You just had your baby and she is perfect. She is far more beautiful than you ever imagined. Her health checks out perfect. Your heart is bursting full of love. Everything is exactly what you dreamed of. However by the time you come home from the hospital, you are sad. You find yourself crying at times. You find yourself staring off into blank space. You find yourself doubting yourself and blaming yourself for everything wrong. All of sudden, you are happy again. You are laughing at your baby. You are glowing despite the bags underneath your eyes because you are so in love. You even feel closer to your husband than ever before. So what’s with all of the mood swings? You know you are not depressed, but at times you do feel so sad and alone. You google your mood swings and of course all topics pertain to postpartum depression, but again you know deep down that you are not depressed. You are embarrassed to talk about your emotions to anyone because after all you have the most beautiful baby and should be overjoyed.
As we expecting mothers approach our due date, our doctors go over postpartum depression more often than not. We even go over it with the nurses after we have our baby at the hospital, but we never quite hear about what’s normal and not. I for one thought that I would be very happy or very sad and nothing in between, but that’s just it. Life isn’t perfect and neither are your feelings. Mamas its called HORMONES. Your amazing body just gave birth to a human. Your estrogen and progesterone levels just took a major nosedive. Being sad after giving birth is completely normal as being happy is as well.
My pregnancy was very special as my husband and I were told that there was strong possibility that we might not be able to get pregnant. Finding out was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I thanked God for this beautiful miracle that He has given me and my husband. I was afraid that if I ever showed any moment of weakness or if I cried because I was overwhelmed that it meant that I wasn’t grateful for Emilia. I especially struggled with my emotions the week after I came home from the hospital from having Emilia. I couldn’t hold Emilia close enough to me, but yet I would randomly cry at dinner. Some nights, I felt like I would never stop crying. I worried many days that maybe I was experiencing postpartum depression, but I was afraid to admit that to anyone including my husband. If I admitted that I was sad did that mean I wasn’t grateful for Emilia. Did it mean that I didn’t love Emilia enough? Did it mean that I wasn’t a good mother? I was so scared of being judged by everyone that I kept my fears bottled up inside and every time I started to feel sad I would push those feelings to the side. Until one night…
I will never forget my husband reaching across the table and grabbing my hand. He said two words to me that changed everything for me, “It’s ok.” I thought I was fooling him by hiding my tears, but in reality I was just fooling myself. You see us mama’s, we are human. No…we are superhero’s, but even superhero’s have their moments. You are not a bad mother if you cry because being a mother is hard and sometime’s you really just don’t know what your baby needs. You are not a bad mom if you are simply overwhelmed. It’s normal to question yourself if you can really handle being a mom. Most importantly, you as a mother should know that ALL moms experience these feelings and it doesn’t mean that you are depressed. Having a baby makes a mother feel like she is on a roller coaster of emotions. Some days are really, really good and some days are really, really bad, but there is a silver lining. The emotions you feel after giving birth do subside and life will feel normal again.
My advice to you is to admit these feelings. Stop worrying about feeling judged. Talking about your feelings is the leap you need to make to get over the roller coaster of emotions. I confided my feelings to my husband who believe it or not was very sympathetic. Although he had no way of understanding what I was feeling, he listened and really that is all that I needed. Of course I am now confiding to you, the reader, that sometimes the tears just wouldn’t stop. I want you to know the truth of your hormones. I want you to know that other mothers feel sad at times too. Don’t forget to do something that seemed normal to you before having a baby such as taking a moment to read a chapter out of book every night, eat a brownie, take a nice hot shower, or even sit on the couch and watch tv for 30 minutes all while daddy takes over parenting duties.
Oh, and remember, “You got this.”