Prior to giving birth to my first child I, like many other pregnant women, obsessed over message boards, blogs, apps, books, articles, anything I could find about what labor and delivery was really like. I endlessly sought out all of those "10 Things Nobody Tells You About Birth" articles to find that they all had pretty much the same information. Here I was thinking, "Mesh undies, Tucks pads, bawling my eyes out for the first week, got it!"
What they failed to mention was that you may not cry at all that first week. You might not even cry the second or third. I thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn't the emotional wreck that I had mentally prepared myself to be. I naively thought that I had tamed the infamous postpartum hormones as I strutted around the house tackling motherhood like a champ. My husband kept waiting for the bottom to fall out and it finally did.
I think most women can agree that hormones are sneaky and unpredictable. We spend 9 months just figuring out how to navigate all of the new ones that we get, just to get bombarded with all the feels as they rush away from us. There is not only postpartum depression to possibly contend with, there's postpartum anxiety, sweating (so much sweating),mood swings, hair loss (as if that’s at all fair) and wondering when the heck your period will start again and if it will be as bad as everybody says it will be.
Depression in itself is very difficult and postpartum depression can incredibly scary. Not only are you struggling to take care of yourself, but you are now responsible for caring for a little life that is 100 percent dependent on you.
As a first time mom I had no idea how to do both of these things and keep my head above water while battling self-doubt and, at times, overbearing sadness. The first couple of weeks were so easy because she never cried, slept most of the day, people were bringing over food, and my mother-in-law helped with the keeping up the house.
When it becomes just you and the baby, and you no longer go to work each day, it's overwhelming. It can be mild or severe and come and go. Luckily I knew I wasn't alone and there are a lot of resources out there to help us get through this time, because it really is amazing time!
Talk to your partner, your friends, your family, your doctor, your midwife, your doula, or anybody you think will help you through this. The Postpartum International Support site is a wonderful resource, and great if you’re not comfortable with talking to somebody you know about how you’re feeling. And the Postpartum Progress site is another great resource to help you find support local to you.
Lisa is a breastfeeding, baby wearing, stay-at-home mom of a new baby girl. She loves running, yoga, video games, craft beer and hopes to one day see those things again when the new mommy fog lifts!