I think I’ve finally made it through postpartum depression.
This past week and a half have been so hard on all three of us. Emotionally and physically. Lucy began waking up numerous times in the night, fighting naps and bedtime like a little anti-sleep warrior. She’s sometimes even waking up as often as every 15 minutes. Each time crying and screaming, needing rocked or fed back to sleep. Not to mention the random times throughout the night where she was just “awake for the day”. We’re talking 3am 2 hour play times.
Austin and I planned to handle it like the team that we are. I’d take a turn, then Austin would take a turn. But L has now seemed to notice EXACTLY what soothes her best. Mama. Nothing against Daddy, I just spend 24/7 with her and she’s grown attached to how I comfort her. Austin could do the exact same thing I do, but it doesn’t matter. She’s smart enough to know the difference.
After several attempts of Austin trying and Lucy screaming and crying to the point that she now sounds hoarse, it wasn’t worth it. I was now getting up with her each time.
That didn’t necessarily mean Austin had it easy and got to sleep the entire time. He often sits up with me and keeps me company. One night I told him to lay down. I rocked L back to sleep and went to put her in her crib. She instantly woke back up crying. So I tried again. Walking, bouncing until she went into snoozeville. Again, she woke up as soon as I put her down.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. But after 6 nights of little to no sleep and growing more and more anxious every time she cried, I broke. My legs felt weak, I felt nauseous, dizzy and was trying to focus on keeping my breathing under control. I was beginning to have an anxiety attack.
As quietly as I possibly could, without alarming L, I asked Austin to come sit with me. He offered to take her, but I declined. I breathed through it with the comfort of Austin and even my difficult 7 month old.
Once I finally got her down, I started doing some research on why she may be acting this way. I looked a lot into Precious Little Sleep, the cry it out method and the Ferber method. One site said something about things are so bad you would rather go back to the newborn stage. And I thought, “yes, yes, these are my feelings exactly!” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was false.
Not because Lucy was more difficult back then, she was actually significantly easier, but because I don’t think I could have made it through. Back then, I had nights where I had to hand L to Austin because I was scared of myself. And there were nights when Austin was at work and I’d sit hunched over Lucy crying until my eyes were swollen shut, asking “why?” and feeling so much regret. I didn’t think I could do it and I felt like a joke of a mother.
I knew I was at risk for PPD, especially since I went through depression off and on throughout my pregnancy, but holy smokes. When your life completely changes in a matter of hours and you no longer can put yourself first, you definitely get that feeling of losing a piece of yourself. It’s overwhelming, scary, lonely, and worst of all, you can feel like your significant other doesn’t understand. Because honestly, it’s hard for them to understand. They don’t have those hormones. The baby isn’t as dependent on them. Their body didn’t just drastically change. You can’t necessarily expect them to understand, but it is important that they support you, listen to you and not make you feel like you’re crazy. Even when you’re acting crazy. That’s all normal. But nonetheless, PPD can bring some of the darkest feelings you’ll ever have.
But not this past week and a half. I don’t feel regret. I don’t feel anger towards my baby. I don’t feel scared of myself. Sure, I feel anxious, exhausted, sometimes frustrated and depressed. But when I look at Lucy, my heart grows 3 sizes bigger and I feel this overwhelming gratefulness that she is mine. Even after an anxiety attack, I still found myself gazing at her, watching her little body twitch as she dreamed and I soaked in every inch of her sweet face, hoping and praying that I’ll never forget these moments.
If you are or think you may be experiencing postpartum depression, feel free to reach out to me. Or anyone for that matter. I know it’s easy to want to keep those dark feelings to yourself. You can feel ashamed and confused, but I promise, you’ll get through it much easier with support. Whether it be a significant other, a mama friend, or even me. xx