I had been wary of getting postpartum blues months before I gave birth. I remember having a convo with a friend who encouraged me not to succumb to PPD. Of course I said I won't, who wants to be depressed right?
But weeks after Yohann was born, I found myself face to face with an enemy called PPD. It was real after all.
At first I didn't entertain it, but it slowly made its presence felt after the visitors and well-wishers had stopped coming to our home. When we had settled into our new routine - the Daddy leaving for work, me getting up and taking care of the baby - was when I started to feel the blues. Imagine me having to take care of the baby, bathe him, feed him, pacify him, change his nappies day in and day out. I had to do these on my own most of the time as we had no one living with us. I skipped meals a lot of times as I could not put the baby down long enough to cook a decent meal. To make matters worse, I was anxious that Yohann wasn't getting as much milk from me as he should because I wasn't producing enough. He was always latched onto me, sometimes falling asleep while feeding. And when I would put him down, he would cry and wake up. So I ended up carrying him the whole time as he slept (which was a lot!)
That was our daily routine. The only thing that changed was Daddy's working hours. It got more and more frustrating by the day, the fact that I couldn't put the baby down while he slept. The laundry was left in a huge pile, the house needed cleaning, bedsheets and pillowcases had to be changed. And one night, Yohann started to have these crying fits where nothing could pacify him. He would cry for 30 minutes to an hour, and I would feel so helpless not knowing what he wanted. He would eventually fall asleep, tired, his eyes puffy from all the crying.
It was during this time, too, that I had offers to work as a virtual assistant. I badly wanted to start working and earning again. However, with the way things were going, I couldn't spend enough hours on the laptop to do the needed tasks. This again left me feeling very frustrated.
It took me several weeks to finally break down and admit that I was feeling the PPD blues. One night the hubby came home and I broke down in tears, asking if we can go home to my sister so she could help me with the baby. That was the only time I told the hubby what I felt, so I guess he too was surprised. Much as I loved Yohann, I was feeling inadequate and helpless. And stressed out, too. This made me feel very guilty. I didn't want him to think that I was complaining and all, but I did feel tired, really.
I guess he felt sorry for me then, and next thing I knew, he called his mom to come and stay with us for a while. Ma had stayed with us previously, but had to come home after a week. I wasn't feeling anything yet at the time she was with us, but I did appreciate her presence. I had her to talk to during the day, and much to my embarrassment she took care of the cooking and the laundry while she was here.
So Ma came again to stay with us for several days. One day we were watching TV and I was carrying Yohann while he slept and fed. I told her, "This is what we do all day, Ma." She quietly replied, "Cherish every moment."
Just like that, I felt the heaviness break its hold on me. I suddenly felt relieved. Performing my mommy duties no longer felt like an obligation. The realization suddenly hit me, Yohann will only be a baby for a short time, soon he'll grow up and I wouldn't be able to carry him like this any more.
The feeling of helplessness and fatigue has already left me. We've already found ways to make Yohann want to be put down for naps, and he has been feeding adequately. He has gotten bigger and heavier, and yes, harder to carry for longer amounts of time. However, I've learned how to better take care of myself so that I can take care of him better too. I may be eating less, but I make it a point to at least eat something in lieu of a decent meal. He already sleeps through the night, which means I also get a good amount of rest. When we get bored alone at home, I run to my sisters' homes so we have some company to enjoy. Yohann has also grown more interactive and already enjoys being talked to. His waking hours are longer and playtime with him is something I look forward to. I still feel tired at the end of the day, but no longer frustrated and stressed out. I may not be working and earning anything yet, but mommyhood is full-time work.
Indeed, the best way to beat those PPD blues is to cherish.every.moment. :)