the Baby Blues

| 25 Comments

I’ve been watching like a hawk. My eyes peeled for the signs.

Weepiness. Crying about small things. That awful feeling of being so overwhelmed. Guilt. Mourning a life that has disappeared.

Yes. I know them by heart.

I saw them all just three years ago when they followed my daughter into my life. They arrived suddenly, unwelcome guests who found this space so cozy, they didn’t want to leave.

In the first weeks of her life, I cried. Everyday. The day my Mom left to return home and M left to go to work, leaving me and my girl alone for the first time, I shook with fear and anxiety for hours, not able to relax until M walked back in that evening. I roamed the house, not sure what to do with myself. What to do with her. Friends and family called with congratulations and I gulped down tears as I thanked them.

I didn’t smother her with kisses. I didn’t cuddle her for hours. I loved her but couldn’t show it.

I went to a postpartum depression support group and learned that it was unlikely that I had PPD. More likely that I was going through a bad case of the baby blues.

Yes. It was bad.

This time, the nurse warned me about the baby blues as she prepared my discharge papers from the hospital. As we prepared to leave a full 24 hours ahead of their recommendations.

“Is it common to go through the baby blues with a second child?” I asked. Naive and definitely rooting for one answer over the other. Surely experience would help me here. Surely my feet would recognize this path and tell my heart and my brain that it’s ok. We’ve done this before. We can do this again.

“It is. Did you experience them with your first?”

“Yes.”

“Then you’ll probably experience them again.”

She went on to ask if I had support and caution me to seek help if things got bad.

And so, my eyes are peeled. I notice every dip in mood. Every crescendo of activity in this house that leaves me feeling lost and overwhelmed. Every moment when my son is crying while I’m with my daughter, or my daughter is crying when I’m with my son. Every moment when the exhaustion takes over and I don’t know how I can keep it together for one more minute. When I’m nursing but she needs me. When I’m braiding her hair but he needs me. When she wants us to take her to school but I worry about how chilly it is outside for his new little body.

sibling playtime

As I face that first day alone. Me and them. I feel the fear shaking me. The anxiety setting in. Oh how am I going to do this?

And then it passes.

So far the baby blues have not made a bed here. They visit and then leave. I know, this time, that this time does not last forever. He’s already growing older by the minute. The long afternoons of nursing and holding him will pass. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and he’ll be six months old, sitting on his own, eating solids and nursing less, a playmate for his big sister. And then next week? He’ll be walking and talking and they’ll run off to play together. Leaving me out of their imaginary worlds as I run to keep up, desperate to break back into their embrace.

This time is hard. But it does not last forever. And when it is time to look back, I will miss this right now. I know I will.

I know I’m not yet in the clear. Those blues know how to get here. They know the way and they know how to stay.

But my feet have walked this path before. And my heart and my brain know to hold onto these moments. Nothing, not even the blues, lasts forever.

~~~~~

linking up with Shell. Join us and pour your heart out.

25 Comments

  1. You are a brave mama. So many women struggle with this undefined sadness. I know I did. I felt guilty fessing up to it, guilty that I wasn’t so overwhelmingly happy with a brilliant, healthy baby in my lap. Glad you are opening up, sharing, and making a lot of women feel a little more at ease in the process :)
    Tori Nelson recently posted..Picky PicassoMy Profile

    • Thank you! It took nearly three years for me to feel ok talking about it and not feel overwhelmingly guilty about it. But I’m glad to be talking about it now.

  2. What a beautiful post. I’m glad they have not hit you and I’m glad that you have your eyes peeled for them. There are so many ways to struggle and try to shove through, but it’s important to KNOW and have the support you need. I send you hugs and congrats on your beautiful family.
    Andrea recently posted..It’s so easy.My Profile

    • Thank you! You’re right – trying to push through is just not the solution when it comes to this. We all need support to make it and there is nothing wrong with that.

  3. Staying aware that it could happen and having your support system in place- so important.
    Shell recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out: Four DressesMy Profile

  4. This is just beautiful. And it echoes so many things I felt after my daughter was born, as well as contemplated as I tried to decide whether or not to have a second child. Ultimately, we decided to be “one and done.” But I think maybe the second time around wouldn’t have so hard. Or so scary.

    FWIW, my PPD didn’t kick in until around 4 months and it peaked around 7 months. So, it’s good you’re being vigilant, but don’t let your guard down. Take care of yourself, Mama. :)
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..November 8thMy Profile

    • Thank you, Kristin. Your advice is great, as I am sure I’ll start to feel I’ve passed the scary part at a certain point but I can’t forget that it really can pop up at any time.

  5. Oh, I love your writing. And this post is lovely. Brave, heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time. I know how frightening depression and anxiety can be, and how it can sneak up on the path you describe so eloquently. Here’s to your courage and to asking for all the help you need (and more!). Well done, mama!
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted..Rushing Is the New CrackMy Profile

  6. This is brutally honest and I am sorry you had that experience with your daughter. Being aware and ready to take action makes such a huge difference. I wish you the best.
    Robbie recently posted..Strange Things are AfootMy Profile

  7. You articulate this so beautifully and clearly, and I remember those days well – of feeling so tired and overwhelmed and sad and emotional – yet knowing those were the same days would miss at a certain time in the future. I am glad you are aware and prepared – and admire your openness about the issue. I am sending hugs and support your way. xo
    Ilene recently posted..About A HurricaneMy Profile

    • Thank you, Ilene! It took a while for me to feel ok opening up about it but knowing that so many went through the same experience definitely helps.

  8. I struggled with baby blues and post partum anxiety with my daughter and now that I’m expecting I’m terrified of it happening again. It was comforting to read this.

    Stopping by from SITS
    Melissa @ Completely Eclipsed recently posted..Still SquattingMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry you had to go through it. It was definitely one of the tougher things I’ve gone through in my life. I hope that you find the second time around to be much easier. Congrats on expecting your second!

  9. Tricia, I am so glad you spoke up at your discharge and are keeping on top of things. The baby blues can really grip us tightly and leave us feeling so week but looking at these photos and reading your words…your heart is strong. You are a great mommy!
    Kristen recently posted..What Traditional Marriage Should BeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Kristen! I’m glad I spoke up too. It has definitely been on my mind and though I didn’t want to hear it could happen again, it’s good to be prepared.

  10. Pingback: Friday Tapas: Reader’s Digest | What She Said

  11. It’s amazing how terrifying that little life can be sometimes. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It can make all the difference to those that feel so alone.

  12. So well done. Thank you for sharing and exposing that reality. :)
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Double the Friends, Double the Fun, DOUBLE the Spending?!?My Profile

  13. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s important that we talk about things like this so others will know they are not alone. While I haven’t fought PPD or Baby Blues, I do fight chronic depression. I know the weight of everything and the darkness that comes. In fact, I wrote about one of those times in the post I’m linking.

    I am so glad you’re on the look out. And that you’ve communicated with medical personnel and that your family knows to watch you. Getting lost in any kind of depression is so hard on everyone involved. May you continue to be blessed — I hope it stays away!

    Happy Sharefest. Best wishes for a wonderful weekend.
    misssrobin recently posted..When I Couldn’t Do LaundryMy Profile

    • Thank you so much. It’s definitely one of the toughest things I’ve ever gone through. Your post is so brave and I’m so glad you are sharing too. The more we share the more it helps.

  14. Wow, thank you so much your honesty about such a difficult subject. It’s very important to know that you are not alone. Your words will be comforting to others who are suffering silently. {hugs}
    Sara recently posted..When life is hard, love much!My Profile

    • Thank you, Sara. It was tough to write but I do want other women to know that they are not alone. It’s so important to know how common this is and that it is ok to ask for (and accept) support.

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