After the birth of my daughter, I didn’t feel like myself. I could easily blame how exhausted I was from the hypertension that forced me on bedrest, the excessive weight gain, the more than 48 hours of labor I endured, or all the first-time breastfeeding woes that left me sobbing at every feeding. As I began locking myself in the bathroom for abnormal lengths of time, I quickly realized what I was experiencing was serious. While "baby blues" are normal, some (like me) experience postpartum moments that’ll convince you you’re losing your mind and, for me, there were times when I think I really did lose my mind.
It’s not easy to look back on those early days of motherhood, because I had no idea what any of it would feel like. I especially had no idea what postpartum depressionwould feel like. Knowing my history of anxiety and depression, my doctor thoroughly explained all the signs and symptoms and, still, I never thought it could get so bad. Instead of doting on my daughter or confiding in my partner about these feelings, I’d retreat. Instead of wanting to bond with my newborn baby, I felt detached. I often had nightmares about dropping her or rolling over on her even though we didn’t practice co-sleeping. She was a good baby who allowed us to swaddle and sleep train her fairly early on, but my feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness (at the time) kept me from seeing or appreciating it all. In the end, I guess I could say my postpartum got in the way of everything I thought, felt, did and even see (or didn't see, as it where). I think back on this time with such sadness and regret, knowing there’s little I can do to change anything now, except try to be a better mother to my daughter than I was during those dark, difficult, postpartum days.
While The American Pregnancy Association describes the "baby Blues" as having “milds ups and downs, weepiness, and stress,” Postpartum Depression (PPD) affects 1 in 7 new mothers with more severe symptoms. Aside from a major change in hormones, those with PPD might experience anxiety, restlessness, isolation, insomnia, and other mental and physical issues. Because of all this, it’s not so easy to fully embrace the early days of motherhood, no matter how much you want to or how hard you try to will yourself to. So, with that in mind, here are a few postpartum moments that’ll convince you you’re losing your mind. Knowing what's could potentially be in store is half the battle. The other half? Remembering it's not your fault.