The moment you see the word “pregnant” appear on that little blue stick, your entire world changes. I was terrified and crazy happy. You see that positive blue stick and you think about tiny toes, and first smiles, not postpartum depression. You don’t think to yourself to prepare for emotional upheaval. How could you? As a mom-to-be, it’s impossible to understand the postpartum period. The best we can do is try to learn from one another and hopefully, make postpartum depression more understood, more talked about, and eventually achieve better postpartum support for women all over the world.
My little man was tiny. He was estimated to be 5lbs by the time 40 weeks rolled around. My doctors were worried that my placenta was failing and not giving him enough nutrition. After many repeated tests, and as my due date began to approach we kept an eye on his size, his heartbeat, and his blood flow.
38 weeks hit, and his levels had a small dip, so we went for a scheduled induction. We were naively elated to finally hold our little man. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be that simple. 12 hours and 4cm later I was in an incredible amount of pain (still trying for an unmedicated birth). Little man’s heart rate began to dip, and as the doctors rushed in, they wheeled me out faster than I could sign my emergency c-section consent form.
1/2 an hour later I gave birth to a beautiful 4lb 7oz baby boy. I can still hear my husband say, “Its a…a…boy!” I heard his cry and was in love. The love I have for my children is unlike anything I have ever experienced before in my life. It is the deepest love I will ever feel in my lifetime.
Unfortunately for me and little man, we didn’t get immediate skin to skin (as I deeply longed for). When I was finally finished in surgery and got to hold him to try to breastfeed, my nurse handed me a breast-shield (a little plastic nipple to assist in breastfeeding). She informed me that his mouth was just too small to breastfeed yet. We struggled.
In our hospital room, his blood sugar levels were low so they took him from my room for 4 agonizing hours of “observation.” The pain of those first days in the hospital was intense. I had a strong maternal bond, but we kept hitting walls that were keeping us apart. On the 3rd day in the hospital, his levels normalized and we were able to finally leave as a family of 3. Our struggles did not end there.
Taking Little Man Home
I fought to feed him for months, we sat both crying together, sleep-deprived on the couch trying and trying to breastfeed. We fought together. We battled long and hard and I found myself sad, crying, and anxious.
Postpartum depression doesn’t always look the same for every woman. For me, I was desperately anxious to always be around my little man. My husband and I grew farther and farther apart as we had no energy and no time to spend together.
Light on the Horizon
I didn’t know that I was depressed when I was in it. I just thought “This is what life is like now.” As my Little Man got older, started sleeping longer chunks at night, began breastfeeding without struggle (YAY!), and as I started to lose my baby weight, I began to feel like myself again.
It still took me a while to leave him for the first time (Which by the way was to go to the store for 30 minutes while my husband stayed home). Eventually we found a new rhythm- We had more energy, started going places together as a family, and we had a real date (all by ourselves)!
Life Began to Brighten
I had two more babies after my little man and I didn’t experience postpartum depression with either one. You can’t control how your body or mind reacts to birth and to being a new mom. Just remember that you are not alone. You have a community of women who have gone before you and who have found their way to the other side.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced after having a baby? Drop your comment below!