Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baby blues

I knew I wanted to write about my experience with baby blues/postpartum depression but I haven't quite been ready as I am now.  Now that Leon is 7 months I'm able to clearly reflect on the mixed emotions I had after giving birth.  
During my pregnancy I did the best I can to stay healthy and active.  I was a huge fan of prenatal yoga all the way up to 36 weeks when my doc advised I spend most of my time lying down.  Towards the end I felt a shooting pain in my crotch as if the baby's head was about to literally pop out.  In short, I was not having a good time at all during the last few weeks.  Despite the discomfort and being stuck to the couch I was so grateful that my water broke at 38 weeks.  I always had a hunch that he was going to come early.  Leon's birth was everything Chris and I hoped for.  I am forever grateful that it went as smooth as possible.  So smooth that we only spent overnight at the hospital.
Having Leon home was joyful and it was so surreal holding him in my arms finally.  I loved him even before I saw his face.  
The scary thing about postpartum blues is that no matter how much love you have in your heart for your baby there is a voice inside that speak of overwhelming insecurity about caring for a newborn.  I remember feeling so inadequate and that led to an overall sense of sadness.  When he cried and I didn't know what was wrong I immediately put myself down for not knowing right away what my baby needed.  It was hard and overwhelming.  Having very little sleep on top of it made the depression worse.   I doubt that postpartum depression could be avoided but from my own experience having Chris close during the first two months made a world of difference.  Having someone I love as a strong source of support was the encouragement I relied on day by day.  I don't know exactly when I snapped out of the baby blues because it felt like it lasted forever.  I do remember that when Leon was about 4 months and he began to be more aware of who I am is when I developed real confidence.  The moment he looked right at me and smiled was all I needed.  I knew everything was going to be alright.  I may not know everything about him and I may not always understand his cues but I know his heart and I love him so much.  
I think that new moms should remember that even though our babies grew inside us for those 9 months it does not make us perfectly in tune with their newborn needs.  Knowing Leon very well took lots of practice that built the confidence I have now.  He is constantly changing and my job is to constantly adapt to his new needs.  The key is to keep a sense of humor and know that when times are hard- that rough moment will pass. 
No one and nothing can prepare a woman for motherhood.  The best guide is our hearts and our ever so reliable intuition.

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