Did you know that 80% of women experience the baby blues during the first few days/weeks of motherhood? I didn’t, and I completely underestimated just how bad it could be. The blues knocked me on my butt. I was indecisive, anxious, constantly swinging from elation to despair, and struggled to sleep. And oh! The crying! I cried more than the baby almost every day, and some days it felt like all I did was cry. I felt crushed by all this new responsibility, all the learning I have to do, and all the struggles we are working through. I felt guilty for not being a cheerful ball of happiness, for crying when C just wouldn’t or couldn’t figure out how to latch properly, for supplementing with formula, for not knowing how to read C’s cues, for leaning on A heavily. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
I don’t say this to scare anyone; I just want to be honest about what these first few weeks have been like. I was aware of PPD, but the idea of the baby blues was a little foreign to me, and what I did know did not come close to the reality of what I felt. The fear, anxiety, tension, and sadness were overwhelming, and then I would feel guilty that I was “wasting” these early days on being a basketcase.
I am so grateful to have great support people in my life who reassured me and supported me through this struggle. We celebrate the small victories – a trip to the grocery store, no tears when Adam leaves for work, keeping up (or catching up!) on household chores, a walk around the neighbourhood – because when I look back over a few days or a week, the small victories combine to show major progress. Although there are still days that feel like one step forward and two steps back (like the day I got barfed and peed on within five minutes!), every day is a little bit easier.