It’s possible that there will be a time… several times… maybe even an incomprehensible amount of times when you will find yourself sleepless, swaying in the dark, crying, cradling your baby, and thinking, “Will it ever end?’
The sleep deprivation…
the feeling overwhelmed…
the sharpness of infant cries.
Not having claim to your own body
It can all seem endless at times.
Take it moment by moment, minute by minute, or second by second if you have to. Just make it to 2:30… then to 3:00… then to 3:30.
It won’t all be bad. It shouldn’t all be bad.
I want you to be fearless about asking for help. Find someone to help you get a nap, have some soup, or take a bath alone. The early months will be stressful, and consuming… but if they ever start to feel dark – if your gut tells you that you’re not acting like yourself – talk to your doctor. Be brave. You have absolutely nothing to lose by doing it.
We don’t live in villages like we used to. Most of us don’t have a team of other women who cook, clean, and shower us with support while we spend weeks and weeks in bed with our babe. Postpartum mood disorders are more common than people think.
I’ve been the woman pacing, rocking, and crying in the dark. I’ve squirmed with the certainty that I made a terrible mistake and was completely incapable of the life I was suddenly thrust into. I’ve looked up to the heavens with tears streaming down my face and scream whispered, “Will it ever end?”
Take it all as slow and as easy as you can…
Because the sounds of little baby slurps while feeding,
the moments of baby fingers squeezing yours,
and the gentle feel of your infant trying to eat your cheek…
Those moments will end too.
Take care of yourself so you don’t miss them…
And take heart…
Because though I’m only six years into motherhood, I can tell you the memories of the light will outlive the memories of the dark.
You’re going to be happy you did this.
Jenni Chiu is a proud member of the editorial team at Postpartum Progress, and you can find all of her other internet places at http://JenniChiu.com. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and two lesbian dogs.
Postpartum Progress, the world’s most widely-read blog on all things related to emotional health around pregnancy & childbirth, is a service of Postpartum Progress Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit devoted to raising awareness of postpartum depression and similar illnesses. Please consider making a donation today, Mother’s Day, so we can continue and expand our work supporting maternal mental health. Thank you!
Gosh, those nights can seem to last forever. But the gentle cheek-eating is so fleeting! I miss it.
It is great to let moms know the pain you felt. And that they can someday be happy again. Good article!