How I Survived the Baby Blues
My baby was born and I felt complete bliss! I had enjoyed a healthy pregnancy, my labor was hard but she was finally here, in my arms and sleeping soundly. I carried her all night the first day. I did not want to be separated from her. For months, I had longed to hold her, kiss her cheeks, and wrap my hand over her little hand. I was in complete bliss.
Then, reality hit me hard. We were packing our bags and were discharged from the hospital. In my mind the thought ran through my head, "Really, they are just going to let me walk out with a newborn?" I had prepared myself for a healthy pregnancy but I had not prepared myself for motherhood and how to take care of a newborn. I remember the first month was the hardest adjustment period for me. I was the first in my family to have a baby so I had no experiences to base mine on. It was a day-by-day journey experiencing and learning how to become a mother.
Motherhood is beautiful but I wish someone would have told me how difficult the first few months would be. Postpartum was a difficult time trying to heal my body. I was happy that I was able to do a natural vaginal birth, but the recovery was painful. I was learning how to care for a newborn and the sleepless nights were taking a toll on me. My baby required my full attention and I would sit alone for hours in our rocking chair, breastfeeding her and just holding her in my arms. While a part of me cherished these fleeting moments, the other part of me felt such anxiety for the loss of a past life. I would feel so nostalgic about my childhood and feared that I would lose myself as a woman who had her own goals and aspirations. My mom, husband, and sisters would be with me for a few hours during the day but after they left for work or back home, I would feel a completely loneliness. I was alone at home with a baby. All the emotions, the sleep deprivation, and all the pain in healing my body contributed to my baby blues. It was the fourth day that I started feeling this anxiety and nostalgia taking over my body. I kept thinking, this is not the image of what I thought motherhood was supposed to look and feel like. I felt a complete emptiness, a desperate loneliness, and all I wanted to do was run away.
Baby blues are real! I hated feeling and being in this depressed mindset. During the first few weeks, I spent most of my time inside my room, rocking my baby to sleep. In my mind, I kept thinking that this was supposed to be the happiest moment in my life. I was finally a mom, my heart’s desire, but instead, I felt completely loneliness.
It took me a while but my resiliency kicked in and I was determined to beat these awful feelings. I was going to enjoy my baby and learn how to be a great mother. I feared getting postpartum depression and not being fully present for my baby. I researched natural ways to prevent postpartum depression. I found some helpful tips that helped me cope with some of the anxiety and loneliness I was feeling.
1. Talking. All I wanted was someone to talk to. I wanted to share my feelings so that they would magically disappear. I wanted someone to tell me that what I was feeling was normal. I was happy when someone would take the time to just listen, node their heads in agreement, and be understanding of my feelings. It made me feel relieved. My older sister was my biggest support. She would just listen to me and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. I had given birth to a beautiful baby and that was a big blessing. She would tell me that my body, my crazy hormones, and my health was adjusting to my new reality. I was healing myself and that took time. I was a mommy with a whole new mindset that required me not to be selfish. I was entrusted with a new life who now became my entire being and priority. This put everything into perspective for me. Talking and communicating were important in my healing process.
2. Setting a routine. After days of sleepless nights, not eating properly, no time for showers, or a change of clothes, I felt like running away. I was a working woman always busy with a schedule and a routine. I did not know how to deal with just being at home. I had to set up a routine that would make me feel normal, important, and busy. Eventually, my husband and I set up a routine so that we both could get some rest and much needed sleep. I would sleep for longer times at night so that I can take care of our daughter during the day. My mornings were dedicated to my daughter. I would nurse her, put her to sleep, sit for long hours in our rocking chair, change her diaper, and repeat over again. By midday, I would be able to eat and shower. If I was lucky, I did both. While it did not seem like much, I had established a routine with my daughter. I was finally enjoying her, taking many photos, dressing her in cute outfits, making memories, and finally feeling like this was the motherhood experience I was yearning for.
3. Going out. We hibernated for the first three months and rarely went out. This was one of the mistakes that I wish I could go back and change. I was so scared of exposing my daughter to any dangers that I feared going out to public places. Part of this fear contributed to my loneliness and anxiety. I would leave my daughter with my husband so that I can get out of the house and do some grocery shopping. I would see moms shopping with their babies and thought why I couldn’t enjoy the same happiness. In retrospect, going out with my baby was okay. Going out on walks or to the park would have been healthy for me and my baby. My advice for new mommies is to not let fear consume you and deprive you from experiences and creating memories with your baby. While it is important to be cautions, it is okay to go out with your baby for walks, to visit a friend, to enjoy an evening with family, to go to the park. It is what is most needed during this time.
4. Eating healthy. My vegan sister encouraged me to eat healthy during my pregnancy and after I gave birth. This was one of the best advice I got and it made a difference! I was careful with the food I consumed and only ate organic. Since I was breastfeeding, this also helped my daughter not have any issues with colic or get an upset stomach. Healthy eating contributed to building a healthy body and mind. I helped stabilize my hormones and heal my body faster. I also helped me control my weight and lose most of my pregnancy weight within the first few weeks.
5. Create a project. After letting go of the anxiety and loneliness, I decided for focus on my baby. I made her a priority and focused on making sure she was growing healthy. I immersed myself in books and blogs on how to make sure she was hitting every milestone. Through this, I decided to create a project of documenting my daughter’s growth every month by taking professional photos. It helped me be creative, focus my mind on positivity, and create beautiful memories with my daughter. Every month, I would be excited to find new photo outfits, select new locations, and be creative. This was a healthy distraction which led me to create my blog.
Luckily, my baby blues lasted for about three months. As a new mom, the birth of a child comes with many changes both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Motherhood is a beautiful journey but one that changes you as a woman. I often find myself staring at my daughter in amazement. She is the most wonderful blessing in my life. I am a stronger, resilient, and dedicated woman because of her. She has dissipated that loneliness I was feeling and turned it into complete happiness. Now, when I am alone at home with her waiting for my husband to get home from work, that emptiness is no longer there. I feel a happy tiredness that feels like complete bliss.