I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s something that you’ve probably heard about but never knew anyone who experienced it. It’s a dirty little secret that no one talks about, but it happened to me. It’s called the baby blues, and yes, I had them!
When I was about 4 months pregnant, my husband and I thought it would be a great idea to renovate our house. Sorry, did I say renovate? I meant tear-down our house. Gut it all out and leave nothing but the outside walls. I bring this up because doing this made me happy. During the 6 month process, which ended the day we brought our son Kyle home from the hospital, I was maybe upset for a total of 2 days. I was never really stressed or overwhelmed, even though we had to change contractors half way through and almost nothing went according to plan. I was just excited to have the house of my dreams and nothing, not even crazy pregnancy hormones, could get in the way of that excitement. Which totally ill-prepared me for what was about to come next.
The first few days when we brought Kyle home I was very focused. I had a new-born baby that needed me and I finally got to meet the person that I carried for 9+ months. I loved having our family and friends over to meet Kyle and I even felt that I was sleeping “a lot” for a new mom. But then, out of no where, it hit me. I couldn’t stop the tears at this point, I had no control over them. My husband would ask me what’s wrong, and all I could answer was “nothing”. I wasn’t lying, I just had no idea why I was crying, but I couldn’t stop myself. Next, came the crazy dreams. I dreamed of holding Kyle in my arms, walking down the stairs with him, both of us falling, him hurt and next thing I know, John was divorcing me. I told John about this dream, and being the amazing person he is, he said “I would never divorce you.” Of course, that made me cry even more…
Being Jewish, Kyle had to get a brit milah / bris (circumcision) at 8 days old. Lets just say I was a total wreck that day. I couldn’t stop crying for a full hour. I had been to many brit-milah’s before, always stood in the back while it was happening, and never really thought much about it. I knew that the show must go on, but I wasn’t happy about it. I mean, it’s a boy’s right of passage as a Jew, and we’ve been doing it for millions of years, so who am I to stop it now?
But when it came to my own son, I wanted to stop it. Luckily, I was sent a gift, and it was in the form of a friend, A, who had given birth to her own daughter a few weeks before Kyle was born. Emotionally, she was going through the same feelings as me, so I trusted her opinion. She said something along the lines of “millions of Jewish boys have been circumcised before and they’re all okay and no one’s the wiser (since it was done at such a young age)”. She was right, and so, the show went on. Kyle got to taste his first alcoholic drink (he is a Fitzpatrick after all), and after it was all said and done, it was actually a pleasant “event” with all of our close family and friends.
However, I still couldn’t shake feeling ”blue”. On top of everything else, I had latching problems. I enlisted the help of a public health nurse who came over to my house to help me out. After an hour of what can only be described as ”breast fondling”*, she asked me how I felt overall. Really??? She couldn’t just leave at this point? She already walked me through how to get the baby to latch on properly, talked to me about SIDS, baby proofing the house and left me with more pamphlets on newborns than I knew what to do with. Of course, my immediate reaction to her question was to break down into tears. I mean, she asked me how I felt! Well lady, if you really want to know, I feel something, and it’s not happy, but I don’t know why. Of course, I couldn’t get those words out cause I was crying too much… my tears dropping down on my newborn baby. She then said to me that if the sadness persists longer then three weeks, I should consider seeing a specialist about it. I know she didn’t mean any harm, but this only upset me more. I mean, I’m a completely healthy, happy, go-lucky kind of girl. I’m NOT depressed!
Oh ya – did I also mention that Kyle was colicky? He cried a lot and for no reason. I just felt that I went into battle and I lost. I couldn’t stop my son from crying and I couldn’t stop crying. I thought… maybe I’m just not cut out for this job… is there a return policy on newborns??
And then, the most amazing thing happened… Kyle turned three weeks and the crying stopped. My crying at least; his colic continued until he was three months old. I can’t explain why I stopped crying by I just did. I finally admitted to myself what I couldn’t get a grip on for the past three weeks. I had experienced the baby blues. I remembered reading about it, but I never thought it would happen to me. I mean for 1) I’m such a happy person, nothing, especially my baby, would make me feel otherwise and 2) I never heard of anyone else feeling like this.
Thankfully, my friend A and my sister-in-law (who has 3 kids of her own and another on the way) were big factors in making the first three weeks pass by without me feeling like things will never change or get better. I am forever grateful to them.
After going through this experience, I can’t help but share my experience with others (when they ask me of course). I don’t do it to scare anyone away. I would never change anything about those first three weeks. They helped me bond with my son and make me love him in a way that would probably not be possible otherwise. And I can’t wait to have more kids But I just felt that women don’t really talk about this enough. Maybe they’re ashamed? Maybe they don’t want to seem weak or sad when a newborn should bring so much joy? Whatever the reason, I hated the fact that I felt alone and guilty (guilt will be a whole other post on its own) for how I felt and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that way. I had two friends reach out to me after they gave birth who had confided to me about feeling this way. I was glad to be able to share my experience with them, and to enable them to feel “normal” and let them know that things do in fact get better (MUCH BETTER)!
I hope that by sharing this story with others, no new mom will ever feel alone again.
*If there’s any guys still reading this, settle down.