For a long time after Rex was born, I struggled. If I am honest there are still days now where I find it hard to cope – but they are not as intense and are few and far between in comparison to last year. Baby blues does exist, it seems. This post is my baby blues definition and how I am now on the road to recovery.
My Baby Blues Definition and How I Felt
At first I thought it was Postnatal Depression. I was at risk from it when I had Grace due to the circumstances I was in at the time. My health visitor was always surprised that I didn’t go down that route. But I had a reason to feel low that time around. This time I didn’t feel that I did. I think that is why I found it harder to understand. More difficult to cope. Why did I have any right to feel down or low or depressed?
I think that to start with it was the lack of sleep. This was because I was having to find a way to cope with Rex’s reflux and, as this started to worsen, things seemed to become more desperate for me. I felt trapped. I had hit the reset button on the baby years.
The reason I say this is because Grace had become self-sufficient. She had got to the point a while ago where she could bath herself, read her own book and put herself to bed. Not that I’d didn’t love doing any of these things – far from it. But I had my life back. I could go to bed whenever I liked and not worry about being woken up to play at 5.30am! I could work my own hours and, I also had time to myself when Grace went off to her fathers. It felt like this new-found freedom had suddenly been taken away again.
Thankfully I had Ross and Grace to help me but it didn’t change the fact that I felt trapped. My body wasn’t my own, I had to put all my life goals on hold and I felt so awful. So low and despairing, and it all felt like it was never ending. I wanted to walk into a lake and not come out. That would never happen of course, but the feelings were there.
I look back on this now and feel silly. It’s such a short time but it really doesn’t feel that way when you are in the thick of it. It doesn’t help that I am 10 years older and have found it far harder to cope with the sleep deprivation. What made it even worse was that I had tried for this baby for so long – so the guilt of knowing how much so many people would love to be in my position only exarcebated the negative feelings.
How I Felt in November 2017
Back in November I wrote a draft post. I kept promising myself I would publish it but I never got round to it. I’d like to share what I wrote in the hope that it might help someone else who is feeling like this:
Today is one of my good days. I’m coping, getting through and not feeding guilty for not achieving things. When I say ‘achieving’ I mean from a work-related perspective.
I am a strong woman. Or, at least, I thought I was. I’ve had two babies without pain relief. I’ve been through 2 miscarriages. I’ve come out the other side of an abusive relationship. I’ve dealt with infertility. I’ve coped with financial hardship. I’ve cut my abusive father out of my life. I’ve been a single mum. I’ve had cancer scares, a frozen shoulder and severe sciatica to the point where I couldn’t walk and I’ve coped with the pain of endometriosis for most of my life.
So why? Why, now I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted, why am I falling apart. Why does it feel like I’m falling down a black hole which I can’t get out of? Why do I persistently feel like I’m trapped, like I can’t breathe?
People cope with far worse than I’m going through right now. What makes it even worse is that I know that there are countless childless couples who would absolutely love to be in my position. To overcome their infertility and have a child of their own. To anyone who is in that position I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m not appearing to be grateful by writing this post. Believe me. I am eternally grateful for our son. I’m just not coping right now. Whether it be the fallout of the pre-eclampsia or the change in hormones as the IVF medication combined with pregnancy leaves my body followed by Rex getting jaundice and diagnosed with reflux, I really don’t know. All I do know is I’m struggling. Finding it hard to stay afloat and feel like I’m swimming against the tide.
I was originally going to write a post apologising for putting details of my baby regularly on social media. Feeling like I might be rubbing it in my infertile friends faces. Instead, now, I feel ever worse for the fact that I’m having problems that I just shouldn’t have. The guilt is immense – which is probably serving to make me feel worse that I do already.
There are some days where I’m fine. Where I feel like I will get through this and all my negative feelings are silly. Then, there are the days when I take 100 steps backwards and find myself sinking again.
How my Health Visitor helped me
Thankfully my Health Visitor was a great support. I knew what I needed to do on the whole. I just needed someone to talk to who wasn’t a member of my family and was understanding of how I felt.
I knew I needed to make sure I got out of the house. Easier said than done with sleep deprivation! I was grateful for the run up to Christmas giving me errands to run and presents to buy. There was also a baby massage course followed by a baby aromatherapy course as well as rhyme time at the library followed by coffee with my postnatal friends – this has now become my mid-week saviour – as well as various visits to different events.
My Health Visitor made a point of seeing me for a run of 6 weeks. She gave me details of a self referral help scheme called Talking Therapies. I decided to see how the period after Christmas went – as I knew I’d be at my lowest – and then refer myself if necessary.
On the road to self-improvement
I’m pleased to say that I have started to turn the corner. I was aware of blue Monday in January so, on that day, I took myself off to Tesco with Rex in tow and bought myself a cream cake. Knowing that I got through that day meant a lot to me.
It has also helped that Rex is now in his own room and started to sleep better (I bet now I have typed this, I am in for yet another sleepless night!!). On the whole it means I’m getting more sleep which makes me a better person. I feel I am able to get organised rather than wonder around aimlessly.
Finally I feel happy enough to have a proper photograph of me taken. I felt so self-conscious of the amount of weight I put on during my pregnancy and haven’t really felt like having my picture taken since giving birth to Rex. I’m so proud that I carried a baby at the age of 46 and am nearly 47 – and still want to be a better version of me. I need to have the stamina to keep up with the toddler years! Tomorrow is the start of February and I feel more into the swing of a New Year and new me. Getting fit and feeling healthier is at the top of the agenda. Tonight I went to my second Zumba class – and loved it even more than last week. What a shame that a majority of the people who came last week weren’t there to carry on this evening.
One of the things that really got me down was the amount of weight I put on during my pregnancy. I still feel self -conscious about having my photo taken. I’m determined to lose this weight and get fit and healthy. At the end of January I started a beginners Zumba class – and I love it! I’m also going to start weaning Rex off of breastfeeding (which isn’t going to be easy, as we have really got into our groove with that!) so I can lessen my calorie intake to help.
We have a few trips and events to look forward to and I’m hoping to increase my exercise. I’m finishing maternity leave in March so I will be returning to my self employed work as well as picking my photography back up again. Taking everything one day at a time.
I finally feel I’m starting to shake off the baby blues and get back to me. After all, I need to make sure I’m armed and ready for the toddler years which aren’t too far away!
Linking up to Lets Talk Mommy with Bumps and Babies.
‘My Baby Blues Definition and Getting Back to Me’ first appeared on Verily Victoria Vocalises. Please do no reproduce this content without permission of this blog owner.