**Warning: This might be a hard post to read for loss mamas or anyone still fighting IF**
Postpartum hormones are no joke.
When I was pregnant, moms on my Success After IF (SAIF) groups would talk about them and I'd sort of pay attention like "yeah, yeah, I'll be hormonal, it'll be fine" but I didn't really put too much stock in it. In my naivete I think I assumed that since we had gone through so much with IF and loss I'd A) know how to handle it and B) probably wouldn't be too effected by it since we worked so HARD for this little guy and would be so THANKFUL to have him.
But I don't know how to handle it.
And the fact that we worked hard for him doesn't mean shit.
This is SO HARD. There is no way to accurately describe it. My whole life changed overnight. I thought I was prepared - mentally, emotionally, physically... But really, there is no way to truly prepare for the all-encompassing difference having a child makes in your life. I feel like I need to warn others who are still TTC or something: You want this but it is nothing like you are picturing! You are not adding a baby into your current life, your life will become your baby. It will no longer be your own! You will be a slave, body and soul, to an adorable little blob of a baby. S/he will become your entire world in the blink of an eye. You thought you knew what exhaustion was but you will learn the true meaning of it real quick. You will have times when you wonder what the hell you did and question why you wanted this. You will feel like you ruined your life and your marriage. You will wonder how things will get better - if you will ever sleep again or have a life again. You will wonder how things will turn out in the end and if you will ever feel happy again.
This is just the first month though. I have hope that it will get better. NO, I KNOW it will get better. That's what everyone says anyway; that this is just a phase and it's so hard and when you're in it it feels never-ending but that it does get better. And honestly? It has to get better or no one would have a second child.
There are good times too. I love Jack more than I know how to express. There are times that I look at him and feel like my heart is just going to burst. There are times I look at this precious little thing and can't believe he is ours and that we got so lucky. Times when I am so thankful that we are finally holding our son in our arms and we never have to let go.
People keep asking me how I'm doing. I don't know how to answer them.
Truthfully? I am a mess. I love my baby but I am a mess. I can't get my shit together. My brain is mush and no longer works in the way it used to. Tiny decisions feel overwhelmingly hard. It takes days to get one small task done. All thoughts just swirl around and around in my brain and I can't make heads or tails of them. I cry. I cry so so often. I am SO tired. I am afraid I'll never be myself again. I'm afraid I'm a terrible mother. I'm afraid this is my new normal. I'm afraid I won't be able to adjust. I'm afraid that I will hate my new life.Please tell me how I answer that in a text message? I sound like a complete crazy person.
....I'm afraid I made a mistake.
Oh, but by the way, I love my baby more than I can say and he is adorable and sweet and I'm so glad we finally have him!
I feel awful and guilty about having any kind of negative thoughts or emotions. I am so conscious of all the women I know who are still fighting infertility. Of those who had losses or those who had babies with severe health issues. All of the women who would kill to be in the position I am in now. I realize how hard it may be for them to read this. But this is also my reality. And I want to be truthful about it because if I can't be honest here, where can I be?
The truth is, this is hard. (We need a more accurate word in the English language to describe just how hard.) Someday I know it will be rewarding. Today is not that day. Right now, there are times when I wonder how I will make it through another day like this, or sometimes even just another hour. I feel so guilty wishing this time would be over and we'd get on to the "good part" where Jack can interact with us and be more of a person instead of just a dependent, crying (adorable) blob. I worked so hard for three years to have him and I should be enjoying it, dammit!! The guilt makes me cry. The exhaustion makes me cry. The all-encompassing feeling of being completely overwhelmed makes me cry...
People don't really talk about this part of parenting. "Baby blues" - HA. I think a more accurate title would be "exhaustion-induced lunacy".
A few days ago I reached out to other mamas in my SAIF group for help. I'm so glad I did. They reassured me that this is all NORMAL. That so so many new mothers (maybe all new moms?) go through this phase and that this is the hardest time and it is harder than you could ever imagine until you're in it. But that is DOES end. That you do move on from this phase and it does become rewarding and that this too shall pass.
I would not classify myself as having post partum depression (PPD) or post partum anxiety (PPA) but I think I can see just how easily it could happen. It's scary to feel out of control and like your brain isn't working in the same way that it used to. Add crazy hormones and severe exhaustion into the mix and that would be hard for anyone.
I am keeping an eye on my "blues" to make sure I don't need real help (therapist or meds) but if I do, I will contact my OB. In the meantime, I will continue living from hour to hour, often unable to think ahead beyond the next three hour stretch of change-feed-burp-soothe-sleep until this phase passes. And I will try like hell to enjoy moments with my beautiful son whenever my crazy brain allows me to.
Thank you for reading this jumbled mess.
Two links to articles on PPD/PPA:
Why So Many Women Don't Seek Help for PPD
This is What Postpartum Depression Feels Like