My Baby Blues
It’s when I sit, it’s when I sit I think, I then overthink.
The day I was discharged I struggled to walk, to stand straight, to sit, however I still wanted to fix things – offering drinks, tidying away clean clothes. I remember my Mother in Law saying to me “you can sit down you know Emma”. At that moment I sat and drank a cup of tea. I sat and drank then I got back up. Each time I moved I felt pain, yet that didn’t stop me… I finally soaked in the bath. I left my baby for the first time, for 30 minutes whilst he slept on his Daddy. I remember feeling guilty that he wasn’t in my arms. I felt guilty for having a very small window of me time. I felt guilty for cleaning myself.
“I was Born to be Busy, it’s my Coping Mechanism”
I felt weak, physically, mentally emotionally. I soaked myself through the pain. The pain which reminded me of the exhausting, yet phenomenal experience I had undertaken just a few days ago. I cried. I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed is the only way I can describe the mixed emotions I felt. Physical pain made me bowed and very slow in movement, emotional pain of such a sudden life change of having a child 12 years apart. Mentally feeling alone and lost. Feeling philosophical.
Although my living room was busy full of loved ones there was such an empty soul that lived within me. Some close ones who in a ‘normal world’ would naturally be there; strange how just three days prior none of this mattered, but now as I soak, it feels so wrong. I felt so lost, so alone. I felt vulnerable. A woman who seems to always be in control. A woman who structures family dinners weeks in advance and is planning Christmas dinner 9 months ahead, and who now feels so vulnerable.
I was toying whether or not to express my post Baby Blues feelings, but I had a conversation with a lady, a lot older than me, who said ‘Emma I wish someone told me it was ok to talk and it was natural to feel these feelings after such a life changing experience”.
When I talk about Baby Blues mums would engage with me and thank me for allowing the subject to feel like it’s ok to discuss. The more mums, of all ages, I have spoken to about this subject, the more mums admit and express the familiar feelings they also felt. The most common feeling was not feeling confident to admit that they felt lost in a world of unfamiliar territory. Feeling like they would be frowned upon if they were to tell their story.
My story is about sleep deprivation and lack of close family support as well as not being in control of the exact times my beautiful baby boy would sleep, eat and wake. My story is also admitting that a woman who very rarely cries and asks for help, finally knowing that it’s ok and that no woman is made of steel. No woman can control what could possibly happen next. I am lucky enough to have a strong partner who tells me daily how powerful and strong I am as a mother. I do have someone at the end of the phone who will say ‘Emma you can’t always get it right’.
Why I write this is to say that from discussions and understandings, not everyone has the courage and confidence to open up and say ‘I don’t feel like me, can you please listen to me’ or ‘am I ok’ and ‘is this normal’.
Baby Blues or Post Natal Depression, whatever stages it may be at, it’s ok. We are human and humans have feelings. We are not programmed to dismiss unwanted emotions. My blues lasted 2/3 months so in comparison to some, this was short lived. A lady told me recently that she felt detached from her true self for 15 months prior to being diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, where at that point she still didn’t inform her close ones, not until she read an article. This was another major drive for me to just briefly explain my journey.
At whatever stage, try to LOVE yourself if you can, but most importantly; trust your inner voice. Reach out to someone and believe that it’s not only you. This is common and I really wish the stigma of Mental Health around what having a baby brings was not there. There is so much society pressure to feel ‘Super Happy’, ’Blissful’, ‘Perfect’. You should not have to feel embarrassed about asking for help or recognising that you don’t feel like the woman you did prior giving birth. You don’t feel ‘Super Happy’, ‘Blissful’ or ‘Perfect’.
A few statistics for us new Mums to know 😉
1 – 70-80 percent of new moms are affected by the baby blues, while only 10-20 percent suffer from postpartum depression.
2 – Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying jags, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. The difference is that with postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe (such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn) and longer lasting.
3 – Often the symptoms of “baby blues” will hit forcefully within four to five days after the birth of the baby – symptoms to recognise are;
• Weepiness or crying for no apparent reason
• Insomnia (even when the baby is sleeping)
• Mood changes
Remember – It’s Good to Talk