The “Cupcake” Phase
If you’ve already brought your little one home, you know all about this. But, if you’re expecting and haven’t brought baby home just yet, you’ll soon understand. Call it what you want, but the magical first couple weeks after you bring baby home, are the best. They sleep so much, they barely cry, and they’re just SO tiny and cute. Your heart is filled with so much love and you’re just so overjoyed to finally be a Mommy (or Daddy).
When (what I call) the “cupcake” phase, ends, usually that’s when reality sets in. Your wee babe may start crying loads, housework might start getting behind you, sleep deprivation might start setting in, and that might be when you actually start to realize just how down you actually feel. Sometimes, through all of the cuteness and love, it’s hard to realize that you’re actually not feeling very well emotionally. You might even try to deny your feelings. I did. No one wants to admit that there’s something wrong with them and that they need help – especially not a new, vulnerable, Mom (or Dad).
It can be so confusing trying to figure out why you’re feeling bad. All through our pregnancies, all we’ve ever expected was to be so happy and for the most part, for everything to be sunshine and rainbows. For the lucky ones, that is the case. But, for me and lots and lots of other Moms and Dads, it’s not. And, the really confusing part is that it seems like we have everything we need to be happy. Everything is great, your baby is here and they’re so perfect. So, why are we unhappy? Why do things seem to be crashing all around us? Depression.
*There is such thing as Baby blues, which is not to be mistaken for depression. Baby blues can start a couple days after birth and last up to a couple weeks. Baby blues is when you’re hormonal, having mood swings, and dealing with crying spells and trouble sleeping. However, it does go away. Depression does not.*
It’s the dreaded term that nobody likes to say, hear, or especially, admit to having. Postpartum Depression can include but not be limited to these symptoms.
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Crying spells
- Trouble with appetite
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Not feeling like yourself
- Low self-esteem
It’s not only scary to feel this way, but it can also make you feel helpless. I felt like I had no one to talk to and at the time, I didn’t even know what was wrong with me. I kept blaming it on the hormones and ignoring a serious issue. No, it’s not fun to admit to having a problem, but you’d be surprised at how common it is to suffer with Postpartum Depression. And, I assure you, it will start to get better once you get some help.
I decided that I would share my experience with Postpartum Depression so that maybe I could help someone recognize the symptoms and realize that they may need help.
I had a c-section at 39 weeks and had my beautiful, healthy, 9 1/2 pound baby girl. It was the best time of my life and I was so overwhelmed with love. My husband and I couldn’t wait to bring her home! The first week was amazing! Watching her sleep and just being in awe over how perfect she was (is); it was so great. My Mom flew in when she was a week old to stay with us for two weeks. I hadn’t seen my Mom in over a year and I was SO excited to see her and have her meet her granddaughter! Plus, my sister-in-law flew out to stay for a few days and we hadn’t seen her in over year either. Everything was perfect. I had every reason to be happy. But, I just wasn’t.
I felt horrible
Out of the blue, multiple times a day, I would start feeling so bad about myself and just cry and cry for an hour or more at a time. Nothing could make it better. Not even my beautiful little girl. This ecalated to feeling completely worthless about myself and feeling like I had nothing to give the world. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was definitely wondering what my goal in life was, because I didn’t feel like I had one.
You might be wondering at this point, “What are you talking about? You just had a baby. She’s your whole world and making her happy is your goal in life.” Trust me, I know. I told myself that all the time. It never made a difference. When you’re depressed and you have no help and you don’t even understand what’s going on, it makes things SO difficult and even scary. I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy and that was the problem.
After a couple weeks of the depresion just getting worse and worse, my husband and I started arguing quite a bit. He was frustrated that he couldn’t help me and I was frustrated that I didn’t know what he could even do to help. It was then that I really realized that this was bigger than me and I NEEDED help.
I threw away my fear of accepting help
I went for my 6 weeks postpartum checkup and told my Midwife everything that was going on. She explained to me that it wasn’t just my hormones, but something more serious – Postpartum Depression. She told me how it’s not something to mess around with and that starting an anti-depressant could help me a lot. I was aprehensive, like most would be. I’ve suffered with Depression & Anxiety for such a long time (prior to my pregnancy) and I was on anti-depressants for that. I hadn’t taken them in a long time though. So, you can imagine how I really didn’t want to go back to taking medicine. But, sometimes, you really just have to think about the people around you. I didn’t want my husband and my beautiful daughter to be unhappy because of my depression. So, I accepted the help and took the medicine.
It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been on the medication and I have seen a complete turn around in myself already. I’m much happier, I’m starting to feel okay about my body, and I’m able to go through the day, and even week, without crying. It’s been amazing being able to enjoy life with my daughter and laugh with my husband. I am so glad that I got help!
Get help if you need it!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please, talk to your Doctor. If it is Postpartum Depression, it won’t just go away on it’s own. It might even get worse over time. Please save yourself and your family the hurt and sadness and get help!
Written by Allison Swinson for her blog, Newborn Baby Essentials.