Postpartum Depression … I’ll be totally honest with you I had never heard of these two words before becoming pregnant, and even then it took me many weeks of researching about birth, post birth etc, to even stumble upon these two words that would significantly affect me and those I love around me.
A tiny disclaimer, it goes without saying that I am in no way a professional but I wanted to write about my experience to share some light as a lot of you have reached out to me and asked me questions regarding it.
I also hope that if more of us are aware of Postpartum Depression, its symptoms and how to deal with it then hopefully we can help be a part in a family or friends progress in overcoming it in the future.
So as I have mentioned before, the day we were able to leave the hospital to come home my parents landed into Dubai to help look after the baby while I was still recovering and of course so Mum could make me lots of scrumptious Thai food.
I know that a lot of new Mums aren’t lucky enough to have this help immediately after birth and so I am so blessed that my parents and husband were home to help me out, but to be very honest with you I think I would have experienced Postpartum Depression regardless of who was with me at the time.
I started to recognise the symptoms within myself around the two week mark, but I guess you could say I was in denial about it because in my mind I had already made myself aware of the possible symptoms and implications it could have on me and so I thought I would be exempt from it. That was totally not the case.
I found myself becoming extremely overwhelmed with emotions and I remember that when some tiny misunderstanding would happen either with my parents and I or my husband and I, I would completely blow it out of proportion and act very aggressively and defensive in return.
The lack of sleep was obviously a major factor in making things worse and because I was exclusively breastfeeding I would only be able to get a maximum of two hours sleep at a time and so I was very grouchy and irritable.
The pain and discomfort of postpartum was inevitable and that also made it hit me hard because I was still finding it difficult to shower, to use the bathroom and to accept this ‘new body’ of mine that came with growing a tiny human in it.
I guess you could say I had a few days where I just felt sorry for myself and unhappy with the way I looked, this in turn made me feel like I couldn’t properly care for and form an emotional attachment with my newborn which then led to me feeling like a horrible mother. This is the biggest regret I have looking back now.
I was very irritable towards my husband and everything he seemed to do would aggravate me and I also found that I was very snappy with my mother. Whenever she would recommend something or suggest something that I wasn’t previously aware of I would be very hostile and then go into my room and just cry about it as if it were the end of the world.
Speaking of tears, there were A LOT of tears.
I remember trying to pump as I had a lot of excess milk and I couldn’t figure out how to put my breast pump together as my husband would usually do it for me and I broke down.
I felt extremely helpless and my thoughts would take me places that I don’t even want to share with you here.
Anyways, these were my symptoms at the time and like I said everyones symptoms and how they deal with it will vary but I eventually found that speaking to my husband about it lifted a giant weight off of my shoulders and also reaching out to my friends made it easier.
Looking back now I wish that I would have dealt with it a little more openly for my own sake and for my poor husbands sake, but it is so hectic at the beginning when you have this new life to look after and you’re dealing with breastfeeding, hormonal changes in yourself, nappy changes etc.
So it is one hundred percent okay to feel like you’re not doing your best, but just remember to share how you’re feeling with someone and understand that your baby doesn’t care how you look, how much milk you managed to store in the freezer and whether or not the washing has been done.
All they need is a peaceful Mum who will love them no matter what.
So embrace your emotions and flow with it, because you will experience an array of emotions for a while and that is completely okay.
Keep fighting Mum! You’re doing an amazing job!
On a more serious note if you are experiencing more severe symptoms and emotions such as;
- attempts to want to harm yourself or your baby
- hallucinations or disorientation,
then I would highly recommend going to see a professional, there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about it and it is better to fix it early on so you can enjoy these days with your new little bundle of joy!
Sending you all so much love and I am always here and more than happy to talk about it if you feel like you need it.
Love Jessica Cairney.