Thursday, May 7, 2015

Postpartum "baby blues"

**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.
....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!
Please tell me how I answer that in a text message? I sound like a complete crazy person.

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


  1. Oh Chickie I just want to reach through the computer screen and give you a big hug. This time is So. Tough. No doubt about it. I remember feeling like I had blood dripping from my eyes at this point - because they were so bloodshot from lack of sleep and frustration from the baby crying all the time. It is such a strange mix of emotions - to both love your new child and wish for the simplicity of your old life back.

    The best thing I can do to help is to assure you (as you said in your post) that things will get better. Jack will slowly start to sleep more, then become more interactive, then before you know it he will be off running around!

    I remember seeing people and telling them my baby was 8 weeks old and them saying "oh wow so young/new" and me feeling like I had a 3 year old already from all that we had been through! It is insane. Keep chugging Chickie!

  2. Thank you so much for being totally honest about all of this and your feelings. We all need to know this stuff. I am so sorry you are having a tough time right now, I can't even imagine. This has been one of the main things I have always worried about while struggling to conceive. I worry that once we do have the baby I will feel this very same way. We all just imagine the wonderful parts but don't realize the struggle that comes along with it. Thinking of you..hugs.

  3. It's such a drastic life change, you're allowed to feel any way about it! Just because of struggling through IF, it doesn't make us any less human or less likely to experience different emotions. Also, the lack of sleep can be rough on your emotional health. I know I've struggled with depression most of my life, I'm probably at high risk for PPD. While I have no personal experience, my sister told me before that the first month home with a newborn is very hard. I can definitely see how that would be the case. I love that you were honest with this post, it is nice to get that "heads up" on what to expect-- because I'm sure this is very common in all new moms, whether they went through IF or not!

  4. ((hugs))) I agree.... I think Im just now coming to terms with the fact that Im allowed to complain a bit. No way would I want my old life back by any means but this new life is redonkulous. LOL

  5. Thank you for being so honest about it! And I totally saw my PP self in a LOT that you said, especially about wondering if you ultimately made a mistake. Your days are no longer yours, your nights are no longer yours, even your body feels like it's no longer yours (especially if you're nursing/pumping!)

    but - the baby doesn't care if you've showered (in the last three days... BTDT!) or if your hair is brushed, or if the house is clean (something I've finally accepted almost 2 years into parenting!)

    The good part that FINALLY comes and makes you melt and think, YES! I DID NOT MAKE A MISTAKE! is when they walk up and plant a kiss on your lips and say (in toddler-speak) "I love you mama!"
    (but oh my gosh! the only "good part" isn't that far away! it's when they tuck their head under your chin and sigh with content... and start to smile at you! and THAT is just around the corner!)
    Hang in there mama... (((HUGS)))

  6. Hi! Thanks for always telling the truth. I'll be thinking about you and hoping your little guy starts helping out in the sleep department. In the meantime, you are an amazing mother and you are doing such a beautiful job.

  7. I'm a long-time lurker, and I wanted to let you know that it gets so much better that you'll forget that it was ever that bad at all.

    When I read about your desire to warn TTC couples and pregnant women, I had a flashback to how I felt around that time with my now-8-month-old. For weeks after he was born I had a legitimate desire to stop every pregnant woman on the street to say, "You really REALLY don't know what's about to happen to you, and you need to get ready!"

    Now I see pregnant women and I am a little jealous, if you can believe that. In a few weeks your little one will be looking you in the eyes and it makes a MAJOR difference in morale. :)

  8. Hugs. Big hugs. New mommyhood is no joke! But you do get through it and it does get better!

  9. ((Hugs)) I don't think there's any way to know how HARD this all is until you're living it. How many times you'll doubt yourself. How sometimes you'll just want to SLEEP and not have to get up for this small little person who's screaming at you. But it does get better. The second that little baby smiles or does something to prove that s/he loves you. It's still hard, but it feels so much more worth it.
    You are a great Mom. This is hard, but you're doing a fantastic job. And one day Jack will show you how much he knows that.

  10. Oh, yes, sooner or later we all wonder how on Earth can we feel this way about the little life we have tried so hard to bring into the world. I mean even now after several years I feel stressed at times and react selfishly in front of my children, feeling embarrassed that I wanted to be a parent so badly and now that I am I suck at it. Hehehe. My 2 cents: get someone to help you get sleep (like someone who can watch the baby while you nap), and you will feel a lot better. Secondly: there is medication and it works if you need it. Don't hesitate to get help, life does not need to be as hard as possible.

  11. CHICKIN. I FEEL THE EXACT SAME WAY. Infertility didn't even matter - I mean, it matters, but when I brought my baby home I just kept thinking what the hell have I done? I didn't feel like the person I was, nor did I feel like a good mother. I am pretty positive I went through some PPD up until recently. It is rough, very rough. Hormones make it even worse. And the guilt eats you alive. Nothing an prepare you for parenthood. I wanted to share a conversation I had with a friend with you:

    She asked how I was feeling. I didn't want to complain (infertility and losing my boys and all), but I said: so tired. exhausted. I can't think. I don't think I'm doing this right.

    Her response? If you are tired, you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

    Keep rocking motherhood, girl.

  12. Almost forgot to add - Jordan is only about two months ahead of your little guy and I can honestly say IT DOES GET BETTER. So, so much better. Hang in there.


  14. Chickin, I love you so hard for your honesty. Reading this really takes me back...& I'll say I 100% agree with the "exhaustion induced lunacy" incredibly accurate. I concur with basically everything you said, the beginning really is so felt like going through a trauma really, just with how much it changes your life so completely. I remember wishing so much that I had had the slightest idea of how giving birth can screw up with the sleep deprivation, it really is so crazy! I had no idea the ways all of that could affect me. I can absolutely promise you, however, that it gets better. SO much better!! So hang in there mama, & know that you have not been alone in your experience. <3 And you are doing great!

  15. I just found your blog, but so much of what you just wrote is EXACTLY what I would have said a few months ago if I had been able to think clearly enough to compose a post. Friends had warned me it would be tough, but I don't think you can ever understand it until you live it. My son is 19 weeks old now and I can definitely tell you, it is already better.