After battling unexplained infertility for years, we finally had our first baby. It was a very easy pregnancy and our son Ethan was born in the summer of 2007.
I never thought that I would not love being a mom. Or that I would not know how to be a mom; that it was going to be harder than I thought. After doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted for so long, it was hard to just give up my life to take care of such a demanding little person.
Ethan didn’t care if I was tired or if I needed to eat. He didn’t care if I wanted an hour to myself to read or wanted to watch something on TV. He cried a lot. He slept poorly. I was breastfeeding, and so we were always together. My organized life fell apart. This mommy thing was not what I thought it would be, even though I knew that it really was. Ethan was doing what babies do….he was being a baby.
And in the middle of the night, I started thinking that maybe I really didn’t want to be a mom. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for it. I wasn’t feeling this connection with my baby that everybody always talked about. I was scared that I didn’t feel like I thought a mom should. But I didn’t tell anybody else. I put on a smile and tried to pretend that this was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I remember one afternoon my husband Jason went to watch his nephew’s baseball game. I was sitting on the couch holding Ethan, who must have been about two months old, and I was trying to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to him. But I couldn’t; I just kept crying and crying.
It was then that I finally realized that something wrong. That feeling so sad and dejected about being a mom wasn’t the way I should be feeling. That I needed to tell Jason how I was feeling. I knew it was wrong to feel the way I was feeling, but I had been too embarrassed to admit those horrible feelings to him. I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t love our son.
Jason came home that day and found me crying. I finally told him how sad I was. How I didn’t even like being a mom. How I didn’t want to do anything but sit on the couch. I didn’t want visitors. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to eat. That I just wanted to sleep. A lot. He asked me to call my doctor because he remembered from our classes we took before I had the baby that it was common for some women to experience post partum depression.
When I finally got to see my doctor a few days later, I cried the entire time I explained my feelings to him. He smiled, and patted me on the knee…and told me what I was experiencing was NORMAL. That a lot of women feel the same way. That he could help me. And he did.
I had post partum depression, and medicine fixed it. Luckily, a small dose was all I needed, and a month later I was like a new woman. I couldn’t turn these feelings off on my own, and I was glad to have reached out and gotten help for it.
When all of those horrible, sad and angry feelings went away, I talked to my friends and family about it and was surprised by how many of them experienced it, too. I had nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. What I couldn’t understand was why nobody talked about before I mentioned it. Nobody said “Hey you know, just in case you start feeling this way…” Why was everybody so hush-hush about it?
So I want to tell you here and now, if you are having feelings I described, or any of these symptoms of post partum depression, please talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you feel “normal” again. Because remember, what you are feeling is normal for some new moms.
Did you ever experience the baby blues or post partum depression?