The Baby Blues
If I could give a mum to be any advice, it would be to physically and mentally prepare yourself for the ugly little fucker that is the baby blues.
Typically, it appears around day 3 postpartum (after having baby) our hormones are bouncing off our internal walls and going bat shit crazy, we’re exhausted and recovering from giving birth or having a major operation and finally, not to mention the fucking life changer that is a little tiny vulnerable human who you now have to love and keep alive and feed all whilst following the 2589274 NHS guidelines on how not to be a shit mum (maybe they word it differently but that’s what they really mean).
I honestly don’t think it’s ever something you can fully prepare yourself for no matter how much advice you receive but I’ll give it my best shot…
Here I want to write about my experience and what I had to do to get through the baby blues phase, I definitely didn’t get everything right but I’ll be honest and open and do better next time!
****One thing I want to be really clear on, I’m not talking about post natal depression. That’s a whole other kettle of fish that I’m not writing about here and if that’s something you experienced – I’m so sorry you had to go through that****
So my baby blues started around day 3, right on track and unwelcome as ever.
Poppy and I were still in hospital after I had had a cesarean, I was completely sleep deprived, I hadn’t eaten a proper meal the entire time i’d been in there and my blood tests were still coming back with not so great results as I’d had preeclampsia – winner. However, we were still discharged from hospital later that day and it was then that the baby blues came in (like a wrecking ball) and wiped me the fuck out.
I remember being in the car on the way home looking at my baby in the car seat next to me and my boyfriend in the front and feeling this overwhelming fear. I was scared for her life. I didn’t know how to be a mum, he didn’t know how to be a dad. How did I know she was going to be ok? No one tells you this shit. People make it look easy (fuckers) and it really isn’t! In all honesty I was just completely and utterly overwhelmed with this new responsibility.
We got back to our house and our lovely next door neighbours were waiting outside our house to come in and meet Poppy. I hadn’t showered or brushed my hair OR teeth that day so looked (and probably smelled) like a swamp monster and to top it off our crazy 1 year old dog was also super excited to see me so was going crazy jumping all over the fucking show.
I wanted to curl up and cry. I hadn’t prepared myself for this.
I was filled with so much fear and other emotions that I’d never felt before but still had to smile and act like I had my shit together because what other option was there?
That night I soon realised Poppy hadn’t done a poo all day and I SHIT MY PANTS (wishing she’d shit her pants instead). Straight away I asked my boyfriend whether we should take her straight back to hospital, maybe she hadn’t been getting any milk from my boobs, maybe she was really unwell, what did all this mean? The midwife at hospital said I should expect around 5 shits a day from my baby (she was wrong, it’s actually about 2 at that age) and it caused me so much unnecessary anxiety – my baby isn’t even 5 shits long!!!
I felt like such a failure already and we had only been home a few hours. Anyway we decided, for my peace of mind more than anything, to give her a bottle of formula so we could see exactly how much she was having *IN WALKS THE MUM GUILT*. Within an hour Poppy had done the stinky little deed and I’d truly never been so happy to see a nappy full of what I can only describe as a seedy pile of relief.
The days that followed felt no better. Poppy was healthy, the midwives were coming every couple of days to check my blood pressure and they were always really happy with her. But I still had this cloud over my head, I couldn’t eat or drink. I couldn’t laugh. I couldn’t respond to messages when people were asking about me or Poppy. I didn’t want to see or speak to the world. One thing I will say is I never doubted my love for Poppy. That was one thing I was sure about. I loved the bones of her. Looking back at pictures she was a little, chubby, squashed potato cake but to me she was the most perfect little miracle to grace the planet. However it’s also very common to not feel this way straight away. Love can be a grower so don’t panic if you don’t feel that ‘bond’ straight away. It WILL come in time.
I do remember one day being on the phone to my mum, crying my eyes out because I couldn’t possibly smile at anyone else who came to visit because I just felt so low and confused. I literally couldn’t even squeeze one more smile out of my face. This is when my mum told me about the baby blues and it all started to make much more sense. Before this point I was terrified, convinced I was getting postnatal depression but in reality most women experience some sort of baby blues in the postpartum period and again I really wish I had been more prepared for this to happen.
After a couple of weeks and MANY tears later, the fog started to lift and I started to feel much more myself. I’d lost a lot of weight in those couple of weeks with breast feeding and not eating, and I thought this would make me feel great to drop some weight but I just felt sad that it had been under such tough circumstances (I’d take the extra bit of chub rub any day over those feelings). Again I felt super guilty my first couple of weeks hadn’t been spent on cloud 9 but instead had been clouded by these feelings – who invented the guilt feeling anyway? It’s a right wanker!
Some things we should all know –
- Most women experience some sort of baby blues after having a baby. Each experience will be different and you may not experience it at all. It’s not to be feared or dreaded, just understood and to know it’s normal and you’ll get through it.
- Don’t set expectations for after you’ve had a baby. Don’t TRY to be happy if you’re not, don’t try to lose weight straight away, don’t book loads of baby classes or arrange loads of visitors in those first couple of weeks. The truth is you really don’t know how you’ll feel and the first couple of weeks are just surviving in whatever way best suits you and your little family. If that means eating salads and having visitors every day – that’s fine, or maybe for you that’s ordering takeaways, locking your doors and not seeing anyone that’s also absolutely fine.
- If these feelings continue or become too much to bare – contact your GP or health visitor straight away and ask for help. Postnatal Depression is nothing to be ashamed of and doesn’t make you a bad parent. You can do this and you’re not alone!
- Parenthood is FUCKING HARD! It isn’t always smiles, cuddles and spit bubbles. It’s sometimes crying your eyes out because your baby won’t stop crying or won’t poo. Arguing with your partner because they aren’t holding your baby the way you want them to lol (my names Sophie and I’m fucking crazy), crying because you love this little person so much and you don’t want to fail, crying because your boobs are leaking everywhere and you’ve only just put these fresh clothes on. I think I also actually cried because I wanted another appointment with my obstetrician but I obviously wasn’t pregnant anymore so didn’t need one – HAHAH I can’t even explain why.
- Communication is key. I really wish I’d communicated better with the people around me. Tell your family how you’re feeling and that you need a few days/weeks to yourself to adapt. Tell your friends if you need space or help. Cancel plans if you need to. Friends and family will still be there when you’re finally feeling more yourself so there’s really no rush. Most importantly, tell your partner exactly what you need from them and how they can better support you.
- It’s completely normal to feel hate for your partner every now and again HA! When you’re up in the night feeding your little human and you can see them sleeping – I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t fantasised about smashing the full tub of Aptamil in his face. Or when they just breathe too much around you – seriously fuck off. And the times they go mowing the lawn or walking the dog and you’re stuck to the sofa breastfeeding – selfish twat (I really wouldn’t want to do any of these things anyway). But seriously, I think the odd feelings of resentment here and there are completely normal – as long as they don’t stay around for too long and as long as you’re not acting on these feelings.
A note to my past self –
You’re not failing. You’re not a bad mum. You’ve been through a huge, life-changing experience and you’re allowed to take some time to adjust to that. Things will get easier over time. Everything is a phase. Carl isn’t trying to be annoying – he just is. You got this!
I do really hope this post can help someone prepare themselves a little better than I did. This is my personal experience, I know for some it won’t have been this bad and for others, even worse.
Please let me know in the comments box below what you think or if there’s any tips you can share!
Thanks for reading!
Lots of love,