Dear Seekers of Truth Regarding Motherhood

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WHEN YOU FEEL THE URGE TO CRY - DO IT!


Honestly, if I learned anything after having two kids, a NICU stay and two miscarriages, it’s to just let yourself cry. There were so many times I tried to be strong for my husband, family members, and friends by not crying. But the truth was, each time I allowed myself to let go I could physically feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders.  
This urge to cry sometimes comes out of nowhere and hits you like a truck. It’s all a result of your hormones, estrogen and progesterone levels being out of whack, which causes all of the emotions; it’s not your fault. You are not crazy and it is temporary. If you do not feel any relief ask for help. Postpartum is a topic that is not talked about enough and DOES need to be addressed. Medication is not failure. Help yourself so you can help your baby.

 


Heather, mom of three
I was prepared for the possibility of getting the "baby blues," but I did not know that it gets worse with each successive baby! Luckily, I had an awesome midwife who clued me in on that little tidbit, and to the existence of "The Crying Day." Typically around day five after giving birth, your pregnancy hormones begin to crash at the same time as your breastfeeding hormones are increasing dramatically. It can lead to a ratchet day of hormonal crying and feeling of hopelessness. I literally cried from twelve pm until six pm. Couldn't stop for anything. Had a glass of wine, had a bath, called friends, tried nursing more to unload some more oxytocin into my system, nothing helped. My husband got home that night and was having a conversation with my midwife on the phone about whether I needed to be medicated or admitted somewhere. Yikes! Things finally calmed down that night, but “The Crying Day” almost sent me over the edge. I was so glad she had warned me in advance so I didn't think I was a total nut job.

 

Miss, mom of two
For me the baby blues usually started around supper-time each night. I would have an overwhelming feeling of dread, even though I was totally head over heels in love with my new baby. I used to need to “cry it out” in order to feel better or normal. It was a combination of sleep deprivation, not knowing what the heck I was doing and crazy hormonal swings. It only lasted two weeks and then I began to adjust to the new normal. Biggest recommendation for dealing with the blues is to talk it out with your partner, friend, or whoever will listen.

 

B, mom of one
Postpartum anxiety is a thing and the doctors I dealt with ignored it. They all assumed it was depression. My problem was primarily anxiety and exhaustion, and it was bad. I had an insane desperate feeling that my child was going to die. Luckily, my anxiety went way down after my milk dried up.

 


Kitty, mom of two
I'm afraid of things I was never afraid of before, especially flying in a plane. I did it a hundred times before kids. Now I'm a mess thinking about all the what ifs!

 

Amy, mom of one
I remember having two very intense, yet opposing views of the world the first few weeks after having my son. On one hand, I saw so much good in the world- a type of euphoric feeling toward mankind. I felt that the world was such a good, wonderful place, and people seemed kinder, more helpful. I had never experienced the world in that way. On the other hand, and at the other end of the spectrum, I remember feeling that the world was a very dangerous place. Along with that feeling came an intense urge and responsibility to protect my son from anyone and anything that could potentially hurt him. He was so perfect, so beautiful, I worried that someday, someone would break his heart. Just thinking of this breaks my heart.

 

Holly, mom of three
SIDS scares me to death, with each of my babies, all the time. I’m the mother of a newborn always checking on them while they nap, are in a car seat riding in the car, putting my hand down to feel their breath.  
Regarding postpartum depression, all the doctor asks when you go back for your well-mother check-up is: are you having feelings of sadness or hurting the baby? My response: not at all.  However, my anxiety shot through the roof and that is also a form of postpartum depression – even though it’s worry, not sadness.

 

K, mom of one
I feel like I had a completely different personality from the time my son was born until he finally started sleeping through the night at fifteen or sixteen months old. I was so tightly wound, everything my family members and in-laws did annoyed the shit out of me, and I would make these horrible passive-aggressive comments to people. I would hear myself do it, and instead of acknowledging it and apologizing, I would just pretend it didn’t happen; meanwhile I felt like a horrible, mean, ugly person. I guess I was lashing out at people because I felt so much pressure, mostly pressure I created for myself. I had all of those hormones bouncing around in my system, and I wasn’t sleeping enough. I also think that maybe every mom gets at least a touch of postpartum depression. I hate to say that because I don’t want to diminish how serious that condition is, but I don’t think there’s another way to describe it. It’s definitely longer-lasting than “the baby blues” that people so often refer to.

 

Michelle, mom of two
Postpartum was a sweaty mess for me. It was the middle of winter and I was waking up in the middle of the night with a sweat filled shirt and a sports bra full of milk. It took months for my hormones to re-balance and get back to normal.

 

THE HOMECOMING

Everyone pictures their arrival at home with their baby differently, but one thing remains the same for all of us - Expectations Are High. We expect to walk through the doors and find our old lives waiting for us, right where we left them. Nope- it’s completely changed. We want to be these amazing parents who swim effortlessly through uncharted waters, but in reality the water is choppy and you will struggle to stay afloat. But guess what? Everyone struggles and eventually everyone gets a grasp on their new lives and schedule.

 

Anonymous, mom of three
I knew my father-in-law and grandmother would be there when I got home. They came down the day I delivered and had spent lots of quality time with us in the hospital already. My parents were supposed to be coming down a few days later. But on our way home from the hospital, I learned that they couldn’t wait to meet our new bundle of joy, and were driving down to see us all, with my brother in tow. This meant that I had to host five house guests while I was four days postpartum. At first I thought “This might not be so bad, they can help.” I was clearly not thinking straight. The thing nobody tells you is that the only thing visitors want to do is hold the baby. This is their version of helping. The problem was, all I wanted to do was hold the baby. It was MY baby.  I was trying to figure out the nursing thing, which was trickier as a result of trying to use the nursing cover. And I was exhausted. And for some reason, I wanted to still be a good hostess. I did way too much cooking, laundry, and cleaning, which was not a good idea because it only makes you bleed more.
You will find yourself surrounded by people who had kids ages ago and they all have opinions about how to do things.  Some of the fun advice I was given included “give him sugar when he has the hiccups. Let him sleep, it doesn’t matter that it has been four hours. Give him back to me, you can bond with him when we leave.” On the plus side, this craziness only lasted a few days and then people cleared out. And lesson learned, I was much more assertive when my due dates approached with my second and third child. The circus of people was much too stressful for me.  I just wanted to be left alone so I could figure it out. 

 

Ashley, mom of three
Be open with yourself and your partner about your needs. I always prioritized everything before myself. I am finally learning after three kids that if I don't take care of myself, I will lose the ability to be the kind of mother, wife, and friend I want to be. Take long showers with the door LOCKED when you can. Do some things that are just for your happiness, and take a breather when you need to. This shit is hard and there is so much pressure on moms to do it all. It's OK to get help when you need it.

 

KC, mom of one
I am a neurotic hostess. After having my baby suddenly people were at my house all the time. I hated feeling that pressure to have my house be neat, to have clean sheets for them to sleep in, to have showered. And I especially hated when people would act awkward about me breastfeeding my baby in my own goddamn living room. Also, people say they want to help. I found that by “helping,” most people meant they were going to hold and cuddle my baby while I could run around and do laundry, clean, cook, etc. Next time around I’ll have a list of chores for all those “helpful” relatives to work on when they come over so I can relax on the couch with my baby.