Thats me and my then 3 week old daughter, Cora. If I look tired, worn-out, stressed, unhygienic (I don’t remember the last time I had washed my face, showered, brushed my hair, brushed my teeth when this picture was taken) or depressed that’s because I was. Motherhood was not the picture perfect fantasy I had imagined it would be. There were plenty of reasons for me to feel as though I were drowning without a lifesaver in sight. Here is what I had experienced in those early weeks of motherhood (Maybe you can relate?)
- Feeding issues (Cora wouldn’t latch so we had to feed her via a medicine dropper like a frail little baby bird!)
- Frequent crying (What in the world does she need now!?)
- Frequent crying on my part (How can I love her with every bone in my body yet very much want to leave her?)
- Reverse Cycling (She was up almost all hours of the night and slept almost all hours of the day!)
- Taking 2 hours and LOTS of effort to get to sleep!(Swaddled, shushed, swung. Wash, rinse, repeat.)
- Waking every hour sometimes sooner! (Ummm, I think you needed more sleep than that Miss. Grouchy Pants!)
- 3. HOUR. NURSING. SESSIONS (I was thankful she finally latched but she wouldn’t let go! I was a novice so I didn’t know that she was just comfort nursing after a while and that I could remove her.”
- The sudden and cantankerous loss of bladder control! (Yup! I peed my pants 4 days postpartum and then threw a 20 minute long temper-tantrum about it)
- Uncomfortable Sitz baths, peri bottle treatments, tucks, pain relieving spray, Ice packs because sitting was so painful.
- Painful, dry, cracked nipples. Nipple blisters and Mastitis (I would cry every time my daughter latched for WEEKS!)
- All over body aches.
It was a tough go and an incredibly challenging transition to go from baby on the inside to baby on the outside. As you can imagine, my journey went beyond ‘The Baby Blues’ (which is when you feel a bit sad and down and out for the first 2 weeks after baby is born) and became Postpartum Depression. I was put on medication, saw my therapist more frequently and my mom came to visit for 3 weeks to get me over the hump.
It worked! Not only did the medication and therapy help my brain to rest and cope, but my mom and husband would take turns feeding the baby in the night so that I could get some much needed sleep. I truly believe that sleep deprivation was most of what caused PPD as there is a strong scientific link between sleep deprivation and depression.
So you might be wondering why I’m telling you all of this. It is not to earn a badge of honor for overcoming a truly challenging time in my life or to gain your sympathy. No. I’m telling you all of this so that you know that you are not alone. Motherhood is HARD, even in the best of scenarios/circumstances. I know what it feels like to be a sleep-deprived mombie hardly making it by but continuing to show up everyday! More importantly, I know how to help you.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you. I hope I’ve given you even just the tiniest bit of hope and made you feel heard.