This post has received the most frequent use of my delete key. I actually wanted to vlog it once, but talked myself out of it for silly reasons - I need to have my eyebrows waxed first. I could use a haircut. I need to lose a little weight. I don't want to cry on camera. And so, this post has never been published.
I don't know if I can honestly say I suffered from postpartum depression, but I do know that I was miserable (in a way that didn't seem normal) in the weeks following my son's birth.
At first, I thought it was my own fear of failing at breast feeding. But, as the weeks wore on, I realized it was more about my fear of failing as a mother.
I was terrified all of the time.
I felt hopeless.
I felt overwhelmingly sad.
When I'm at a grocery store or a restaurant and I see a mother with a newborn, I find myself looking at her and wondering - is she as miserable as I was at that time?
I knew I was supposed to be happy, overwhelmed, but happy. Worried, but happy. EXHAUSTED, but happy.
But, I wasn't happy. And maybe that's why I have never written this post. I am ashamed to admit how sad I was in the first few weeks of my son's life.
I remember standing at the changing table and watching out the window as our neighbors had a barbeque. I could hear music and laughter and could tell the day was just beautiful, but all I could feel was sadness. I remember telling my husband, "I feel like we'll never have fun like that again." Looking back, it is hard for me to recall joy in those first few weeks of motherhood. I know it was there. But, I just can't remember.
I began to doubt my decision to have children and resent my own ignorance at thinking I could handle the privilege of motherhood. I felt so consumed by selfishness that I almost couldn't bear it. How could anyone look at that beautiful little boy and not feel anything except for joy? How can you look at that child and feel so miserable? You are an unfit, awful, neglectful, horrible mother.
I remember on our last night in the hospital, a nurse came by and asked what time we wanted to send The Incredible Hulk back to the nursery. Instead of answering her, I burst into tears. I realized that this was the last chance I would have to hand my baby off to someone else and I wanted to do it (we had some paperwork to fill out and a video to watch), but wanting to "get things done" made me feel horribly guilty. The nurse said she'd give me a minute and left the room. When she returned, she brought tissues and some fresh water and said nothing but this:
"It gets better."
And it did. I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember looking into my son's eyes at 3 months. Seeing his sweet little smile and hearing those cute little coos and I realized how happy I was. It didn't happen overnight, but soon, I knew that nurse was right. It did get better.
To anyone who ever stumbled upon this blog with the search terms "I'm a new mom and I'm sad" (that's true, someone found my blog that way) or to anyone who ever just wrote "new mom" in Google and hoped they would hear someone say these words - here they are. It took me two and a half years to be able to say them and writing the posts that fill this blog have been all about the journey of motherhood and all of the joy, humor, and excitement that journey entails.
So, if you're just starting out on the journey of motherhood. Here is what I have to offer:
It is hard.
It is exhausting.
It is scary as hell.
It is okay if you aren't filled with the joy of motherhood every single second of every single day.
It gets better.
|Photo Credit: Stephanie Rosser|
And, if it isn't getting better. If you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression - help is out there. Please tell someone how you are feeling. You are not alone. Here is a resource to connect you with the help you need. Help is out there. http://postpartumprogress.org/