I was talking with a friend the other day about postpartum depression and I thought now would be a good time to talk about my experience postpartum. My first two weeks were hard. I don't think I suffered from postpartum depression, but I was frustrated and sometimes sad.
I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I got a c-section. I had been so healthy and active throughout my entire pregnancy that I felt jipped not getting a "traditional" birth experience. I hated having to get induced and I had really hoped that I could have Zoe naturally. That was completely not the case and I wanted that epidural. And I wanted it BAD. Getting the epidural (along with other factors) is what most likely led to my blood pressure crazy dropping and Zoe's heart rate crazy dropping and needing to get the "emergency" c-section (though we both did completely stabilize before surgery). I felt A LOT of guilt thinking that it was "my fault" that the c-section happened. I stupidly reasoned that maybe there was something I didn't do to make myself go into labor, I should have been stronger and held off on the epidural, blah blah blah. But in my head I felt like it was my fault. And that put a big burden on me
After the c-section you are of course very sore, so it was hard for me to hold Zoe a lot those first couple days. Combined with the fact that she was really fussy I felt even more like a failure: I couldn't help Chris soothe her as much as I wanted. My core was sore and I could only hold her for extended periods of time if I was sitting down and sitting down is not what makes Zoe happy. She wanted to be rocked, bounced, walked, etc. and I just couldn't do that.
Then we add to the mix the difficulties of breastfeeding and I was a bit of a basketcase at times. I felt like my largest contribution those first couple days and weeks was being able to feed her, and I was struggling a lot to do that. Zoe and I were having trouble latching and figuring out how to make things work. Chris was amazing and even sometimes held her for me while she was feeding because I would get sore and tired. He was really the most awesome and supportive person he could have been. And I was super thankful for that.
But that still didn't mean that I wasn't hurting. I tried to keep a lot of it in as friends and family asked how things were going. I said I was tired or Zoe was being fussy, but for the most part I kept up a really happy face. I didn't want anyone to worry about me
It was impossible though for Chris to not see that I was having a hard time. At different times in my life I've gone to counseling when I go through phases of various levels of unhappiness and Chris knows that it's best to tackle me being unhappy right when it starts or else I start to sort of tailspin and become a super big Negative Nancy. He asked if I wanted to go to a support group or a Mommy and Me class. I was really hesitant and didn't want to. I was already feeling like a failure for being induced, getting a c-section, having a hard time holding her, and having trouble breastfeeding. Of course going to talk to other moms that were feeling the same thing was the absolute thing I should have done, but I didn't want to "add" one more thing to the list.
It was completely stupid and in no way was I a failure for any of those reasons. That was just what happened for our birth. Nothing was my fault and I was doing everything I could as a new mom and Chris was doing everything he could as a supportive partner and new dad.
For me, everything changed once I read about wearing a baby which came about the time I finally felt strong enough to hold her in her carrier. Once I started carrying and wearing Zoe all the time I felt so much more connected to her and that I could make her feel better and that I was succeeding as a mom. Breastfeeding started to get easier and she started sleeping better. It was magical
I'm sure I was suffering from Baby Blues, adjusting to being a new mom and just being too hard on myself. I don't know why I expected a perfect transition and to get the hang of everything as soon as a new challenge presented itself. This was a brand new experience and something I had absolutely never done - why on Earth would it be so easy peasy?
I now am much more confident at being a mom and tackling new challenges. When people ask me the biggest thing I've learned or the most important piece of advice I always go to: I know enough for today. I know that tomorrow there will be a new challenge that I've never faced, and that will be okay. My mom said that one time her and my brother were in a fight when he was a teenager and she told him that even though he thinks of her as a mom and that she might know everything about being a mom, she'd never had a teenager that was 16 years old, 4 months and 19 days. The next day will be her first time having a teenager who is 16 years old, 4 months and 20 days. No matter how long you've been a mom - 3 days, 3 months, 3 years, or 3 decades - there is always something that will pop up and challenge you and force you to learn how to deal with it. And learning to realize that was a huge burden lifted off of myself that I had unnecessarily placed there
It's important to find the joy in every moment and understand that every frustration will also pass. And when you're really annoyed, make sure to go look at your sleeping baby, there's really just about nothing cuter.