Time to get real, folks. Olivia is now 13 days old! She is just precious and really seems to be a good baby, only crying when she's hungry, needs a diaper change or is getting changed. Man oh man she does NOT like getting changed, poor little thing. She sleeps well and eats well and is becoming more alert each day. I can't wait until she can smile because she has some adorable dimples on her cheeks. I'm trying to decide if I'll type out her birth story, but in the meantime, one thing I do want to share is how hard being a new parent is. Why don't people tell you this? Sure, newborns are so cute and cuddly and warm and soft. YES, they are wonderful, and Olivia is no exception to the rule. But in the midst of falling in love with her, I ran head on into Baby Blues.
They tell you about the possibility at the hospital, give you a handout (one of about 50 in a packet of things to do, not do, etc.) and send you on your merry way. For me I think it started on our 2nd night with Livvie. She was crying and crying and couldn't be comforted and it set my tears in motion. More like a river flowing down my face that I couldn't turn off. What is wrong with her? Why can't we make her feel better? What if she's like this all the time? What if I'm not a good mom? What if Jeff sees that she's upset a lot like Cade was and feels like he can't handle it? What if we never sleep? What if I do something wrong? What if Jeff doesn't love me? (see how that one popped in there? These thoughts bombarded me all at once, along with many many more.) Irrational. Illogical. Scary. Continual. Morning came and a few hours of sleep, and things seemed better. We got to go home, try to settle in, learn how this new life thing is done. And it was good. Until darkness came. Always with the night. It was like a heavy veil of sadness would overcome me. I couldn't pinpoint one specific trigger. I just got scared. The thoughts above would drag my into fear and loneliness. I would just cry and cry. Olivia wasn't doing anything, sometimes she would just be sleeping or snuggling with Jeff, yet I would feel helpless. Did other moms feel this way? Was I a bad person? Why didn't I know it might feel like this? To top it off I was sore, tired (obviously), feeling a bit ugly, uncomfortable and out of control. (not good for this type A mama!) Then the thoughts would spiral. Would Jeff wish I was different? Did Olivia replace me? Would he not only dread going to work, but also coming home to his crying wife? Why couldn't I explain myself? Why was I fine during the day only to be punched in the face with these emotions at night?
Listen up, there is/was nothing wrong with me. Thankfully we had my mom and Jeff's parents helping us. Thankfully Jeff is an amazing man who understands that thoughts can grab hold and not let go, but that doesn't mean they are valid. Thankfully I got to talk to a sweet friend on the phone who was so encouraging and sweet, telling me I'm normal, I don't need to feel guilty, that my hormones are probably more out of control than I could possibly imagine, that SHE FELT THE SAME WAY. Really? Sure, I've heard many a mom say it's hard, the first month is hard, it will get better. But what I didn't hear anyone say is that I might feel completely out of control emotionally, that I might cry at the drop of a hat, that I might not be able to stop the tears even though there was apparently nothing tangible causing them. Here's what I want to say to new and/or expecting moms: It's OK to cry. It's OK TO CRY. Even when your little baby bundle is totally content, the house is clean, your husband is holding you, your parents are helping beyond words, IT'S OK TO CRY. When the laundry is done, the floor is vacuumed, dinner was prepared by someone else, IT'S OK TO CRY. You are not a bad person, not a bad mom, not a bad wife. Just let yourself go through it, because there's not much else you can do. You can try to ignore irrational thoughts, it's a good practice. As the tears flow, try to remember this, you're normal. Lot's of mama's feel this way. It's not bad. It's not permanent. It indeed will get better. So go ahead. Cry. Show your baby that emotions are OK, emotions are good. YOU are OK. Go ahead. Cry. And then snuggle your sweet bundle and tell her how much you love her. And snuggle your hubby and tell him how much you love him. And in a month, look back at how things really did get better, easier. (and if you're sad more than you're happy, tell your doctor. there is real help out there, beyond a blog post.)
OK? Take that Baby Blues. We prefer pink!