I was so focused on losing the baby weight after giving birth that I didn’t ever think about the psychological aspect of the snapback. Sure, I’d heard about postpartum depression, but I wasn’t prepared for the baby blues.
The baby blues is when you may feel weepy, moody, trapped, anxious, irritable, and extremely emotional as your hormones start to adjust back to normal. It’s so common that about 80% of new moms experience it. Before I left the hospital, I was told to look out for signs of it and to monitor it to make sure it didn’t become full blown postpartum depression.
Once I got home and started trying to adjust to life with baby, I found that my appetite was all over the place, I was incredibly anxious, and I found myself being snippy and weepy about a lot of things that I normally wouldn’t. Basically, working out and losing weight were the furthest things from my mind. I was lucky if I remembered to eat in the beginning. All I wanted to do was sleep, be able to touch my nether regions, without wincing, again, and keep my newborn alive.
By the time I had gotten to my six-month checkup, I got clearance from my doctor to start being active again, but mentally, I still wasn’t there. I didn’t feel depressed, but the baby blues had lingered longer than that two-week period I was initially told, so I didn’t force myself to do anything that I wasn’t feeling and kept myself open to receiving support. My mother supported me by coming to my house to help look after the baby so that I could get a sanity break from time to time, and my network of moms (mostly new moms) constantly checked on me to make sure that I was okay and to assure me that all of the things that I was feeling and going through—including wondering if I had ruined my life or if I was already a bad mom—were perfectly normal and would pass. I was open to therapy (which was suggested as a possibility by a few moms I know), but I started to feel gradually more stable as time progressed so I didn’t pursue it (but there’s nothing wrong with seeking help if you need it).
At this point, I’m nearly 8 weeks postpartum and feel that I’m 90% adjusted now that I’ve learned to just surrender and be kind to myself. I’m obviously not the same person mentally that I was before giving birth because being a mother changes the way you think and feel about everything. However, I’m not feeling as in shock or hormonal, so I’m ready to slowly start easing back into doing things I used to love, and generally feeling normal again, but with a twist—learning how to peacefully co-exist with the new little human who has shaken up my world.