When Postpartum Feelings Surface and Your Baby Isn’t New
It’s been a few months since you gave birth and you should be feeling happy and elated in her new role. Instead, you don’t feel this way at all.
You’re sad. You feel anxious and irritable. Why can’t your husband help more? What does this baby want when it cries? Why are you crying? You don’t have a desire for intimacy with your spouse and you find yourself isolating yourself from others. You may also not be eating well, because let’s face it. Taking care of a baby sometimes can take all of your energy and time.
All of this sounds like postpartum depression. But, like I said, your baby isn’t new.
I had some of these feelings about 6 months after the birth of my third child in late 2016. I found myself preferring to stay home and not be around others. Of course I was tired and irritable, unfortunately she still doesn’t sleep so these feelings haven’t subsided. I didn’t realize I could have postpartum depression or anxiety and not have a new baby.
If you start to feel this way in your own motherhood journey, there are some things you can do to get over the blues.
Be honest with yourself.
I felt like the way I was feeling was silly or shameful. I mean, I have 2 other children and didn’t feel this way with them. It’s okay to identify that you are in fact feeling more than just blue or down. Don’t try to hide your emotions or sugarcoat your feelings. Motherhood is hard and it is so important to take care of you, too. Many moms have been there and survived.
Seek help when needed.
Most of us have taken the little quiz at the doctor after giving birth to see if we have postpartum depression, but sometimes we need this quiz later on down the road. Talk to your trusted midwife or doctor if you need more than just a hug. Postpartum depression is treated the same as depression before children. You may need a safe antidepressant to help balance the chemicals in your brain and regulate your mood. If you don’t want to take medication, consider talking it out with therapy or other alternatives. Find a good counselor in your area or even just a trusted friend who has been there. It’s amazing how many moms have felt the way you do.
Remember, it doesn’t just affect you.
When I struggled with postpartum depression feelings, it affected everyone. I started falling behind on housework and cooking. These are simple tasks, but they are things I take pride in as a stay-at-home mom. I started cancelling plans with friends, and lost friendships over my emotions. I became irritable with my spouse and my other children. I didn’t have the patience and gentle, loving attitude I once had with my toddlers. These feelings can also affect your baby. Remember to keep your baby safe and that it’s always okay to put your baby down in a safe environment and go take a mommy time out.
So, momma, if you start to feel down months down the road from birth, after all the casseroles and flowers and visitors are gone, take a check of your emotions. If you feel like you’re experiencing postpartum depression, you probably are. Be honest, talk to someone, and get the help you need so you can be the mom you want to be.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Arkansas where she loves her kiddos and is thankful for each one of them.