So you’ve just had a baby – Congratulations! Everyone is over the moon excited for you and you are too! This life you have created and grown inside of you the last 40 weeks is finally here, and you’re mesmerized. It’s all new and exhilarating and magical… until a couple of days after bringing baby home and suddenly, it’s not.
It seems like all at once the reality of a newborn and outrageous hormones hit you like a freight train. You’re overwhelmed, sleep deprived, scared, stressed, and in most cases, CLUELESS of what is going on; not only with baby, but with you as well. You’re bursting into tears for irrational things, you’re finding yourself growing angry at the smallest of issues, and you’re wondering what the hell you were thinking bringing this baby into the world with such a crazy mother. Well sister, welcome to the Baby Blues.
Let me be the first to tell you, and I want you to really understand this; YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I feel like the baby blues and postpartum depression are some of the BIGGEST kept secrets about becoming a new mom. You very rarely hear a woman talk about how down and dark she felt after having her baby. Is it because society paints this unrealistic picture of what having a newborn should be like? With all the perfectly posed photos and all the advertisements of a mom rocking her peacefully sleeping baby at night? Whatever it is, open discussions about baby blues is such a taboo in our culture; which makes moms who are battling it feel even more alone.
I had absolutely no idea that managing and working through my baby blues would be so incredibly hard with my first baby, Ellie. With Enzo being my second baby however, I was able to handle them much better this time – mainly because I made a conscious effort to recognize and communicate what I was experiencing. So naturally I wanted to share what helped me the most, so that I may be able to help another mother that is struggling like I did.
TIPS FOR BATTLING THE BABY BLUES
The first thing that helped so much with my baby blues was admitting that I was experiencing them! With my first baby, I was convinced that I had turned crazy. That there was surely something wrong with me, because who cries over having to wash bottles for the third time today? I had heard how much a baby can change a woman, and I was scared that I was going to be a mess of a person forever. With baby number two however, I would still burst into tears for the smallest of things (like when my toddler refused to give me a hug), except this time I knew it wasn’t me acting psychotic, it was the hormones. Once I accepted the fact that I was going through the baby blues, it made it so much easier to allow myself to be emotional while also knowing that this too will pass.
The next GREATLY important tip that saved me from crying myself to sleep at night was communication. If I was feeling sad, I would say it. I wasn’t trying to hide my erratic emotions from anyone, and that helped me so much. I am incredibly lucky to have the friends, family, and Fiancé that I have. I texted Krystal at all hours of the night just to articulate and talk through what I was feeling. And after every conversation with her, I felt better. I had family members ask me what I needed help with, and when I shared that meals were becoming overwhelming for me to prepare, serve, and clean up, guess what happened? They brought me dinner. When I cried on my Fiancé’s shoulder one night and told him I was feeling all alone, he came to the baby’s room after putting our toddler to bed to cuddle with me as I fed Enzo to sleep. The moral to all of these instances is that if you communicate with the people around you about what you’re feeling, they will respond with exactly what you need at that moment.
It is Not Happiness All The Time
Lastly, and I don’t think enough women truly understand this one, but having a newborn is one of the hardest things you will ever experience, both physically and mentally. There isn’t much to be excited about when all they do is scream at you when they are hungry. Or wet. Or hot. Or cold. Or tired. Or, …you get the idea. And it is OKAY for you not to be happy about all of this. I felt so guilty about feeling unhappy with my first baby that I would tell myself how terrible of a mother I was. I mean, why didn’t I feel rainbows and butterflies every time I looked at her little face like all the other moms said they felt all over social media. Oh that’s right, because social media is only the highlights of that mother’s day. She isn’t posting a crying rant at 3 am when their baby is refusing to go back to sleep. She isn’t posting a video of her baby hysterically crying any time she gets put in a car seat. And she isn’t posting a picture of herself with hair that hasn’t been washed in days and clothes that have baby fluids all over them. Once I started to IGNORE the lie social media portrays of motherhood, I stopped being so guilty about how I was feeling. It’s not only okay to not be jumping for joy during this time period, it’s actually normal!
So relax, new Mama. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and rest assure that this time will pass and it will get better. You are a warrior now. You are a mother.
I truly thank every friend who checked in on me and every family member who took the time to give me a call or bring me a meal. But most importantly I thank my Fiancé, who has not only catered to my every need these last two weeks, but also exemplified what an amazing father he is to our children each and every day.