It’s Sunday afternoon, I’m just done feeding Keyo. I’m sitting in my mother’s room sobbing my eyes out. I can’t breathe. There is mucus running down my face. I look a mess! A hot mess. And I have no idea why. This happened yesterday as well. And the day before. My husband walks in.
Martin: Sweetheart, why are you crying? (He is alarmed)
Me: I don’t know
Martin: What’s wrong honey?
Me: Nothing. (Sob, sob, sob)
He sits down and holds me. ‘It’s OK, you’re OK,’ he repeats and repeats and repeats.
Feelings of severe despondency and dejection
Have you heard of postpartum depression? It’s a very confusing period. You ‘should’ be happy and excited about your new baby. But you’re not. In fact, you are positively negative. Everything makes you want to cry. You are in fact, depressed. The wonderful feel good hormones that were coursing through your veins during your pregnancy are gone now (and very suddenly might I add) and your body is reacting badly to the withdrawal. Very badly.
After my son was born, I would cry every evening (around 5pm). It was a nightmare for me and my family, specifically Kendi, I think. She didn’t understand it. But there are things I did to combat the jonesing for those feel good hormones I was missing so much. It’s hard but it’s worth a try.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional, I am a mum who has had two children and the following things have worked for me. You might never get postpartum depression. The following things might not work for you. By all means, check with your doctor if you feel sad for an extended period of time after your baby’s birth, and it is not going away.
- Every morning, from the day after I had the baby, regardless of how tired I was, I would get out of bed, bath and get dressed in a pretty dress, oil my skin, put on deodorant and lip gloss. I would make my bed and tidy my room. And then have breakfast. After all this, if I was still very tired, I would get back into bed and nap as long as I needed. The tidy space (my bedroom) and my clean, refreshed body went a very long way to make me feel great. Looking great, makes you feel great. And feeling great in turn, makes you look great. It’s a wonderful cycle.
- I started to exercise (yoga), 6 days after I had the baby. As I had no complications during the pregnancy and no stitches or anything to speak of, I was alright to stretch (as yoga basically is). The gentle movements and stretching, made my body feel like it was exercising and produce Oxycontin (feel good hormones) which, duh, made me feel good.
- I went out. To visit my mother, to drop off Kendi at school, to pick her up. I did not allow myself to develop cabin fever, that desperate feeling you get when you’ve been indoors for so long that you know every scratch and hole in your living room wall (kill me now!). It made me feel so good to get out of the house.
Do anything that makes you feel good. Do you need to visit your friend (or ask your friend to come visit you? Do you need to eat a huge piece of gooey, chocolate, fudge cake? Do you need to grill up some chicken? Do you need a pedicure? Do it! It will make you feel better momentarily. But when you’re in the great depression, even a moment feels like a life saver.
Go ahead mama and save your life any way you can.