Moms told me about the wonderful pleasures of motherhood and the pains of labor, but no one warned me about the tears of postpartum depression.
Just two weeks after giving birth, I got hit with “the baby blues.”
As Noah would nap, I would cry. But why? I asked myself. I would just cry, for no apparent reason. In the middle of the day, I would sit on the edge of my bed and cry. I couldn’t explain to myself why the tears. I had a good baby. He was eating well, he wouldn’t cry, he would latch on without a problem, he wasn’t colicky nor struggling with constipation. So why the uncontrollable tears?
No one really talks about these so-called “baby blues,” but they are more common than we think. Approximately 70-80 percent of mothers experience some type of depression after giving birth.
The changes that my body underwent were extremely hard for me to deal with. From extreme constipation, hot flashes and hyperhidrosis, to sagging abdomen skin with dark, bruise-like stretch marks. No, I was not “blessed” with “good genes” that will keep my skin beautiful and silky smooth through a pregnancy and that really did not help my postpartum depression.
What. . .Well, who helped me get through the roughest three weeks of my life, was my husband.
He comforted me and cheered for me in a way that I can’t ever thank him enough. He didn’t ask for me to stop crying but made sure to remind me of everything that I was doing right for our son. Thanked me for dedicating endless hours breastfeeding. He was my biggest cheerleader in my greatest time of need. He caressed my stretch marks(Freddy Krueger wounds, as I called them)and kissed them while reminding me of the love and appreciation he had for me for carrying his child. He reminded me of his admiration for me the day I gave birth because he thought it was the most amazing event he had ever witnessed.
And although it was hard for me to feel immediate comfort with his words, he was patient. He made sure to take over parenting as soon as he got home from work, to give me a break. Not once did he complain about changing a dirty diaper or fixing a meal for himself if I didn’t have it ready. Having his infinite help got me through this rough patch.
I do regret not letting my on-call nurse from my health insurance know how I was feeling. I did receive a call from her the week the uncontrollable crying began. For fear of being considered an “unsuitable mother,” I remained quiet about the symptoms.
Maybe I got lucky with having so much help from my husband but I would definitely advise every first-time mother or mom-to-be, in general, to seek help if any of the symptoms are present. And if there are family members or friends who offer to help around the house or with the baby, TAKE THE HELP, even if it’s just to take a quick shower. Trust me, it will make you feel a bit better.
I almost cried thinking back on this postpartum time, how did you deal with the baby blues?