Before I became a momma, I’ve heard stories of these postpartum depression but I’ve never personally witness it until i met my ex colleague. When I joined my previous company, I found out that his wife just gave birth a month or so before. In the months to come, I saw how this child changed him. He is already a Mr Nice Guy, always giving in to his wife. He sends her to work and pick her up from work everyday. On public holiday eve, he would hurry home (since it’s half day for us) and buy her lunch.
On weekdays when he is working, her mum goes over to take care of her and the baby. Him, being Mr Nice Guy would then send his mother in law back home after he goes home. He buys dinner and made sure that he rushes back on time. But it still wasn’t enough. She was always calling him at work or he has to rush off during meeting and in midst of working hours.
I felt so sorry for him and constantly wonder how he is going to survive this. Lucky for him, she went back to work after her maternity and he was able to focus at work again. Postpartum depression happens to an average of 10% of new mothers and about 70-80% of new mothers experience the baby blues. This can happen to the best of us.
I wanted to blog about this topic because to many who haven’t gone through childbirth and their baby’s first year, they would assume that these ladies are just finding an excuse for themselves. There is a lack of compassion for these women. I was one of them. I didn’t feel very compassionate towards my ex-colleague’s wife. In fact, I felt that she was too spoilt.
Here are some of the reasons (which I personally felt, this is just based on my own experience) why the baby blues sets in after delivery:
- People say mean things to you. YES! You might be surprise at the kind of words people say after you squeeze a human being out down there. Let me give you some examples that I’ve received ‘Wow! You’ve really put on weight ah!’, ‘Wah! I’ve never seen you look worse’. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
- You can’t feed your baby. Breast milk doesn’t come in immediately after you give birth. It’s not magic. It takes time (by time i mean, anytime from 3-5 days after you deliver). Breastfeeding is something so wonderful yet so difficult for a new mum. Like a partner dance, you and your baby needs to figure out how to position the best way possible to feed. Most new mums I know who have successfully breastfeed their child for months and even years, have gone through bleeding nipples, low supply seasons, sleepless nights to increase supply and many more challenges. To make matters worse, people start asking you ‘do you have enough milk?’.
- You can’t connect with your baby. You would assume that your baby being inside of you for 9 months would come out of your body and immediately feel connected to you. NO. That doesn’t happen. In fact, Z actually followed my confinement nanny’s voice first before recognizing mine. I desperately wanted him to acknowledge my presence and wanted him to have preference for me over anyone else in that first month. But it just didn’t happen. Babies respond to their main caregiver. Since I wasn’t his main caregiver then, he couldn’t. Things change now of course, he responds to me all the time and his eyes constantly follows me around the house now.
- You have super low self-esteem. You just gave birth. Your body looks like a wreck. Your waistline disappears. Your thighs look bigger than before. You can’t fit into your old clothes. You might be thinking ‘Lydia, you are being too hard on yourself.’ I am. But I can’t help it. I can’t feel good about myself when I’m not dolled up and my tummy look like a deflated balloon.
- You feel like a failure. Your baby cries and you tried everything to make him feel better. Everyone gives you advice about how to take care of your baby. Everyone tells you that your baby is either hungry/ sad/ tired/ frustrated/ too warm /too cold. At some point of time, everyone seems to be a better mother than you. But they forgot that you are new to the job.
I could share a whole lot more but I’m quite sure it will fall under one of these categories. Motherhood is not easy. Thankfully, I am blessed with a nice husband and a godly family who prays for me and encourages me. So next time you hear of someone with the baby blues or if you’re unsure if they are having the blues, just say nice things to them, buy them something nice to eat or just listen to them.