Like most people, I think there are certain things that won’t happen to me. In this case, the days and weeks following delivery, I wouldn’t have guessed I would feel the way I did. I suppose some of it is that invincible feeling, and the other part is because it’s something I don’t think a lot of people talk about. After experiencing it, I can’t help but wonder why? Do only a select special few of new moms get the baby blues? Or do new moms think they’ll be judged?
The days I spent in the hospital during and after labor weren’t bad. Everything seemed so dreamy.
When we got home is when I started to not feel like my usual cheerful self. It wasn’t that caring for Jade was hard, but I just felt so intensely sad about EVERYTHING. Sleep deprivation hadn’t set in, sure I skipped a few meals here and there, and everything on the outside seemed fine. But inside..I felt like I was failing as a mom. How can I be so sad when this is one of the best moments of my life? How could I possibly feel this way?
It’s unbelievable how much I cried.
It didn’t help that my breast milk took a while to come in-about a week and a half. I felt defective because the doctors and nurses said it would take 3-5 days. And for me, it took much longer. In the meantime, Jade isn’t able to gain weight and she had actually lost close to 10% of her birth weight, which was a concern. When my milk started to come in, it was slow and gradual. I didn’t get that engorgement thing that everyone talked about. I would spend all day locked in my room with her and just cry and cry and cry. Is breastfeeding just not in the cards for me? Is my baby starving? She was so tiny. 6 pounds 10 ounces. She fit in preemie clothing.
I became so sad that even looking at her couldn’t cheer me up. I’d look at her and get sad and think of how much I was failing her. I called my local La Leche League multiple times but nobody called me back. I would pump for an hour only to extract half an ounce at most. I ate tons of oatmeal, drank the tea, massaged, applied heat- everything I was “supposed” to do.
It wasn’t until I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with mastitis that I found out that not only shouldn’t I have been breastfeeding at all because of medication that I don’t even want to be on in the first place, but it was the reason for my low supply. Imagine that. Imagine how I felt. It was basically confirmation that I was a horrible mother and truly was failing my daughter. If I had a normal brain I wouldn’t even be in this mess. I fell deeper into my hole of self-pity.
It tore me up and ripped me into pieces. I felt so low. I cried more. In fact, I had a major meltdown when I was faced with the reality that Jade would need formula full time. I cried every time we gave her a bottle. I mourned breastfeeding. I still am. It’s an extremely sensitive topic for me and if you were to bring it up, I’d cry easily. This was my struggle. Nevermind the weight that’s still lingering or my stretch-marked skin.
What helped me was having someone to talk to. Out of every pregnant person that I knew, including friends and family, only ONE reached out to me about baby blues and postpartum depression. The hospital counseled us briefly on it before we were discharged, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to reach out to a stranger. Thankfully, I had that one, beautiful, amazing, loving friend who offered help way before I knew I would need it. She talked with me. She let me know that I wasn’t alone, that she knew what it felt like to just be sad when you feel like you should be happy.
I’m just starting to get out of the house regularly now. I’m finally beginning to feel better. I have my moments but I’m getting there.
So, here I am for any of you in the future, should you need me. I’m here for you.
Lots of love and healing light ❤️