I’ve had this one as a draft in my blog line up for a good few months now, in all honesty it was first created as a title a few days after I set up this website and I have scrolled past it several times and looked down in shame because I too have been avoiding being upfront and honest about this. The only thing I ever wanted to be when I started my blog was to be honest so that I could perhaps help another first time mom or dad and help them feel that they are not alone. The stigma attached to baby blues and more commonly, postpartum depression is so real. So real, that I too have shied away from sharing.
If you are a regular here you know my background, if not here’s the short version; I was diagnosed with PCOS and told I would probably need IVF, I then conceived with the help of Clomid and had a healthy pregnancy. Regardless of this, I struggled to believe I was actually pregnant after trying for so long and couldn’t attach to my son. This continued when I didn’t feel a rush of overwhelming love when he was born.
The first few days after my son was born, I was tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally and every other possible way I could be, I was tired. By day 4 a deep wave of what I can only describe as low mood hit me. I didn’t feel like myself, I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. I was struggling to eat because my food aversion continued after birth and the thought of food made me feel ill. My milk was trickling in but I couldn’t express enough for my baby. I felt detached and disinterested. My husband was still home and so he took the reins and took primary care of our son while I figured out my place. Every day was the same. The visitors came and went, I apologised for being low. I had been hit unmistakably by the baby blues which every website I found told me was due to a rapid hormonal drop. I googled postpartum depression symptoms, praying it wasn’t that and scared that it may be…how would I manage? Would I cope? What if I couldn’t do it?
It continued well past week two. My husband went back to work. I was doing minimal work from home as well to try and feel like myself. I did everything for my son to the best of my ability, we went out every other day and I made an effort to eat regularly and keep myself out of pyjamas as much as possible. I still felt unsettled and it made me feel fearful for what kind of mother I was going to be. Was I not bonding with my son? When would I feel that love for him? Why wasn’t it like it is for everyone else?
Once we had the chance to establish our own routine, the fog lifted and I could see a little more clearly (see what I did there) but I still couldn’t shift this concern about how I was feeling. I thought for sure I was developing postpartum depression but the symptoms didn’t match up with mine, was it a mild form? My doctor asked if I was okay once and when I said yes she carried on so I assumed not.
As the weeks went by I started feeling more like myself and started putting more time into doing things I used to, just realigned to work with a baby. As time went on I started to not just care for my son but to get to know him and our relationship grew as time went on and then around week five, it hit me that I loved him more than anything and that I would be alright.
In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that I had baby blues for about two weeks followed by what I am now calling ‘shades of first time mom’. Its a huge adjustment to becoming a parent and it happens in an instant, and nothing can prepare you for the hurricane that hits you when you suddenly realise you are responsible for an entire separate human being plus your hormones drop like a damn rock from the sky and on top of that you are surrounded by social media and media telling you what you should and shouldn’t be feeling, how you should or shouldn’t be looking, what your baby should or shouldn’t be like. Its no wonder we have varying degrees of wobbles.
The first few weeks were tough. I practically coped with everything but emotionally I was an absolute mess and this is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Instead of setting ridiculous expectations for each other, we should be there with outstretched arms and warm hearts saying “We know what you’re going through and we’re here”.
Will baby blues go away? Yes in time. Will ‘shades of first time mom’ go away? Yes in time. Will you have great days? Yes. Will you have dark days? Yes. Will postpartum depression go away? With management and treatment, yes. Are you a good mom? If you care this much about whether you are doing a good job – YES.