately, I was very wrong about this.

In hindsight, I could see the first moment where I felt the initial aftereffects of giving birth or the "fluctuations of hormones" as they call it. It was my second day in the hospital and visitors were filtering in and out of my room all morning. Having given birth the day before was taking a toll on me. I had pain in places I couldn't imagine, my muscles felt like spaghetti, and having loss a decent amount of blood left me fatigued and lightheaded. After the first 5 or 6 visitors, I lost it. I broke down in tears telling David how overwhelmed I felt, how tired I was, and how frustrated it was trying to learn my baby and answer a half dozen questions simultaneously. David made sure to call/text anyone else that would be stopping by that day to hold off until we gave the green light.

I know I said in my last post that the scariest moment is going into labor, well that's not exactly true. The scariest moment is taking home this tiny baby that your basically supposed to keep alive without any experience in doing so. Lack of sleep, difficulty breastfeeding, and being constantly at the mercy of my baby were starting to weigh on me after about a week. What really would get to me was the crying. The high pitched screeches that my baby would continue to let out trying to tell me what he needed even after a feeding, a diaper change, a burping session, only made me feel less competent. I had zero energy, no appetite and I was on the verge of tears constantly. I had the stress of continuing my masters degree regularly rearing it's ugly head in my mind. I couldn't understand what I was feeling, why was I so down? My amazing husband took a month off of work to help and he did help but I still didn't feel content. Wasn't I supposed to be happy with my family? How could I look at my baby with joy in my heart but still feel sadness at the same time? It's such a strange feeling that made me feel so guilty and honestly like a failure. I know I was being overly critical of myself but I'm also an overachiever (when it comes to pretty much everything) so this had become another part of my life I wished to excel in. I had everything I could've asked for so why was I feeling this way?

I was in denial. David is the one who actually pointed it out during one of my crying episodes. He said "Maybe this is those blues they told us about?" Here I am, a registered nurse, refusing to accept that this was happening because it seemed so far fetched that this could happen to Me. I tried my best not to let my family and friends know how I was feeling because I was embarrassed and scared of judgement. Every now and then, my teary eyes would surface and I knew they could see how unlike myself I was in those weeks. I remember laying on the couch one day, David asking me what is wrong and with my face contorting into that ugly cry all I could say was "I don't know!" because I couldn't even put into words what I was feeling. I can't exactly say when the "blues" started to fade, but if I had to estimate it would be around the 3rd week of being home. With the support of my husband, family, and friends, I started to realize how truly blessed I was. I would look at my beautiful son and my heart would melt, the sadness fading. I learned to let go of the idea of being the perfect Mom because it honestly doesn't exist. I made my way to my classes and remembered why it was that I went back to school in the first place. I tackled the obstacles weighing on my shoulders one day at a time and though I still feel stressed at times, the sentiment that occupies the majority of my heart now is happiness.

With this post I would like people to know that the blues don't only happen to those in extremely difficult situations. Also, that they eventually fade and you become so enmeshed in your new life that you barely remember what life was like before motherhood. There's so much to be grateful for after birthing a human and remembering those things can put a lot into perspective. So Moms or future moms, if this happens to you it does not make you crazy, it's one of those fleeting moments during this crazy journey we call motherhood.

PS: If you do happen to have these feelings but they do not fade after a few weeks, it is advisable to seek some help. Depression lasts longer than "baby blues" and should be addressed. Don't suffer in silence, there are many women out there going through similar circumstances.