Part 2 – “We all go through it, we all get over it” – Alex.
I was totally prepared for the baby blues after birth, or so I thought. Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I remember my sister-in-law suffering with them after my nephew was born, but she shut herself away. So I wasn’t really aware of what it was like – until I was experiencing them myself, and boy, did I get it bad.
About a week after Jaxson was born the crying started. Uncontrollable crying. This was the worst part for me. I was so ashamed and embarrassed. I had to turn visitors away (although not as much as I should have, looking back).
I felt numb. That’s the only way I can describe it. I had no feelings for anything, not even Jaxson. It’s taken me a long time to admit that.
I now know this is totally normal. My hormones were all over the place. I lost my appetite, was struggling to breast-feed, and had gone without sleep for over a week (by this point). Who wouldn’t feel numb?!
I just remember feeling like someone had turned a tap on. Here come the tears! Oh wait, now they’ve stopped. The crying must have lasted around two weeks or so, but it took me a lot longer to start feeling normal, and enjoy my bundle of joy.
Joe, my partner, was amazing. We both read about the blues before Jaxson was born, so he was as prepared as he could be for when they hit me. I remember watching him with Jaxson, giving him little kisses on the forehead, even excited to change his nappy. Superdad comes to mind. Me, however, wanted to curl up in a little ball and disappear. This made it harder for me, watching what I was supposed to be doing or feeling, when instead I felt nothing.
As horrific as it was, I remember the first time I truly felt unconditional love for Jaxson (other than when he was handed to me in the delivery room – nothing compares to that). A wave of love rushed through me just as strong as when the crying came. I knew at this point the difficult part was over. The blues were going and my true feelings were taking over. I looked at him and couldn’t look long enough; I couldn’t get enough of him.
The baby blues are such a minor part of motherhood, even though at the time you think they will never end. And if they last a bit longer than you would expect, then there are plenty of people willing to help you through it.
From my experience of the blues, my advice to you is…
1. Do not bottle up the tears; cry, cry and cry again.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps (easier said than done, I know.)
3. Make the most of your health visitor. The chats are about both parent and baby. So get any worries off your chest. If you are feeling depressed (there’s that dreaded word) tell them. They won’t judge you.
4. Be prepared; stock up on food, drink, snacks, comfy clothes, DVDs, magazines. Anything that will take your mind off how you’re feeling, and most importantly make you smile.
5. Avoid too many visitors. Close family; you need them around you for support. But friends, neighbors and anyone else can wait. They will understand. And if they don’t – tough!
6. Finally, when you are ready, get out of the house. Start with a walk to the shop, or round the block. The next day go a bit further. Each day you will build up more and more confidence about going out, and sooner or later those blues will be a thing of the past.
If you are feeling low, and you’re starting to really struggle don’t suffer alone, talk to family and friends and visit your doctor. Here’s the NHS link on how they can help.
Photo credit: 34th Street Wall Graffiti Sad Face Your by cdsessums. (Under this creative commons license).