From Baby Blues to Postpartum – A Journey Through the Moods of Parenting
…and you’re home. Your beautiful baby is in your arms and you think you should feel more excited, more something else. And when you do, it goes away very fast. Then you’re sad and weepy. You yell at your partner because darn it, did they not know you hate vanilla sprinkle donuts? What kind of parent are they going to be if they cannot get a donut right? At night, although you’re so tired you feel you could die from exhaustion, you still can’t sleep. Welcome to the first days and weeks with a newborn. All of the above are signs of exhaustion and the good news is that this improves as you get longer stretches of sleep. The bad new is that you’re going to feel like crap for a while. Hang in there…
…and you’re home. And one moment you marvel at the baby sleeping in your arms and the next you feel like there’s no way you’re going to pull this off. When are they supposed to poop? Check the papers from the hospital; it says it varies. How many days has it been? You can’t remember. Should you call Telehealth? Should you go to the hospital? Why is it so hard to make a decision – you managed a team of people at work and now you can’t decide what to do about poop? And the nights are long, and the days are also long and you wonder if it’s ever going to get any better or if you just might not be cut out for this. Hang in there…the Baby Blues gets better in about two weeks.
…and you’re home. Your partner encouraged you to leave the house today but you can’t bring yourself to do it. What if baby gets a sunburn; you can easily get skin cancer from that. What if someone touches baby at the store, and they have some incurable disease that can be passed on? Why do people touch babies without permission? How do other parents do this? You can’t do this, you’re not cut out for it.
Your thoughts are so vicious and heavy and constant.
And last week at the store? When you went to pick up milk but could not make up your mind about which kind and you started crying and felt you were having a heart attack? You can’t go out today. Maybe never. You just can’t handle this. And the nights are long and the days are even longer. And the worst is that you can’t trust yourself to be around the baby. What if you forget them in the car? What if you put the baby in the laundry machine by accident? You can’t do this, you are a monster, you should not be allowed to be alone with the baby…and what about poop? How long can a baby go without pooping? Can they go for a whole week? What if they need surgery? You can’t do this…everyone would be so much better without you.
Hang in there…Postpartum Mood Disorders are not uncommon and they improve with professional support.
You are allowed to miss your old life. You are allowed to revolt at the pressures surrounding parenthood – “make every moment magical”, “breast is best”, “the more you sacrifice the more you love”. Wherever you are on the parenting journey – exhaustion, baby blues, postpartum depression and anxiety, postpartum OCD, PTSD, panic disorder, mania and psychosis, you are allowed and you deserve support.
Book a free consultation with psychotherapist Mihaela Anghel MSW, RSW at www.rethinkyourway.com to see how you’re really doing and how to get better.