How To Deal With Postpartum Blues
I dealt with postpartum blues after both births. With my first, everything was new and a learning process. You think you know what you’re doing or what you will do until the situation arise or things take a completely unexpected turn. I’ve learned that after giving birth, your emotional state doesn’t handle the unexpected very well. You try to keep things in a certain order, but as soon as one little thing falls apart, so do you.
What I mean is the tiniest things that can happen, such as a spot on the kitchen counter or the baby only sleeping 15 minutes instead of 45 like they did the day before and you can now kiss that 45minute power nap goodbye, can all cause you to fall apart. You just want a decent amount of happiness and peace and quiet and rest, but with all your efforts it still fails.
And it really doesn’t help that to everybody else you are freaking out over a spot on the kitchen counter. So they’re thinking “okay, she’s definitely losing it!” But what they don’t realize is that you’re freaking out over a spot on the kitchen because you are sleep deprived, overwhelmed with trying to balance everything and keep everything order all after birthing a new person into the world after 9 or even 10 months of pregnancy that included constant nausea and vomiting, lungs, intestines, stomach, and bladder being squashed for about 6 of those months, your spine having to hold up at least 30 extra pounds in a swift amount of time, your boobs hurt just to think about touching them.
And for me: constant dizziness (sometimes fainting), blurry vision, headaches, the most excruciating pain ever in life in my pubic muscles for SEVERAL months that made getting in and out of bed and even walking almost impossible all while everyone looks at you like you are the most adorable thing, but they don’t know that you almost peed on yourself just 5 minutes earlier because you almost didn’t make it to the bathroom in time because of the pain and the fact that with the pressure on your bladder holding your pee also almost impossible!!!!
People say things like, “Oh my goodness! You are about to pop!” and what you’re thinking is “I’m about to die! Better yet, could someone PLEASE just hit me over the head with a Louisville Slugger to put me out of my misery, PLEEEEEASE!!!!!” But they just smile and are probably thankful it’s not them.
So you can’t wait to finally give birth so you can FINALLY get some relief, but then you learn that after giving birth, there’s MORE pain (especially after your lady parts have been RIPPED), no rest, plus keeping everything clean because there’s a newborn in the home now. Let’s also add hormones that are out of control, a new body that you don’t recognize, your hair falling out! (yes, that’s real!)
And if you’re breastfeeding (if not, still pain in boobs) trying to learn or re-learn how to get your baby to latch on properly, the constant worry if your baby is getting enough milk (after all, you’re mom, you want your baby to thrive! It’s like the biggest mommy goal!), keeping up with which boob you left off on, what time the baby last fed, how long the baby nursed, how long the baby nursed on each boob, how many times the baby suckled before swallowing, and still worrying if they got enough, and keeping up with the ounces you pump and hoping you even pump enough!
So, in between all of this you manage to clean the kitchen with messy, neglected hair, spit up all down one side of your shirt, and you get the kitchen to look magnificent and you can almost see it sparkle! You step back and manage to crack a small smile and realize you did a good job. You got something done and it came out nice. Now it’s time to jump back into the sleep deprived chaos called motherhood.
You return to kitchen literally 5 minutes later to prep your pump equipment so you can go pump and help keep your milk supply up (because milk supply running low is a scary thing for moms!) and you find a gross, sticky spot on your counter that you JUST cleaned! Nobody knows where it came from (apparently something must have fallen from the ceiling or just out of thin air) so this mean YOU have to now re-clean the area. You fall apart. You just want to throw in the towel and quit. And YOU look like the crazy person.
But you’re not crazy. You have legit feelings. There’s a lot going on and you feel like it’s too much to handle and you feel alone. I think about that episode on “This Is Us” when Kevin was literally having a melt down and nobody noticed. He was basically crying out for help and nobody noticed! He even explained himself to a crowd of people and they just cheered. He clearly looked like crap and he screamed for help and nobody noticed.
With the blues, you sometimes feel alone. You clearly need some help or even ask for help, but it comes off as if you’re just nagging or being emotional or as some would say, being hormonal. You have legit feelings, but nobody hears you. Nobody sees you. Nobody understands you. This is why this topic needs to be talked about more. So that more people realize what’s going on with us after giving birth.
The last thing we need is to cry out for help right there in front of others and nobody hears anything.
Nobody sees anything.
Nobody does anything.
With all of this being said, let me give some advice to those that are not having babies, but are around or helping those that have just had a baby:
1. If she says something is not right (like how something is cleaned or how to do certain things with the baby), LISTEN and stop what you’re doing and fix it.
2. Don’t argue with her. If she says she pumped 5 ounces, don’t tell her it’s only 4. Just agree that’s 5 ounces and move on. Arguing with her basically tells her that she had gotten yet another thing wrong and she already feels like she’s not doing a good job as a new mom and that she’s not good enough.
3. If she tries to tell you about her feelings, LISTEN!!! Understand where she’s coming from and reassure her that everything is okay. And don’t just SAY everything will be okay, explain why or how! Show her that’s okay and that you are totally there for her. She really needs that.
4. Do as much as you can so she can do as little as possible. The biggest part of postpartum blues is feeling overwhelmed. There’s a lot going on and it’s all of a sudden, so for a mom that just gave birth it can feel like everything is caving in on her and there’s no way out. So, CONSTANTLY be mindful of her and allow her to take a break from it all as often as she needs, and pick up the slack so that when the break is over she doesn’t feel like she’s going right back into deep waters.
5. I believe every woman that goes through childbirth deserves AT LEAST 3 weeks post-baby of 100% pampering! Don’t you think???
I wonder how things will go when I have my third (still rooting for a girl!) baby. At least now I know how to deal with those blues and keep them from getting out of hand and you do, too!
How To Fight Off The Blues
1. Keep sight of the positive. In other words, have things around to remind you of the positives in your life. This could be pictures, videos, or even writing down inspiring quotes or a list of the things and people you love. Negative things have a way of overtaking positive ones. What I mean is even on really good days when everything is going great, one negative thing seems to make the entire day a bad one. Don’t let it! Keep those positive things nearby as quick reminders that things are not as bad as they seem.
2. Keep your TRUE support system near. I say true because you may have those that say they are here for you, but they do things to cause more harm or their intentions or actions just do not line up with your expectations and what you need as a new mom. And this is ok. Not everyone is meant to be around after you have your baby.
Your true support system are those that respect your wishes, respect your space, truly understands your current condition, and does everything they can to help keep you happy and comfortable.
You’ve spent 9 (or 10) months carrying and growing a human being all while dealing with sickness, pains, stretching, and ever-changing hormones, plus the pains, stress, and wear from labor and delivery. The last thing you need is someone around making things difficult for you. Your support comes from those who want nothing else but to help and actually be a support. Decide on your support system BEFORE baby arrives!
3. Rest. I’ve heard the advice all before: “sleep when the baby sleeps” but this isn’t always as easy as it is said. But the point is to rest as many times that you get the chance to. Sleep deprivation can make anybody go crazy. Use the people in your support system to help you out and watch the baby and kids while you get some zzzz’s. Did you know there’s a hormone that is released when you breastfeed that makes you sleepy? Why? You need that rest to recharge. It’s so often that we try to get things done on a low battery. Every tried to run several apps on your phone while battery was low? (of course you have!) The battery dies even faster! Just like you have to at some point put your phone down to charge, remember to make sure you are recharging. Take care of yourself! If you don’t, you can’t do a good job taking care of your baby, and all you want to do is do a good job at being a mom.
4. Talk. Someone in your support system should be your go-to person to talk about what’s going on with you emotionally and any other way. For me, it’s my husband. A big part of fighting off the blues is to talk about it as it’s happening. Be honest, cruel (although with irritability it may seem to still come off as cruel). That support person should be there to listen, comfort, and maybe even cheer you up, whatever it is that you need.
Talking about your feelings helps you get it all out and not bottled up inside eating away at you. It helps you connect with someone else that can actually understand your perspective and what’s going on and help you. They can also give you a different perspective and help you change your thinking.
5. Remember, you are human and that’s okay! Postpartum blues really kick in when concerned about how you are as a mom. As a new mom, you can feel overwhelmed by the task and the responsibility and start to wonder if you are good enough or even doing anything right. You start to wonder how you will balance everything, and it all just starts to cave in on you. Remember, you won’t get everything right. You will make mistakes. But the fact that you are even concerned shows that you are a good mom. So, when you mess up, learn from it and keep moving forward. Becoming a parent is a lot of pressure, so remember in those first few weeks of postpartum to take breaks when you feel you need one. This is where your support system comes in, once again! They can help take care of things and the baby while you gather yourself and take time to rest, not just physically, but mentally, too.
6. Enjoy yourself. There is nothing wrong with it. As I just mentioned, taking a break after having a baby is needed. Take time to enjoy yourself. Take time to enjoy your favorite snack, your favorite movie, or give yourself a spa day (or spa hour!). Pamper yourself. When you start to feel overwhelmed or just sad, get with your support and have them take care of chores around the house and caring for the baby while you take some time for yourself. Just like you will do what’s needed to make sure your baby is happy and healthy, do what is needed to make sure yourself is happy and healthy. If you are like me, you may feel guilty getting others to watch your baby and take on house duties while you go have “mommy time”, but it’s necessary. Once again, that’s why you need to have a TRUE support system that will understand this and HELP you take all the time you need.
Postpartum blues is real, and I can definitely see how it can lead to depression when you don’t have that support and no one notices your need for help or hears your cry for help. But you can stay strong and get through the blues. You just need the help, and these are ways to help!
I hope this helps someone!
Thanks for reading!!!
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