I am taking a break from my usual format to address something that is very important to me and hopefully it will help any moms out there who are struggling with their emotions after having their baby…
I am going to break this up into 2 parts. Part 1 will deal with the “dark” side of it and here I will be sharing my experiences with this. In Part 2, I will be addressing ways to deal with PPD and PPP and also I will be addressing the questions that were sent to me. Well, there’s no “pretty” way to talk about this stuff, so let’s just dive in, shall we?
For me, it began a few days after I came home from the hospital after having Jadon. I don’t remember there being a point where one minute I was okay and the next minute I wasn’t. I think the timing had something to do with Tim’s return to work. I was struggling a little already with my emotions feeling out of whack. I had “Baby Blues”. I would start crying randomly at little things and would feel overwhelmed at times especially when Jadon was crying. Now it’s important to realize there is a difference between “Baby Blues” which are pretty common and experienced by up to 80% of mommies after they give birth and Post-Partum Depression. It’s understandable that new mommies (whether it’s their 1st baby or their 10th) would experience changes in emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed. You are now responsible for the life of another person who instead of being safely snug (and quiet!) in your belly for 9 months is now screaming, pooping, eating, and sleeping (or not). You might wonder if your life will ever “be the same”, you may wonder if your body will ever be the same, if this baby will ever be able to communicate via a method other than screaming and crying. Who would have thought that a little tiny person could cause so much emotion??
My main issue was that I was upset with the changes going on. I was upset that it was no longer going to be just Tim and I anymore. We would always have another little person (and eventually persons) in tow. I was very jealous that this little bundle of joy was going to be the “cause” of no more alone time with my husband. Luckily, I was very wrong one a few different levels: 1.) There was and still is a lot of time that Tim and I get to spend alone. & 2.) Jadon was not the “cause” of all of those feelings. I was the cause. I needed to adjust my mindset. My thoughts kept diving deeper and deeper into darkness. Nights were bad. The daytime wasn’t so bad, but nights were really bad. I began questioning things in my life. “Did I make the right decision to get married so young?” “Did I marry the right guy?” etc. (of course the answer to both these questions was yes) Then eventually in my downward spiral I began questioning my life. I’m not going to sugarcoat this, I began to get suicidal. I still don’t really know exactly why I was nor to I remember why I wanted to die, I just wanted to cease to exist. I had no reason to feel this way, I had a perfect husband with a steady job, a supportive family and a beautiful baby boy! I had every reason to want to be alive and yet I found myself contemplating suicide. I than became afraid to be alone around Jadon, I felt volatile and dangerous and I didn’t feel that Jadon was safe with me. That depressed me more. (Told you this isn’t pretty stuff) I had pretty much hit “rock bottom” and it was becoming more and more apparent to those around me that something was way off. My mom says I didn’t even look like myself anymore and I believe her, I didn’t feel like “myself.” She finally confronted me at her house when we were over for dinner and tried to gently but firmly knock some sense into me and bring me to reality. I told her I would try to get out of the funk I was in and tried to play it off as not being as bad as it was. I think she knew though. Poor Tim tried to help where he could and he tried to ask me about how I was but I would lash out at him or withdraw in tears because I was so embarrassed to tell him my dark thoughts. I didn’t bother talking to God. I figured He didn’t care, I blamed Him and I was angry. This was my darkest hour. I felt alone, scared, angry and bitter.
Here’s the big question: Why? Where does this all come from? How do you get from bliss to blues? and more importantly, how to you get back to bliss? Let’s explore for a minute the issues here:
1.) I felt alone- This was partly my own fault because in my embarrassment I tried to exclude everyone and hide and mask my pain and anger. I felt like I was the only person on earth going through this and I felt like a bad mom.
2.) I felt scared- As much as I was excited to have a baby and be a mommy, I was terrified of suddenly being responsible for the life and well-being of another person. I was scared I couldn’t do it, I was scared that these feelings I was having were going to completely take over and something horrible was going to happen. I was scared to let people know. I was scared if I told anyone that someone would come and take away my baby.
3.) I was angry- I was angry mostly at God. I felt like my life was effectively over and that nothing would ever be the same. I wanted my life back, I wanted my stretchmark-free body back! I felt like I was going to be achy and sore from giving birth forever.
4.) I was bitter- As I said before, I blamed Jadon for messing things up. I was bitter that no one else seemed to be going through all this emotional craziness.
Have you noticed (especially you, young moms) the looks and responses people give nowadays when you announce your pregnant? or when you are out shopping and sporting that baby bump? I can say from my experience that about 9 times out of 10, the looks and or comments I get from strangers and even a few “friends” are full of condescending pity. Children are a blessing! For some reason, society has this idea that children (especially the “unplanned” ones) are an inconvenient expense. It’s no wonder more and more women seem to be affected by resentment and anger towards their little ones. That, coupled with society’s constant bombardment of the idea that women’s bodies should remain as unaffected as possible after children, and the pictures of celebrity women who seem to be back into their size 2 jeans a few days after giving birth with no seemingly no stretch marks or cellulite puts an enormous pressure on “normal” women who are still battling cellulite, stretch marks and “jello-y” tummies years after having babies. One important thing to remember about the celebs is that the majority of them now opt for c-sections in which there is a plastic surgeon there to “fix” the loose skin right after the baby comes out. They effectively have a tummy tuck right after they deliver. But does anyone really bother to make this public? No, we are made to think that these “goddesses” who rule the roost in Hollywood are just that magical. Not very many women go back to a “normal” size that fast after childbirth completely unaided. (In Part 2 I will be talking more about this)
It’s a lot to deal with: new baby, new body, hormones going crazy, new schedules, and differences in general. Give yourself a break! Breath… and stay tuned for Part 2.