Baby Blues hit me with each of the girls.
I remember when Caitlyn was born being overjoyed, then two days later, sobbing as the nurse tried to take my blood pressure and temperature. Hubby had left to shower and freshen up. I was alone with our girl for the first time. You know, as alone as you can be in a hospital. And I was totally overwhelmed with fear and dread. How would I be able to take care of her? How would I know what she needed? How would I know if she was eating enough? Bless that nurse, she spent quite a bit of time with me reassuring me, going over the feeding cues, those things that came to be second nature to me, but at the time, wow!
It wasn’t quite as bad with Sue. I had done this newborn thing just 15 months before. I knew a little more of my mothering style. I was a little more comfortable in my mommy skin. But there were still these unexplained tears. The moments that boggled my mind.
Right on cue, the baby blues hit when Patrice was born too. Then I got a week where I felt good. All felt right in my world. I had three amazing girls. That was an awesome week! I remember it and can almost feel it even now, 2 and 1/2 years later. What came after was what can only be described as a descent into hell.
I developed postpartum depression and anxiety. With anxiety being the biggest demon. Thankfully I was happy with my mommy skills. I never had any doubt I could do what was needed for my girls. If anything I overdid. We went to the park. We went to the library. We went to the zoo. We went non-stop. At first it felt kind of good, making up for lost time with my older girls for the stuff I couldn’t do with them in my last weeks of pregnancy. But then it got sinister. I cried more. And my activity got frantic. I was tired, but couldn’t sleep. I would watch Patrice sleep and was so jealous. So jealous. I mean, who has a newborn and insomnia? Talk about irony.
I went to my beloved midwife. We started me on zoloft. We thought maybe it helped a little bit, so we upped the dose. That did not help…that began a spiral that ended with me at my midwife’s office begging her to take my girls home and just love them. She did the best thing…she called my hubby…and made arrangements for me to be hospitalized to make sure I was safe and medication could be addressed. I spent 24 hours in the hospital…it was hard, really hard. When I got out, my midwife continued to help by finding me a psychiatrist who would treat me while supporting my decision to nurse my baby.
It’s been a hard road. My youngest is now 2 and a 1/2. It’s been a long journey since my girl was born, but we are all healthy and well. I have a team of people who love and support me and help keep us that way.
If you are new mom, a mom many times over, and adoptive mom or a dad, struggling after the addition to your family, seek help. Do it for yourself and for your loved ones. You’ll be glad you did.
If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8225)
If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call or e-mail us:
Call PSI Warmline (English and Spanish) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)