Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Baby Blues

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I'm still writing my birth story and hope to share it with you all soon. I had a really wonderful experience, but writing everything down is still emotional. Ellie's birth was the best day of my life- the day that all my dreams had come true. I would finally have everything I wanted in life- a wonderful and loving husband, and a family that was my own. The days and weeks after Ellie joined us were wonderful, I felt great, I was recovering from the c-section well, and Ellie was such an easy baby. Don't get me wrong, motherhood was hard, but it wasn't harder than I had expected.

Around week 3 is where it got really tough for me. I got the baby blues. Actually, I had it for a while, but didn't realize it had found me until I was through the storm. I cried a lot. A lot. Often times if Ellie cried, I would cry. If someone made a joke, I cried. I felt alone, even though Matt is so hands on and I had tons of family who came over to help when Matt went back to work. My mother and grandmother would come and clean, cook, and help with Ellie. I would go to my mother in laws home and spend time there, socializing and running errands. But, I worried all the time. Is she sleeping enough? Am I playing and cuddling with her enough? Is she eating enough? Am I producing enough milk? Is she too hot or too cold? If there was something to worry about, I worried about it.

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At this point, I had just stopped sleeping upright on our couch (our bed was too hard to get in and out of after the surgery), and Ellie was nursing nearly 24/7 and she wanted to be held all day long. I was tired. I was still sore from the c-section, and I was cranky. We could get her to sleep in her swing a lot, but not every time she was down. There were so many changes and I didn't know if I could keep up emotionally.

I doubted myself and everything I was doing. I felt like I had set this bar so high and had just failed. I loved this beautiful little being with all my heart and did everything I could to keep her happy, nourished, and healthy.  I am responsible for this little girl and I want to give her so much love and parent her in the way that she needs, to bring her up to be loving, thoughtful, generous, responsible, to be herself and so much more.

I poured over Baby Center, What to Expect- any baby website- to gain as much knowledge as I could about how to be the best mother. Hold her this way, burp her that way, buy these toys. Honestly, I just overwhelmed myself without even knowing it. The internet is such a wonderful resource, but man is there so much out there.

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At night I would check myself to see how my thoughts were. I never resented Eleanor and I didn't have dark thoughts about myself. I knew I didn't have postpartum depression, but I wanted to keep myself in check so I could get help for it right away if I felt it got worse or if my feelings of  emotional overload didn't go away. My body had just been through the ringer, my hormones were all across the board, if my feelings kept on or worsened I knew I would need to talk to someone.The feelings I had weren't there all day long, it didn't consume me 24/7, but they were there and came on in huge waves. My feelings included guilt, being judged by everyone, exhaustion, I could cry at the drop of a hat, resentment to others, and insomnia. Then on top of it, I was embarrassed and ashamed I felt this way.

I had two days/nights in a row where I was by myself and Ellie was waking up every.single.hour. She was crying a lot, she cried during nursing, and I was exhausted. My sweet, sweet sister-in-laws came and stayed one night with me each and helped take care of Ellie so I could get a full night's rest. It was the most thoughtful and helpful thing they could have done. I talked to them about my feelings and how I was just beating myself up. They told me how I was doing such a great job, that every mother feels like this, and it's just the baby blues- it will pass. They talked to me about trusting my instincts and to keep doing what I was doing. What I was doing was the right and best thing for Eleanor. After getting more than 2 hours of sleep in a row and talking to someone who knew exactly what I was feeling, I felt like a new woman. I felt like I could conquer the world. I felt like myself again.

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The next few days was like a whole new world. Some days were still tough, some days I was still exhausted. Having my family, a supportive husband, and finally realizing that I was making the right choices for Ellie and what I was doing was perfect for our family. It's been so hard for me to write this post and I cried so many times remembering that awful feeling I had. Not wanting to tell anyone or talk about it with my husband because I felt so guilty and ashamed. I wanted to write this post share my story with you that it's OK to have moments like this postpartum and to talk it out with your spouses and other moms without feeling guilty or alone. These feelings are normal and will pass once your body balances out and you get the hang of being a new mom. You, your husband, and your little one are all adjusting and learning together. No one is Super Mom from the get go, you're going to make mistakes, you're going to have long cries in the shower, and it's OK. Cry it out and talk about it, love on your new baby and your husband, and get some sleep. These things can be the life raft you've been waiting for.

If you're going through the baby blues, know that you're doing fine, you're not alone, and you are loved. If I was next to you, I'd give you the big hug you need and the shoulder to cry it out. Please, if you have any questions or want to talk, please feel free to email me at lovelipstickandpearls@ymail.com.

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