I spent nine whole months preparing for my first baby. I ate right, I kept active and made sure I went to all of my prenatal appointments. After we discovered the baby was a boy, we chose a name (after vetoing a thousand!) We decided to incorporate a Transportation theme into his brand new nursery. Primary colors, trains, trucks and cars! I remember going into his nursery, standing by his empty crib and rubbing my enormous belly. Tears welling up in my eyes because I was just so happy and excited!
We were so prepared! My labor was pretty standard textbook and everything seemed great.
The hospital allowed us to take this six pound, adorably handsome, fragile human home.
It was scary. I was so afraid. Would I hurt him? Can I do this? Can I be a MOM? Am I normal for feeling this way? What if MY mom knew I was so frightened? What if my husband knew? What a failure I must be. Everyone is thrilled to be a new mom! No way other women feel like this.
My books told me about those Postpartum Baby Blues, and how they are normal and that it lasts for roughly a few weeks. But, there I was, three months in and falling apart.
The generic "How are you?" from the grocer, or co-worker would induce tears. "Fine" was a lie. I was not okay. I was sad. I was anxious. I was depressed.
"But why? Everything in your life is so great. You have a healthy baby! What's there to be upset about?"
I. Don't. Know.
And I still don't know. I'm not a doctor. I don't know why I felt the way I felt. I was loved and supported. There is no rhyme nor reason. It just was.
I sought out help. I spoke to my family doctor who referred me to a therapist. I found that medication and a safe place to talk were very helpful.
Eventually I felt better. I was able to stop the medicine and the counseling.
I am thankful that my husband recognized the signs. He saw that I was down, tired and not wanting to participate in the things we loved. He made it possible for me to not be ashamed.
As a doula, I too can recognize those behaviors and I will be there. To support, to listen and to encourage you to get the help that you need. You are normal. It is okay to feel this way.