The taboo baby blues. No one ever wants to talk about postpartum depression. Everyone thinks that it will not happen to them or if they do have it they are scared that they will be viewed as the mother that put their baby in the dryer AND THAT JUST IS NOT THE CASE. I think that the doctor’s and the hospital before you leave do a piss poor job of explaining what is going to happen to you after you give birth. You spend 9-10 months cultivating this tiny being or in my case two tiny beings inside you. During that time your body and mind are effected by the surge of hormones. No one explains to you that all of a sudden once the baby or babies come out that you are going to have to deal with a massive shift of hormones. Your body will take awhile to “normalize”.
I was fine the first week after coming home from the hospital. I was in pain from pushing out two healthy size baby boys and sleep deprived but my emotions were fine. I was happy to be able to see and hold my babies…FINALLY. I was glad to be able to see my feet. I was happy that my feet were not the size of loaves, as my husband had so lovingly nicknamed them while I was pregnant. Then the next week hit. It hit like a ton of bricks. Everything made me cry and I do mean everything. I was not like that when I was pregnant. I was actually very rational while I was pregnant. My husband never once said, hey you are being crazy and believe me he would tell me if I had been. He is from New York and he is as blunt as anyone I have ever met. However, the week after I came home I was overcome with emotions like I have never felt in my whole life. I probably spend at least three hours a day crying. Watching TV commercials made me cry. Looking at the babies made me cry. Not being able to soothe a crying baby made me cry. The bottle not warming up in enough time made me cry. The slightest inflection in my husband’s voice had me convinced that he was judging me, which made me cry. The fact that my babies cried despite my best efforts of trying to calm them was evidence I was failing as a mother (or at least that is how I felt). I thought I was going crazy. I was paranoid that my husband thought I had postpartum depression. I haven’t had any issues with being depressed in over ten years. It was NOT happening then and could NOT happen at all, right? I had visits from a nurse to check on my babies. It was the second week they were home and she was visiting to check on the status of their jaundice. She read me like a book. She made me take the Edinburg Postpartum Depression Test. The scores of course indicated that I had postpartum depression. She told me she would be back in a week to check on me. I think that was by far the hardest week of being a new mom. I was scared that what I was going through was abnormal. Scared I would end up in the nut house. On top of everything my husband only had a week off work. He never abandoned me on night duty, although I am sure that he probably went through work falling asleep while driving. But we did not have help. We were up every 2-3 hours feeding the bubs. So, on top of the leveling out of my hormones the sleep deprivation had consumed me so bad I caught myself doing strange things. My cats have always slept with me and I woke up on numerous occasions cradling the cat with my hand to their little mouths like I was giving them a bottle. I woke up staring at the baby monitor. One time I was convinced that there was a hand on one of the babies.
Even recalling this makes me feel like I was crazy, but I wasn’t. And even if one new mother reads this and is going through this I want her to know that I understand. I’ve been there. My nurse came back a week later. My emotions had done a complete 180 degrees. I felt “normal” again. My life is definitely a new normal but I was not crying anymore. I did not feel like my whole world was coming down around me. I was still sleep deprived but my hormones had leveled out. At that point she had told me that it was simply called “baby blues” and that it was normal. She told me that if it didn’t go away at that point that yes, in fact it is postpartum depression but there is a period of time called the baby blues and that’s your body adapting. I had heard of baby blues before but you don’t quite understand or know or would even believe that is what you are going through at the time unless you are truly experiencing it. Before I had left the hospital the nurses told me if you feel like harming yourself or the babies get help right away, they have medication that can help. During my baby blues period I did not feel like doing either one of those things. I just felt sad. Overwhelmingly sad. Being told that this was “normal” or could happen would have been nice. Being explained what my body was going to go through would have been nice.
Just know that your body is a wonderful, beautiful thing but it will do things that you cannot control and things you may not understand. Do not be ashamed to talk about what is going on. I thought I was going crazy, but I am so glad that I was honest with my nurse and explained what was going on. Don’t let things overwhelm you either. If you need help and it is available to you, by all means except that help! Having twins is a roller coaster in and of itself let alone all those lovely hormones!