‘It’s a little later than normal’, said the Health Visitor.
‘It usually starts around day five. We ought to keep a close eye on you really’.
The darkness had been slowly creeping upon me for the past 24 hours. At first, I brushed it aside, but nothing could stop those tears from suddenly falling down my cheeks at random intervals throughout the day, and night. Anything would set me off! I even cried at my Mum’s roast dinner she kindly brought round to us for supper the night before. My excuse – I was overwhelmed, extremely hormonal and very, very tired but I also felt more than that.
Or did I? Because actually, what I was feeling was quite simply nothing. I was an empty fuel tank. It’s such a strange feeling that the only way I can describe it is how I’d describe the worlds worst coffee…low, flat, cold and very, very weak.
After living off a euphoric adrenaline all week, I was simply worn out. I hadn’t slept for more than 90 minutes at a time and we’d had visitors galore daily. I was a constant feeding machine and I was also recovering from just giving birth. I was in pain. I couldn’t walk properly, not just because of the ‘exit’ location but also because I’d done my back in giving birth. The anxiety made its appearance and a chronic condition of mine also flared up due to the sudden changes and stresses to my body, causing many of my joints to swell and flare. Even my eyesight changed during the first two weeks that my glasses had to go up two prescriptions.
Questions constantly flew through my mind. What’s happened to my body? Why do I feel like this? Is how I’m feeling normal? Will I ever feel like me again? Am I a good mum? Am I doing this right? Can I do this?
So many questions. No answers. No energy. I was scared. All I wanted was my Mum and Ry. No one else seemed to matter in this post-baby bubble. I had no idea what was happening in the outside World. I’d instantly dismiss any phone calls, texts & FB notifications from friends and loved ones because I just couldn’t face talking to anyone. The visitors were cancelled and all I wanted to do was just hide away in the dark with my newborn baby lying sweetly next to me.
After about a week, the dark, deep, flatness began to lift. It didn’t completely go right away, but it was much better and I could finally go a whole day without crying…that was an achievement in itself! It was a big hurdle to face, especially during that first part of the journey to motherhood. However, I promise everyday life got much easier after that.
What is the baby blues?
Baby blues is so common that the majority of all new Mums experience it in some way or another. It is thought to be linked to the changes in chemicals and hormones shortly after giving birth and the symptoms can involve: feeling emotional, irritable, irrational, anxious and depressed.
What did I learn from my experience?
This feeling is completely normal. It doesn’t matter whether your baby blues start on day 5 or day 10. We’re not all programmed the same way, we’re all different and we all go through our own unique experiences both during and after giving birth. Some women are fortunate enough to never get the baby blues but if you are one of those women that do, I have some advice for you.
How to cope with baby blues:
- Give yourself plenty of time, patience and rest.
- Tell those closest to you how you’re feeling, no matter how silly you may feel.
- Inform your Health Visitor/Midwife/GP so that they can keep an eye on you.
- Don’t tear yourself down because of how you’re feeling…your body has been through a lot!
- Cry when you need to.
- Drink plenty of water. You’ve just had a baby, it’s important to stay hydrated.
- It’s easy to forget to eat with a newborn. Make sure you have snacks dotted around the house to remind you.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Just go with it. The feeling will soon subside. However, do let your Health Visitor/Midwife/GP know if you’re concerned in any way at all.
- Limit your visitors.
- Find ways to help you relax: a bath, relaxation meditation videos on youtube, listening to podcasts, watching television, reading…anything that reminds you that you are still you!
- Try and get out the house for a bit, even if it’s just the garden. Fresh air works wonders!
- Talk about it. Don’t hide it. It’s ok to feel this way!
I decided to turn my baby blues experience into something positive. Therefore, ‘Positivitea’ is an idea I’ve created for when new Mum’s need that boost of positivity during those first few months after giving birth! They can open one of these envelopes, have a cup of tea, sit down, relax and read a letter from one of their loved ones to give them strength but also to remind them of who they are and that they are not alone.
Hopefully, this is an idea that may help someone one day.