The thing about postpartum that most don’t understand is that it isn’t always depression at all, and that there is a spectrum of each of the emotions involved.
One of the most common ones is anger. Not necessarily angry at your baby, but BIG anger at the smallest things–like when your husband throws out the rest of your coffee when you were busy in the next room feeding your baby, or when he is snoring obnoxiously next to you while you are awake at the crack of dawn for the third time to feed your little monster, or when your baby’s noises just annoy the f*ck out you in that very moment, or when the mailman doesn’t read the sign and rings the damn doorbell that one time your kid actually decided to nap. Patience wears thin, and not just because the sheer lack of sleep… Sometimes one good scream in the next room is all you need to regain your composure and deal with your screaming newborn for another hour before they decide to settle on a whim. Because you have tried everything several times to soothe them. Every. Damn. Thing. More than once.
Another spectrum emotion is the feeling of detachment, but not necessarily wanting to abandon your child or be away from them, but rather not feeling that gush of love everyone seems to talk about. During my pregnancy, I absolutely separated myself emotionally to avoid feeling extreme sadness or loss should anything have happened, because I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough to deal with that. BUT what I didn’t realize, is that separation would seep into my precious time with my newborn. I did not feel the immediate love when they handed her to me after birth; in fact my husband can attest to the fact that my face had fear written all over it. I can tell you that it was closer to “Oh sh*it, she’s real!” more than anything, but still–it was shock. Despite the excitement, and that we conceived her on purpose, it took a few months for me to connect with her and truly feel love. That rush of blissful uncontrollable love does eventually come and it is magical! The on-purpose smiles certainly helped! And I am sure it is still developing because some days, gun-to-my-head, I’d still pick my husband. 🤷 #badmommoment
To look at my highlight reel, you wouldn’t know that behind each one of those adorable mommy&me photos is a tired AF new parent, whose patience level is beyond gone, who could absolutely use the invitation to go out and do whatever with you just to have some adult interaction that isn’t talking about poop and spit-up. Also not shown: that it sometimes takes like 7 tries to have a somewhat happy-seeming baby and no mama tears. But we put on a good face and make seem like everything is alright because we are a very “fake it til you make it” society, and the power of positive thinking can do wonders. Sometimes.
All to say that just because your life isn’t picture perfect, or perhaps that’s all you feel it is, doesn’t mean it won’t get better. If you’re just feeling so overwhelmed, there are so many places you can reach out to talk, to escape in the moment, or to figure out what you need to move forward. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you are local to Ottawa and simply want to have a coffee with a stranger who ‘gets it’ I am a message away.
Here are a few local resources: