They say sleep when your baby sleeps. I reply, it is the series of mixed emotions, tears and out of nowhere thoughts that keep you wide awake. Been there, done that!
You have probably heard and researched about the three trimesters of pregnancy. However, you forget to do your homework. Yes, I am talking about what I also did. While I was busy preparing my baby bag and cleaning the house, I forgot to prepare for things to do after birth. By this list, I do not intend to talk about the perfect brand for stroller and baby carrier. Instead, I am asking you to concentrate on yourself. Your baby will get the most attention and by ‘most’, I actually refer to the feeling of being invisible you will face for a good period of time. In other words, I am referring to the fourth trimester; a phase least talked about.
Once the baby is home and you are done with birth announcements and over with ‘oh, how cute baby’ remarks, what’s next? It is you and the baby who will cry for no reason. Moreover, with a creature who never sleeps, with obnoxiously heavy breasts and a protruding saggy tummy, it is difficult to comprehend what is going around. This phase is the most difficult, worse than nausea and morning sickness that comes again when you begin to breastfeed the baby. The fourth trimester is horrible not because you fail at deciphering a colic condition, but because of the lows you go through. Baby blues or postpartum depression, as you must have heard, is a condition full with anxiety, stress, tears and episodes of extreme sadness. I still remember how gloomy it all was…
I was 24 when I gave birth to my first child. 9 months of being pregnant were terrible. The period after was same, even worse. Pregnancy had episodes where I would cry while laughing but the time after child birth took away my laughter. I wondered, how could I possibly be devastated and sad when everyone around was so happy? The melancholic state was intense. It was confusing. Nobody understood me, not even my mother because she had probably forgotten her time; not even my husband, because he never went through this condition. I had no one to talk to. Friends were oblivious to my condition. They were busy and they had excuses. I was alone and in this loneliness, I only saw my child. It made me more furious, or maybe sad, or maybe…
I hated my body, not because it was out of shape but also due to the amount of excessive sweat it produced. I used to stink because I was not allowed to shower regularly, old wives tales dominated my condition. Moreover, I saw love around, but that was only restricted to the child. Nobody paid attention to what I was going through. It was difficult to accept a new being, someone I produced myself. And this thought further worsened it all, why was I unable to love my child the way everyone cared for him? I began to think I was a bad mother. I was unable to eat, unable to sleep and I spent hours flipping through search engines and webpages for my condition. Nothing helped. It continued for long… for weeks… till I began to notice my child was sleeping better.
My bleeding stopped and I was able to regularly shower. I lost few pounds and I was happy. I was able to produce milk for my child and I saw he was the most important part of my life. Gradually, in the matter of no time, I was back to what I was. And then I realized…
Postpartum depression is a serious, prolonged condition with suicidal thoughts as compared to baby blues, with both the conditions having similar symptoms. This state of low can easily be attributed to lack of sleep and little energy. Hey, you produced a whole being out of your body, what do you expect? Your body is weak and your organs are going back to their original position. There is a lot going inside you that you are unaware of. Hormonal changes and chemical reactions and God knows what… that is the reason for your tears.
My experience taught me the following:
Ways to cope with Postpartum depression
I knew what postpartum depression was but I was not expecting it to be this bad. Do your research and read on. Talk to your friends who have experienced this condition and be ready.
And when you begin to experience a phase of sadness, talk to your loved ones and be around people, especially friends who will cheer you up. If like me, you do not have loyal and genuine friends, keep yourself busy. Praying is one of the best solutions I can vouch for.
Do not hesitate from asking for help. You have given birth and you definitely need help. Ask for it. Also, ask someone to look after the baby for a while till you shower and sleep. Do not forget to enjoy your ‘me’ time, even 15 minutes is a blessing.
Look good. I know you hate the disgusting stretch marks on your abdomen, but relax. It will fade away with time. Using organic coconut oil will help them vanish in no time. Remember to apply your favorite eye pencil and wear that black tee. I know you won’t fit in your old clothes, but take it easy.
Give it time
And most importantly, go with the flow. Everything is going to be okay. You need to give it time. You will soon shed those extra pounds and your baby will grow out of the cranky crying phase. And most importantly, you will get back your beauty sleep and it will all fall in place. Hang in there!