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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.