[Editor’s Note: Today we have a beautiful, encouraging post from Graeme Seabrook who recently had another baby after experiencing a postpartum mood and anxiety disorder after her first child’s birth. Many moms wonder how they’ll feel and what to expect when they have another baby. Graeme’s words are a testament to a well thought out and properly executed plan. -Jenna]
I was terrified. I prepared for this baby like those doomsday preppers stock their bomb shelters—everything in place for the worst-case scenario. I started Zoloft sometime in my sixth month and other than that, breezed through my pregnancy. My scheduled c-section was amazing and actually helped heal some of the birth trauma from my first birth. My daughter started latching on in the recovery room and feeding was going really well.
This is NOT what I had expected.
At first I was elated. I was feeling all of those new mommy feelings that everyone talks about. I was so, SO in love with my tiny baby. I was all warm and gooey every time I saw Adam with her. I wanted everyone to see how beautiful, how absolutely perfect she was!
Then I was relieved. I was feeling things! No numbness, no shock, no thick grey blanket weighing me down.
And then I got angry. THIS is what I had missed the first time around: hours spent holding and snuggling and counting perfect fingers and toes, not wanting to let her go even to sleep, marveling at this amazing gift. I felt cheated. Now that I knew what I had missed, I felt robbed all over again. It hurt and I got angry. I’m still angry. I don’t focus on it—I breathe with it, let it happen, and let it go.
And now? Now she’s six weeks old. Most days I smell like stale breast milk and have a headache from sleep deprivation. She’s milk and soy protein intolerant, which means I had to end my steamy affair with Ben and Jerry (sorry, boys!). Of course there’s guilt that comes along with knowing that I was feeding my baby something that hurt her. The guilt doesn’t cripple me though.
Now I feel all kinds of things: tired, happy, grateful, exhausted, worried, loving, loved, sleepy, silly, afraid, frustrated, weary, smelly, playful, protective, zonked, excited, proud, unworthy, fried, tuckered, pooped… did I mention tired? SO TIRED.
There are all kinds of feelings, but here’s the most important: I feel healthy!
I don’t have flashes of blinding rage. I don’t have panic attacks. I’m not scared to go outside. I can get out of bed. I want to touch people and be touched. I don’t have fantasies of running away. There is no thick grey blanket hanging between the world and me.
I’m going to keep going to my therapist and I’m going to keep taking my medication. I’m going to keep focusing on self-care and reaching out for help when I need it. I’m going to keep working the plan that I made back then. I’m on the other side now and loving the view.