As wonderful as being a parent is, the postpartum period can be full of ups and downs for new moms as well as seasoned pros. From sleepless nights to a house full of guests; from postpartum depression to those precious quiet moments with your baby, tell us what those first weeks after giving birth were like for you.

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My "Baby Blues"

I gave birth to my son on Dec. 28th and it was such a wonderful experience. I never knew what this felt like, I mean, I've heard different stories and things but there's nothing like going through this yourself. My labor was induced so I had the date set and everything. I thought I had "myself" together. I figured "no problem, I'll just go to the hospital, give birth to my son, then my husband and I come home and live happily ever after." That is definitely not the end of this story.

See, I've heard of postpartum depression before but not the "baby blues". Quite frankly, I wasn't ready for any form of depression, whether it be mild or severe. My "baby blues" began on New Year's Day about four days after giving birth. I felt sad because I knew that the very moment that my son was born and the very first view I had of him, I would never get to see again. I felt depressed looking at how much fluid retention I had in my body. It was horrible. My legs were so swollen it hurt to even touch them and my feet were even worse! When I walked I felt the fluid go "swish, swish" in my feet and they didn't even look like feet to me but rather loaves of bread or something.

My husband is generally a sweet man and he means well, and he didn't say this but I knew he wanted to get out of the house. He went to his mother's for a while on New Year's Day while all of my family was at our house. I understood yet I was still angry at him. I wanted him there and after the family left that day, naturally, I felt lonely and angry. At pretty much two weeks after giving birth, I still feel extremely emotional at times when I look at him. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but I feel emotional knowing that he will never be this size again, that I must especially cherish every moment because I know that the older he gets the more time he will be spending with his father doing "guy" things.

Of course I will bond with him and we will have our own special relationship but he will have his father as well which, don't get me wrong, is great but I tend to feel a little jealousy toward even that! I weep when I look at him because I've never loved anyone or anything so much in my life. I never knew what tears of joy was until I had my child. I weep at the memories of all my family and friends that were at the hospital awaiting his arrival. The thought that I may never see that again makes me sad.

God may bless me to have a second child and I'm pretty sure I will feel all of this again but I even weep for the possibility that I may not be chosen to have a second and that will be the only memory I will have and I began to be overwhelmingly thankful for that because I didn't have to have the privilege in the first place. It's just so emotional. I can't really find a close on explaining this; I just take it day by day.


reply to depressed

To "Could I still be depressed....", please be persistent in getting some counseling. You may not have post-partum depression considering the age of your youngest child, but that shouldn't stop anyone from providing you with help. You may very well have "regular" depression, which can be just as dibilitating as post-partum. If your doctor won't listen to you, get another doctor.

Buffi R.

could I still be depressed when my youngest is 2?

I am wondering if it is possible that this is what I have. I had had 8 miscarriages (nine if you count my oldest daughter's twin at six weeks) when my daughter was born in 1997. It was an emergency C section due to pre eclampsia. This was the first surgery I had ever had. Within six months I also had laparascopic gall bladder surgery, and then was put on clomid to try to begin having a sibling for my daughter After 3 years, the clomid had not worked and we gave up, 8 months later we were expecting without any medical help. My husband was laid off from his job the day I found out we were expecting, he was still on unemployment when our son was born premature in 2002, again by c section. After my daughters birth, I was a bit irritable and impatient with other adults in my life, but after my son, anything could set me off. I now had a 5 year old and a newborn. My husband was still on unemployment, and began temporary work later taking one of the temp jobs as a new career. It was a major economic change from what he had done originally, about half the salary, but we were still able to stay afloat financially. But I think I was sinking . Don't get me wrong, I never had any strange thoughts about hurting my kids, or myself or my husband, but after my son's birth I felt somehow removed from my daughter emotionally. I am still attempting to reconnect. Well when my son was 10 months old, for whatever reason birth control failed and we concieved our third child , another son. After this child was born, My husband went away to work, returning home one weekend a month, I got behind on the housework, had complications after this cesarian, and also had had a major fluid weight gain (over 30 pounds of fluid , when I entered the hospital to have him, I left with a baby in arms weighing 30 pounds more!) a year after he was born, the house had gone by the wayside, I wasnt even attempting to clean it, I didnt know where to start. Someone called and the kids were all removed for two weeks until I got it cleaned and DFS gave them back. I asked for help from them at that time, but they just said I had gotten behind, and all that. I still keep wondering if there might be more to it. I still dont keep house very well, and I don't think its just laziness. I am tired all the time, have trouble sleeping, am always worried when my husband takes the kids to the store that there may be an accident or something, and it just panics me. I don't fit my doctor's standard "are you a threat to yourself or someone else" definition of needing help.. so there has been nothing. Can anyone here suggest anything? Please remember, I have no intent to harm myself or my kids, but I do think I may still be depressed.

Buffi R.

depression confession

I gave birth to my oldest son in July of 2000. For the first three days I was exhausted and overwhelmed, but not truly depressed. On the third day the depression hit me like a freight train! I was sad, irritable, overwhelmed and anxious- all of these, all the time!! Sometimes when Nathan was sleeping I'd put the carseat in another room and try to pretend that my life was back to the way it used to be. I thought of giving him up for adoption or running away- I wanted out so badly. I was breastfeeding and he wouldn't take a bottle, so no one else could even get up with him to give me a break.
I don't know why I never told anyone. I think it was because I'd had a miscarriage before and felt guilty about these feelings. It lasted about a year until he started sleeping through the night.
It came again when my daughter was born in 2004. This time I absolutely could not handle it with a now 3 1/2 yo and a newborn. I went to the doc and got on antidepressants. Within two weeks I was my old self again!! With baby #3 (born7/05) I was put on antidepressants a month before delivery and had NO PPD. What a difference it made in enjoying my newborn!!
Doctors and antidepressants aren't for everyone, but there are many forms of help. My advice: If you experience this, tell someone and don't downplay it. Don't quit telling people until you find someone to help. You don't have to live like that. Find the help that's right for you!

Tammy Charles

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