Baby Blues Update
Goodness. I am so grateful for the community we have here on WoW. I felt so loved by your 63 comments and probably half as many emails regarding my baby blues. You all helped me to know that I am not completely crazy or alone in my feelings toward new motherhood. Thank you.
That blog post was written after what I think was a full-blown anxiety attack when Rooney was 8 days old. I was anxious about a number of things, some that weren't even related to Rooney. And I knew Eric would be going back to work in a couple days, which scared the heck out of me.
The anxiety led to a loss of appetite, and I could tell my body was struggling to keep up with Roo's needs. It was scary. The anxiety lasted for a couple days and almost landed me in the ER. Instead, I called my midwife and she gave me some peace of mind as well as had me come in the next day to be seen. Being honest with everyone around me and getting out of the house for that appointment was the start to my recovery.
Eric and I were so prepared for the labor and delivery, but not so much for how to care for R once she was here. My hormones were crazy and there were so many changes going on so fast. Chaos and change has always made me anxious.
I was a mom. But I had no idea what to do.
Guess what I learned? Neither did my baby. She has never been in the world before, and I have never been a mom before. I'm not used to someone drinking from my breast at least eight times a day, and her dependency on me for survival was enough to freak me out. I do believe most of my anxiety and doubt was related to breastfeeding (never knowing if I had enough milk or the energy to feed her when she was ready), and also being so darn tired that I couldn't think straight. I'm normally a very positive person, but it was hard to see the bright side of anything.
I didn't feel like myself. Even simple things like going to the bathroom was a five-step process. I wasn't used to sitting at home all day long. I was used to showering daily, dressing up, staying busy. That's how I identified who I was. I also didn't feel a strong bond with Rooney yet or knew what she needed or when she needed it.
Thankfully, our moms and my sister came to the rescue. They have each spent time at our house in the past two weeks to take care of me and lend a hand with Rooney and household chores. Rooney and I have gotten to know each other a lot better, and it's made the world of difference.
If I had to diagnose myself based off this information, I would say I had/have a mix of postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression and postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (read the birth story). Crazy combination, huh? I've considered medication, but wanted to try a few less-invasive options first.
What's Been Working
- Exercise. My family physician suggested a brisk 15-30 minute walk every day. (I would suggest taking it easy...the first one kind of wiped me out.)
- B-6 vitamin. A friend recommended I look into taking a B-6 supplement, which helps convert food into energy and helps maintain chemical balance. It also can help with anxiety.
- Music. "Healer" by Kari Jobe is the perfect song for me right now.
- Getting out of the house. It's interesting because getting out of the house creates some anxiety in me initially. But, Rooney is great in the car seat and after we do it, I feel a little empowered that my life doesn't have to change completely. Even getting in the car and driving makes me feel like a normal person again.
- Prayer. My faith is totally carrying me through this time. I pray that the next time she needs to eat, I have the energy and patience to get through it.
- Laughing. A friend shared this blog with me and I belly laughed so hard. It felt amazing.
Just the other night, I was home alone with Rooney for the first time. And I wasn't anxious at all. It helped that it was only for an hour and she slept the entire time, but I feel a lot more confident now in my ability to feed her, soothe her and know what she needs.
I won't tell you things are perfect, because they're not, but each day provides hope that we can do this.