About a week after my son was born, things got sad. I was never able to truly describe why but it was as if they joy I felt when holding him, started to cloud my everything else.
I tried masking it. I cooked and stayed busy. I made sure to take my pain meds. I associated the physical healing the emotional brokenness I felt. For this overachiever, the fact that something more than the crappy baby blues took hold of my heart for nearly a year became a sad reality for me that tainted how I viewed almost every aspect of the world other than my son.
To the new moms out there feeling sad right now, know that you are ok.
You are healing.
You are strong.
You are still beautiful and you are loved.
I know you feel somehow ungrateful for having these sad feelings. I know you love your child. I know you love your spouse and if you are lucky enough to have help from your parents or your partners, trust me that in time they will understand that while you did not show it, your gratitude is bigger than what you can emotionally show right now.
I cried in the shower too.
I sat in the dark.
I ruined holidays with my gloom.
I wallowed in my apparently self imposed dark cloud.
I lay awake hurting and though exhausted, almost longing for the call to nurse because while physically painful, holding my new child somehow temporarily healed me. Don’t be ashamed for being down. Don’t feel imperfect for yeah, needing to hold baby all the time to have that heartbeat try to fill the void you somehow feel.
You can’t over hold your child. Oh hell, I wish I got out my own way with that one. If that’s what makes you feel better, you freakin hold him!
You are right about one thing, you DON’T get this time back. Trust me, you are not getting it wrong.
New mommy, cry openly. It’s ok.
Do talk to someone.
Do find a friend that won’t judge you. Find one who’s a mom. Don’t text, call – let them hear the pain in your voice. Mommy empathy is real. It’s ok to ask for help.
Maybe you need help to find your God/god/goddess again but find it in your heart to pray mom.
Even in the miracle of new ‘mommyness’, after a year of prayers for a safe labour and healthy child, in those first few weeks (and honestly, from time to time over the last year) I lost God too.
Worry not, your God speaks “crazy mommy”. Your God does not judge – no matter the form you find the spirit in. You will find your Him again.
New mommy with the tears, I promise you that more miracles are in store for you.
You’ll find friendship in places you did not know existed. Support will come to you – I promise you that. Love manifests itself in your life in new ways after giving birth. Possibly the sadness I felt was my heart simultaneously softening and growing more hard in its perseverance.
You too will grow. It’s the fastest I ever grew mentally I believe. Mommyhood is a metamorphosis of sorts. Possibly the gloom was part of it for me.
And when you grew before, the people that were around you in your earliest times may be folks could turn to again. Don’t be afraid to ask your mom if you’re lucky enough to have her in your life, to hold you. Get one of those old school rocking hugs. It’s ok to need. It’s ok to be scared. There’s a whole lot of new going on. Old, real, family love is a-ok.
New mommy, YOU are a-ok.
Throw the effin postpartum definitions away. You don’t need every symptom to have it. Ignore the people who play it down. It’s the ignorant that judge or say crap like “wham to she” in this situation.
For me, postpartum depression was never about my child or harming my child, it was just a gloomy time of tiredness, ‘overwhelmedness’, guilt and gloom. For you it may be different. That’s ok too.
Just please talk to someone. Please do more than cry. Please know that for waaayyyy too many this is normal.
So be honest. Talk. Ask for fricken help. You don’t “got this”.
Trust me, love comes with support. Understanding and empathy go a long way.
Love WILL lift you.