baby blues

This is probably the most personal post I’ve ever written. Please don’t judge or criticize because this is still upsetting for me to think about. I just felt the need to share my story in hopes that it would help other mothers out there to know that they’re not alone. We’re talking about postpartum depression.

First off, I’ll preface by saying that it took a long time for Logan and I to conceive, and I wanted to have a baby more than anything. I love love love to travel and we decided to forgo all the trips to pay for expensive shots to help us get pregnant. But, even one week during my pregnancy I had bad depression. I felt like my life was about to be over. I had absolutely no motivation to do anything, and all I could do was sit at home and cry for hours. I couldn’t even put make up on. It was bad. But, I’m so thankful that after about a week it went away. I don’t know how, but it just did. Then, I forgot about it.

Fast forward to the day we brought Liam home from the hospital. It never helps the emotions to be exhausted, and I was extremely exhausted. I didn’t get naps during my hospital stay and the nights were constantly interrupted by feedings, checks by my nurses, and bathroom breaks. I’m so incredibly thankful that my mom and sister (and part of the time, my dad) stayed with us for the first week of Liam’s life. They took care of everything. Logan had to immediately go back to work (boo for no paternity leave). All I had to do was focus on taking care of Liam and myself. There were times when I would just get very emotional and breakdown in front of my whole family: complete uncontrollable crying. I’m so thankful that Logan and my mom were there to help calm me.

Then, family left.

It was just me and the baby.

I felt so alone. I would cry all day. I could only think of how awful my life had become and that I couldn’t handle this new life.

I felt trapped.

I couldn’t escape.

I felt like my life was over.

I was so young, how could my life be over so soon?

Why was I doing this?

Why did I want this?

Is it too late to put him up for adoption?

Do I really want to live?

Seriously, this was what my thought process. It wasn’t pretty and it just kept coming. I don’t wish depression on anyone. It was the saddest, most vulnerable, and helpless I had ever felt. Nothing helped and my poor husband didn’t know what to do. Shoot, now that I look back on it, I don’t know what I would do with me.

When we took Liam to the doctor for one of his check-ups, he had me fill out a questionnaire that all the new mom’s fill out about how they’re feeling. The pediatrician told me that I rated on the high scale of depression and to call my ob about it. However, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I felt embarrassed and I didn’t want to damage my relationship with my ob (because that was my thought process). It was stupid because I should have just called her.

Try going from being the complete center of attention in everyone’s world and all of the sudden, in one day, go the opposite of the spectrum to completely back burner. It wasn’t about you any more. You go from having everyone praise how beautiful you look, catering to what you needed and what you wanted to eat: me, me, me. Then, once the baby arrived, you feel completely disgusting and ugly, no compliments, you barely have time to shower and get the puke off of you and you’re catering to the needs of a baby 24 hours a day.

I wasn’t like every other mom either, where they were in love with their child the minute they’re born. It was around week 4 things started looking up. It’s like something clicked. Logan started to give me foot massages (my favorite thing when I was pregnant [Logan here: her favorite thing of all time besides chocolate]), we started taking family walks like we used to before Liam, and he would even hold Liam outside while he screamed so that I could eat a meal in quiet. It wasn’t until he was 6 weeks or so that I started the very beginnings of falling in love with him.

Life got better.

It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly got to feeling better. Life got to feeling a little bit ‘normal’ again.

Before Liam arrived, I thought it would be really sweet to have a journal that all of his family could write a little letter to him that he could read when he got older. We left a few pages in the beginning for Logan and I to each write a letter to him and just let the family start writing in it. Every time I thought about writing in it, I got sick. I didn’t want to write a letter to Liam until I could write something nice. All I could think of writing were things like: why are you doing this to me? why are you here? why did I want you? I don’t like you right now. I hated feeling like this. I still feel guilty for feeling like this. I hate myself for thinking awful things like suicide and hurting my own baby. I know I would never do it, but it’s still awful for me to even think about. It’s thoughts like these that I don’t want to ever have to relive. I feel bad for not cherishing the precious moments of Liam as a brand new baby, soaking in how he would just cuddle on my chest and fall asleep while feeding, and even his piercing cries, that he was actually alive, that I made this little human being!

If you ever have the baby blues or postpartum depression, know that you’re not alone. It’s an awful feeling and it’s not your fault. It’s a lot for a women to go through. You’re hormones are totally out of whack, you’re more exhausted than you have ever been, you have another person to think of before yourself now, and you’ve been through one of the hardest things you’ll ever do physically. Talk to your doctor if you can’t seem to have a breakthrough. Don’t feel guilty if you need medication to help you level out your hormones and get back to your happy self. Do it for you and do it for your baby. Don’t forget to give yourself some slack. You deserve a _____ (fill in something like pedicure, massage, coffee, wine, ice cream, etc.). And of course, if you ever need to talk to someone, I’m always here for you.

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36 Responses to baby blues

  1. CaitlinHTP says:

    This is a really beautiful and well written post and I commend you for writing it. The other day, I locked myself in my walk-in closet and sobbed hysterically in the dark for twenty minutes. I was so unhappy and so tired and felt so disgusting. I don’t have PPD but I know how hard it is to be a new mom on a day to day basis and I really just wanted to say that I hope you continue to get the support and love you deserve and need. I’m always here in email if you want to vent! No one should cry in the closet alone. :)

  2. Emily says:

    (((HUG))) I’ve suffered with major depressive disorder for many years, so I have a pretty good idea where you’re coming from. I’m so glad you’re feeling better! And please (I know it’s easier said than done) don’t beat yourself up about the thoughts and feelings you were having. It’s not your fault, nothing bad came of it, and it’s over and done now!

  3. Liz says:

    Caroline, this post was extremely well written. I commend you for putting yourself out there and for being honest about your feelings, that has to be one of the hardest things to do. I’m glad things are looking up for you and that you were able to get the help that you needed to get back to feeling like yourself.

  4. Rachel Booth says:

    Caroline, thank you for sharing! I had a time when I suffered from depression, and I know exactly how hard it is. Bravo to you for sharing, for handling it, and for moving on!! :)

    p.s. since we’re both in the same area, we need to get together for a baby play date and coffee… or chocolate!! :)

  5. Hi Caroline,
    you have shared a heartfelt story and you are not alone dealing with depression after birth.
    I was alone in a foreign country, my family being on the other side of the world. I had hubby in the evenings but during the day it was just me and the baby. I was crying all day, saw no reasons to go on, nothing seemed to make me happy. I only saw the empty half of the glass. After a couple of month of crying a river almost every day, the baby got sick and it was the reality kick I needed. I knew i had to pull myself together and ask for help. All i had to do was to pick up the phone.
    Now, 2 years and half later i’m so happy I did. I stopped crying, stopped having negative thoughts and made myself a promise to love life! It’s not easy, but if you really want to change it will happen.
    If you ever need someone to talk with, i’ll be around to listen.
    Hugs

  6. Brianne says:

    I applaud you for coming out about this so honestly! There are so many things that women don’t talk about openly for fear of being embarrassed or ridiculed and they have become “taboo.” The three main things that come to mind are infertility, miscarriage, and postpartum depression. And, not surprisingly, those tend to be the 3 things that women feel the most alone in. I believe that if women were more HONEST with each other, we could cope so much better with everything that gets thrown our way.
    Just a little story to make you feel better, my mom has a severe anxiety disorder (unfortunately, I have inherited the same disorder). The problem is that hormones exacerbate the disorder. Just mere weeks after I was born (I’m her second child), she was so scared that she would hurt me in her depressive state that she handed me to my dad, walked out of the house, and admitted herself to a mental institution. She went on medication for a while to help and eventually weaned herself off the meds. I have to say, it hasn’t affected our relationship one bit. My mom is the most amazing woman I have ever met and we are extremely close and always have been. Instead of feeling hurt that she didn’t fall in love with me right away, I admire her for admitting she needed help. Considering I have the same disorder, I know it will probably be difficult for me after this baby I’m carrying comes. BUT because my mom has always been so open with me about her struggles postpartum, I feel completely prepared. I know that the depression and anxiety may knock me off my feet, but I also know that I will have a support system that I can go to without judgement… and I’m ready for it.
    Sorry that turned into a little book :) I just wanted to say GOOD FOR YOU for not hiding in fear of judgement. If at least one woman somewhere out there is helped by this post, then you have done a great service. Liam is very lucky to have you as his mommy :)

  7. Krys says:

    First off, you get a giant HUG, and a round of cheerful applause for talking about this!
    Please know that nothing you did or thought was wrong. You are and have always been a great mother, wife, and blogger, and I bet you will always be! Honestly, how you juggle all of this blows me away, and I commend you, not to mention look up to you. Keep up the good work, and know that if you need to talk, we, your followers and friends, are always here for you. Good on you girl. We all have emotions, and lots of us go through those dark periods you talk about. There’s nobody pointing fingers here! Big hugs. Go have yourself a chocolate pb cupcake and give yourself a pat on the back!

  8. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Caroline. I’m nowhere near having children but simply knowing that I will some day, and that these feelings are very real possibility (and that they do pass) is so reassuring. You’re so incredibly brave to share this with your readers.

  9. Elisabeth says:

    That’s wonderful that you were able to write all of that out. I’m sure it has helped you a ton! I went through some severe depression after my second baby, and she was a good baby. I’ve never “told my story” to anyone though. I would BEG my husband not to leave me alone with her. I was so scared. And I had a 2 year old on top of that who didn’t understand anything. I broke things and just didn’t want to exist anymore, not that I wanted to die, I just wanted to feel like Jimmy Stewart in That’s a Wonderful Life, but I knew I shouldn’t feel that way. Thankfully after a little time I was feeling much better. I was afraid to tell my Midwife, and she didn’t ask at my checkup so I kept quiet. My husband was wonderful, but somethings (hormones) just can’t be helped! I’m so glad you are feeling better. I hope your post encourages other moms going through the same thing!

  10. Leah Unwin says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am crying reading it. I have 9 wk old twins and these past few weeks I have spent mostly in tears and I feel so much guilt for that, these first few weeks are so precious. I don’t have family nearby and without my husband I don’t think I would have coped, I love him more because of his incredible support. I feel so blessed and yet so exhausted, emotional and a bit like a failure at the moment, I hope things get easier, I know things will get easier. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your honesty and for making me feel a bit more human today. God bless. xx

  11. Thank you so much for sharing. I went through the exact same thing and had all the same feelings you had. It was miserable and the worst thing I have ever been through in my life. M had colic which made life even a little more difficult and I felt completely lost, like my life was over. I started to crawl my way out of it when M started to get over her colic and when I joined a local MOPS group. Being around other Moms and getting out of the house made such a huge difference. I still have small bouts here and there but I think that might just be part of being a Mom. : )

  12. I don’t have any experience with this but wanted to say that I think you’re so brave for making this post and letting other mothers know that they’re not alone. I’m sure a lot of people don’t go searching for information on this but now that they see it on your blog, maybe they will. Or at least I hope. I know things have gotten easier but I hope that they get much easier, really soon. A big hug for you!

  13. Andrea says:

    Thank you for your bravery and honesty in sharing your story with everyone! I am glad to hear things are getting better for you and I hope it continues to do so. I am sure your story has touched and helped at least one person experiencing something similar.

  14. Anna Levin says:

    As a soon-to-be mother myself (I’m due October 23rd with our first baby), I thank you for writing this post. PPD is something that is not talked about often enough during pregnancy or immediately following pregnancy. It’s something that’s “hush hush” and pushed under the rug. It’s so important that new mothers and fathers know the signs to look for and address them as soon as possible so that treatment and/or therapy can be sought. Thank you for being so open and sharing your story!

  15. I wish I could give you a big hug right now (hopefully that doesn’t sound too creepy considering we don’t *actually* know each other). And major kudos to you for opening yourself up like that, to talk about this extremely sensitive subject. I’m glad to hear that you are starting to feel better, though I’m sure some days are better than others. It probably doesn’t hurt that Liam is getting to be more “fun” and hopefully some of the crying has subsided. I don’t have PPD but certainly went through many days of feeling down, lost and even angry. I don’t think anyone is truly prepared for how challenging those first weeks/months can be, especially when you are on your own, and how DIFFERENT your life becomes. I cried more during the first couple of months than I have in the last 5 years. One thing that helped me tremendously is connecting with other moms. Even if I wasn’t the one sharing my problems it was nice to hear that other moms were going through the same thing or have a separate set of challenges that they were facing. Meeting up once a week and joining an online community support group have been a shining light for me at the sometimes endless dark tunnel. I only wish I had discovered them sooner! Hopefully there are groups like this in your area that you can/have joined. And if you ever want/need someone to commiserate with or just someone to listen, please please feel free to contact me. I’m usually up in the middle of the night ;)

  16. Isn’t it strange that something as common as PPD would still carry such stigma? Honest writing like this can help turn that around, so you deserve a lot of credit for this post!

    It’s so easy to feel regret over not enjoying the earliest days “as much as you could have,” but there are so many precious moments yet to come that you WILL be able to fully enjoy.

  17. I really appreciate you writing this and sharing your feelings. It really helps to know that we all are not alone! I had a bit of postpartum depression. A lot of it came from me missing my pregnancy. It was so much easier when my Liam was inside my belly and not here, keeping me awake, insisting that I constantly sit on the couch and nurse him. Everything seemed so different and I didn’t feel like myself. It was difficult, but eventually it went away. Every once in awhile I have a moment like that again (but not as extreme), but they mainly come when I’m frustrated or exhausted. I am so grateful that you shared this. And I’m so glad that you are feeling better now :)

  18. Thank you very much for sharing your story! Best of luck to you.

  19. Jane says:

    Thumbs up for sharing your story. I went through the same and I am not ashamed to talk about it. In my opinion, all women experience some sort of postpartum blues but it is not popular to talk about it. All my friends felt the same and we are not week. You are supposed to love your child, afterall. I also regret the days when I was angry at the world and questioning myself whether I actually wanted this. Nobody falls in love with their baby the minute they are born. It is a very slow and gradual process and it was about when my baby was 6 months when I understood what every mom says: now you will worry until the end of the life. I could not realize my life without her any more. The more she became active, was interracting and responding to me, the more fun it got. My daughter just turned one and we managed an oversees trip with her and go on trips/ hikes with her on regular basis. Don´t worry, you will get your life back, even though, it will be a little different. Good luck and believe me you are not an exception. All women feel the same to some degree but are too embarrased to talk about it. So sad.

  20. Natalie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this honest and touching post! I have also suffered from pretty severe post partum depression and it was the darkest time in my life. I am a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for a couple years now, but having a history of depression didn’t help! I knew about it and so did my husband, but I really don’t think your ever prepared to go through that! Unfortunately I suffered longer then i needed to because I was in denial and afraid and just did not know how to face it! The feelings of guilt and feeling like you are truly a failure as a mother and not good enough and all those negative thoughts are devastating!! I know I am rambling but your story meant a lot and I deff think more moms need the honesty and support! Thankfully I am a lot better now after time and therapy and my son means the world to me, but I deff have my days still just like every mamma!! Thanks again!

  21. Julia says:

    I remember going through this, and man, it SUCKED!!! I think it’s wonderful that you expressed all of these feelings.
    All new moms need to hear this stuff… whether it is so they know they are not alone, or if they don’t experience this themselves, then they can have compassion for those who do.
    Um, and he’s darling!!!!! I’m so glad you guys are doing so well now!

  22. Katy says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it as we get ready to welcome our second son into this world in just one week. We have a 4-year old right now and went through several rounds of infertility treatment to get pregnant with this little man still kicking inside me. My mom suffers from Major Depressive Disorder and I’ve seen just how miserable it can be. One of my major concerns about pregnancy and post pregnancy is depression. And it is because of you that I am reminded that it happens to anyone and that we need to reach out for support and help from our friends, family, and doctors! Thank you.

  23. Mawiyah says:

    Congratulations. Just found your blog today. I know this was written months ago and I am sure you feel better now – but congratulations on being honest, loving and transparent. It’s the only way we truly connect with others. Beautiful. God bless :)

  24. Rebecca Bolton says:

    Caroline, from Day 1, I’ve always admired you for being candid and being courageous. This post took both of those attributes. I think this is the dark side of pregnancy and motherhood that doesn’t get discussed. It’s swept under the rug because we are programmed to think that everything is always going to be sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns once Baby arrives, and it isn’t necessarily true. Like you said, everything changes. And not always for the best. My own Mom admits that she was terrified of me, spent a LOT of time crying and going “What in God’s name did I do?” But she muscled through it, and so did you, and thank God for both cases!

    As you know, I’m not a mom yet, but I think I’d like to be one day. And I hope that I can meet that challenge with as much fortitude as you have! Thanks for sharing your hopes, your dreams, your triumphs, your sorrows, and (most of all) your beautiful baby boy with us!

    Much love! <3

    • caroline says:

      Rebecca, you have no idea what your words do to encourage me. Motherhood is definitely the most challenging and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and probably will ever do. I know that if/when you become a mother, your child(ren) will be so incredibly lucky to have you as their mom. You’ll definitely have to let me know when you’re in South Carolina next so we can get together and you can meet Liam! :-)

  25. Emma Teal Tallent says:

    caroline, this is truly amazing. this is something i worry about consistently due to my own history of anxiety and depression and the fact that i’m going into trimester 2 makes it even more real. it is so refreshing to hear this from someone i know and i’m so thanksful to you for sharing this story, just know it will help others (like me!) for a long time to come!

    • caroline says:

      Congratulations Emma! I bet you and your husband are so excited! It’s definitely a whirl wind and gets better every day. I hope you don’t get ppd like I did. It was awful. I still feel like I was robbed those weeks that I had it with Liam, almost like I didn’t get to enjoy him being so tiny. I’ve had to forgive myself and just enjoy the moments I have with him now. :) If you ever need to talk or just need to vent (my number is on facebook), I’d be happy to listen or answer any quesitons. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes wonderfully and you’re feeling great!

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  27. Brittany says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. While reading this I cried and I feel like it is me telling my story. I’m so glad that terrible time/feeling is over for me, but I still feel guilty when I look back on those early weeks. We have virtually no pics of my little sweet from that time because I didn’t even care about anything like that. I also had fun/creative things planned for those first few weeks but I lost all desires to do them or anything really. I felt so guilty for not having the love at first sight that I expected. I wish I had read this then, or better yet, before delivering. Thank you for letting us all know that this happens and that it gets better. I thought I was the only one. I’m so thankful now to have my little sweet, he is the most wonderful thing in the entire world. My new fear is that I will go through this again if we have another child, but hopefully it wont be as bad knowing how it turns out in the end. Thanks again!

    • caroline says:

      I know exactly how you feel. I’m terrified myself of going through it again and I too feel so much guilt over those precious first few weeks. I’m often envious of those mothers who fall instantly in love with their babies and are so happy-go-lucky during those tiring weeks, too. I’m so glad that I opened up about my experience, because hearing stories like yours that are so similar to mine, really make me feel less alone in the whole thing. I hope you and your little guy are doing well! :D

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  29. Rachel says:

    I feel for you. My son just turned one year this past December and I STILL struggle with depression and thoughts very similar to what you were experiencing. Its tough adjusting to a life with many freedoms and flexibilities, to a life that couldn’t be further from what it had been. Each day I wake up wondering if it’ll be a good day, or if it’ll be a day filled with struggling with a baby. Its a moment by moment thing. I started my website cloudsandclovers and lifewithlittles, just as an outlet for feeling normal, and trying to appreciate HAVING a child. Its very hard. very very hard! but its good to know that I’m not the only one struggling and that there are other women who are there for support. thank you for sharing your story. im glad i stumbled upon your website. Many good thoughts sent your way from a fellow struggling momma!

    • caroline says:

      Hi Rachel! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. Us mommies need to stick together! :D Thank you for sharing your website, too. Your little boy is so precious! I hope he had a great 1st birthday and great job for making it through year #1! :D

  30. Thank you so much for being open and willing to share this with us.

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