Hello to all my Bubbly Blogcast readers! Apologies for the long break in my posts...I was busy pushing another tiny human out of my V card. He is now 2 weeks old and looking a lot less like a little alien creature and more like my husband.
The night I delivered, I was lying in the hospital bed reading one of the magazines the nurses had given me. I came across an article a mother from Germany had written on postpartum depression; a condition which a large percentage of new mothers experience, post delivery. We are all of course familiar with it; whether we have gone through it ourselves or not. The author of the article spoke about her symptoms and severity of the depression, how it affected hers, her family’s and her baby’s life the first few months. The article got me thinking.
Photo credit: www.freshmindtherapy.com
Depression is something we always think only others go through and could never happen to us. We sometimes talk about it as if we are narrating a scene out of a movie. So I wanted to dedicate my post this week to this topic, and to a milder version of depression which many new moms don’t even realise they are experiencing, called baby blues. There are so many websites out there which give moms advice on the symptoms of baby blues and how to overcome it. But I wanted to dig a little deeper so that if any moms out there want to share their voice on their experiences, they can do so without any hesitation.
I have personally seen baby blues set in faster and more frequently among new moms. I am not sure if it can be contributed wholly to ‘hormonal changes’. The thing I want to say first is this – baby blues is not something that you can control, whether it is your first, second or third child. It is not something that is right or wrong. Some of the feelings associated with becoming a new mom (other than happiness, excitement, anticipation, joy etc), are those of anxiety, loss of identity, loss of your former life and fear of what lies ahead. These feelings can stem from not having enough help those first few weeks, struggles with nursing, feeding every half hour etc. Sometimes there may not even be a reason for these feelings. If these feelings are not communicated and ‘vented’ to a family member or friend, they tend to fester and eventually lead to sudden crying outbursts for no reason and a general overwhelming feeling of sadness. I am not going to go into the symptoms as there as many.
Coming home from the hospital with a newborn is always an emotional event, stirring up mixed feelings for the mother. Dealing with those feelings by surrounding yourself with family and friends, and talking about them is key, to keep the baby blues at bay. Bottling those feelings up and feeling embarrassed to talk about them, is what pushes many new moms to experience baby blues. It’s ok to not be ok. If you are not ok, say so!
Many people have a very ‘blissful’ picture of motherhood in their minds. They believe that motherhood is made up of only hallmark moments. When reality kicks in and the baby is born, the hallmark moments blend together with the hoard of challenges of motherhood. No one is ever ready for the hurdles motherhood presents; we can only prepare for it to the best of our ability, without knowing fully what to expect. But many times because that perfect picture in our minds is torn away by the reality of becoming a mom, the fantasy is shaken and the gloomy feelings become overpowering.
I had a very mild version of baby blues after my first son was born, although I didn’t know it at the time. I just thought I was an overly hormonal new mom. Pushing myself to breastfeed when I couldn’t because the doctor said so, nanny issues the first two months and other things contributed to it. There were days of never-ending crying outbursts, nearly zero appetite, mood swings and an overall feeling of loss. But at the end of the day I had my entire family around me forming a wall of support. Now after my second son was born, the day we came home from the hospital, my family and I popped open a bottle of rose champagne, and celebrated us having become a part of what a friend of mine aptly called – ‘The two boys club.’