Moms discuss what it feels like to have the “Baby Blues,” anxiety, Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Psychosis.
We don’t talk about the struggles of new mommyhood enough. Many moms suffer in silence, and some don’t even know postpartum feelings are common and treatable. I asked a group of moms to explain their experiences in hopes that others may relate and get the help they need (deserve). Read the quotes below to hear their stories.
The demands of being a new wife
“I suffered from Postpartum Anxiety. I was consistently crying EVERY morning and crippled by the sheer amount of things I had to get done in one day. For me it was right before I went back to work. The stress kept me on the edge and had physical effects like slowing down my milk supply significantly. I saw my OB-GYN and spoke to her, and she recommended a professional. With some cognitive behavioral tools I was able to fight through it. The mental and emotional tax of being a new wife was the trigger.”
Resenting husband and feeling “stuck”
“I suffered with the “baby blues” after both pregnancies. It really caught me off guard with my first because no one really talked about it. The first time I had actually heard of it was in a video I had to watch before I could leave the hospital. For me, it was a constant feeling of being sad. Crying over anything and everything. I also resented my husband during this time BIG time, because I felt like nothing changed for him. He was able to continue life as normal and I was “stuck.” It was a big sense of feeling like my life as I knew it was over, and I didn’t feel like I would ever gain a sense of normalcy.”
It can last weeks or months
With my first it came right away and probably lasted about 4-5 weeks. With the twins it didn’t hit until they were probably about 2 weeks old. And it only lasted maybe 2 or 3 weeks.
When sleep deprivation and sickness makes it worse
“I have a 14 month-old still nursing at night. She’s been sick ever since she entered into daycare. I’m exhausted and I get no sleep. I’m almost 18 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I have experienced a lot of sickness with this pregnancy. Since my daughter doesn’t walk yet I carry her everywhere and I can hardly sit down. I have had a sinus infection for almost 5 weeks. Unfortunately I can’t take the antibiotics the doctor prescribed me because they make me vomit. I feel guilty that I am not happy about this pregnancy. None of my close friends live around me and I rarely get a break or find relief. My husband doesn’t understand and probably thinks I’m crazy. The only reason I don’t fall apart is because my 14 month-old is always with me. Or I would spend a few days in the middle of the floor crying. The good news is that I am going to see a counselor to help me get through this.”
Thoughts about hurting the baby
“I had Postpartum Psychosis. I was unusually afraid of getting into a car accident while the baby was in the car with me. I was afraid I would hurt him. I would take him to another room if I needed to make a sandwich or chop food with a knife. My appetite was nonexistent, therefore I would only eat once a day. My self-esteem was in the gutter. This lasted for about 9 months. I was afraid to tell anyone, except my best friend, who is a counselor. I hate hormones and the things they do to us.”
Having a NICU baby is hard
“I had postpartum depression with my last daughter. I don’t know if it was because I couldn’t take her home from the hospital, but I cried three or four times a day. I would go in the bathroom if people were around so they couldn’t see me cry. When I would go visit her at the hospital it got really bad. My eyes would be swollen shut once I made it to my car. It lasted a couple of months once she came home from the hospital also.”
Mourning the “old life” and physical healing
“I didn’t feel like myself at first when we brought home the baby. I was learning so much so fast and hadn’t really had time to mourn my “old” life, which I really had to do. I missed just being able to read or come and go as I wished and I really had to adjust to this new life. Aside from the lack of freedom, I was physically still healing. I’ve always been a relatively healthy/in-shape person so being so physically “sore” and lethargic felt suffocating to me. I felt weak and not “in control” of my body and that definitely added to the “baby blues.” It lasted for me for about the first month or so.”
Weighed down by unbelievable sadness
“I had the “baby blues” with ALL my births. It was an unbelievable sadness and one that is difficult to explain. I don’t know if I’m just a person who worries a lot but I often found myself not hungry and being down and I didn’t know why. After we had our third child, I noticed that I began suffering from anxiety (bad- like, I could feel the anxiety building followed by tightness in my chest). Once I was able to identify it, I could control it. For me, getting outside and going for walks has been amazing for my mental health. Also, I’ve kept busy with school and the other kids as well! Now, I’m 6 weeks postpartum and I’m feeling pretty good. I would say about 95%! Getting better everyday.”
Weird thoughts about harming oneself
“It started about 3 weeks after we came home. I started having weird thoughts about harming myself or the baby. I was also really depressed about breastfeeding and not being able to have a vaginal birth. I also became extremely paranoid about him getting sick, so I just stayed in the house. He was born in December and I didn’t take him out until mid Feb. My sister had been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression so I called and talked to her first, then went to the doctor. I feel like it lasted for 6-7 months. Once I went back to work and talked about my feelings with other moms, I felt more confident and just reassured myself on some things.”
Not wanting to hold the new baby
“I had the “baby blues” for a brief moment. The day I had my son I did not hold him right away. I had him at 5:04 pm and I did not hold him until maybe around 9 pm that night. I was okay the following day but the day we were released I cried and felt like it was all too much. It only lasted for a few days but I thought that it was strange to feel that way knowing that I’ve always wanted to be a mother. I felt like a bad person, a terrible mother.”
“I feel I have perinatal blues. I hate being pregnant and I don’t feel a bond with this baby at all. I’m not even really excited-just excited for it to end. This pregnancy for sure has exacerbated my depression.”
Feeling unloved and alone
“Two days after I had my baby, I was so sad. Crying for no reason, I felt unloved and alone. I knew immediately what is was. I called on the two people in this world that would help me, GOD and my grandmother. I was fine a few minutes later. I prayed, prayed and prayed some more. Those feelings and thoughts never came back.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
First and foremost, start by having a conversation with your doctor. This is common and you are not alone. There are many resources out there to help moms identify the symptoms and get the help they need for any of the postpartum feelings mentioned above. Visit the following sites for more information: