I've had several friends have babies in the last few months, and it brings back so many memories of my own delivery, both good and bad. I was NOT prepared for postpartum life. I didn't read up on it like I should have. Of course I had heard of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, but I never dreamed it would happen to me. I've always wanted to be a mom and I had everything planned out exactly the way I wanted it to be. Everything was falling right into place. I had an extremely easy pregnancy with the exception of the summer heat making me miserable in the end.
I had a not so typical labor experience. I labored for 28 hours and only got to 3cm. I contracted constantly for 24 hours without making any progress. My babygirl was too big to fit and couldn't get down far enough to help me make any progress. It was eventually decided I would have a c-section.
I was absolutely miserable after giving birth. I wasn't able to get up for 12 hours after my surgery, and even when I did get up, I was extremely weak and needed help going to the bathroom, showering, getting dressed, you name it. My mom or my sister was able to be with me at all times to help my husband and it was a lifesaver for us. One of them could help me while the other helped the baby and it made everything so much smoother.
The morning we were set to be discharged from the hospital, I woke up and I was in a panic. I couldn't explain how I was feeling. I went from gushing over how perfect my baby was, to crying because I was in pain, to anger because they weren't discharging me fast enough. It was a vicious cycle. It was 6am and I called my mom and said I needed her. She dropped everything and was there within minutes. My husband was doing everything he could to keep me calm, and was honestly doing a great job himself, I just wanted both him and my mom to be with me. During my cycle of emotions, I remember asking myself, why am I feeling like this? I couldn't understand why I was filled with so many emotions, mostly negative, after I had just given birth to a perfect baby girl.
Unfortunately, even after getting out of the hospital, my anxiety grew worse. I had several meltdowns driving home from the hospital. What if she gets hungry? What if we get in a car wreck? But she's so perfect, why am I freaking out about this? My poor husband heard me say the same phrases over and over again, he really is a saint!
When we got home, my mom suggested that my husband and I take a nap and she would take care of the baby and get things settled at home. I. Couldn't. Sleep. I would sit up at least every 4-5 minutes freaking out either looking for my baby or running to check on her to make sure she was okay. Guess what? Every single time, she was perfectly fine. But that didn't stop me from becoming overwhelmed with anxiety.
I hated myself after I had my baby. I didn't understand why I was feeling this way. I had a PERFECT baby girl, a wonderful husband doing everything for me, and supportive family and friends checking on me. But I was still overcome with emotions I didn't know how to control.
Right before you have your baby, your body is full of hormones and they are at an all time high. Right after you give birth, your hormones drop to almost nothing. It is a drastic swing that is difficult for your body to handle. After a few weeks, your hormones start to level out. Some people struggle with this more than others. I did not do enough research on this before I gave birth myself and that is my biggest regret.
If you are currently pregnant, the best advice I can offer is to research hormone changes before and after birth and understand what your body will go through. If you have just given birth and you are struggling, CALL YOUR DOCTOR. It is the best thing I could have done for myself.
Postpartum is not something that is talked about in any of your prenatal classes. You may get a pamphlet about information, but it's nothing that anyone is willing to elaborate on. What I can tell you is that postpartum is REAL and it NEEDS to be talked about. If you need help, THAT IS OKAY. Find your circle of people that will be there for you and lean on them. It gets better! You've got this, Mama!
xo-The Home Team Mama
Hi everyone! I am a working mama in Indianpolis, Indiana. I am a middle school special education teacher and basketball coach as well as wife to a social studies teacher/assistant athletic director and mama to our sweet baby girl, Mila! On this blog, I'll share helpful tips and tricks to navigate through pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum, newborn care, and balancing work and home life. Enjoy!