Postpartum Depression Update

I wanted to do a follow-up post to this one:ย Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum. Looking back at the post I am really glad I had the forethought to plan things out. I think it helped me a lot. I also appreciated all the comments and advice from people that went through this!

My fear of getting Postpartum Depression was valid, but thankfully didn’t materialize. I don’t know if it was luck, planning ahead, being super-conscious and aware of the signs, being in therapy and loving my new therapist, going for walks, but something did the trick and I didn’t have that issue.

Like I said in another post, the first few weeks were really rough. Now I know it was like 75% sleep deprivation and 25% hormones. I cried a lot. I was emotional. I was easily frustrated (with little things that were dumb, but never with Logan, which was good). I felt dead on my feet. Breastfeeding SUCKED. Michael tried to help me get some sleep by sleeping on the couch with Logan in the bassinet a few nights a week. As much as I hated that, it helped. I got some sleep. FINALLY. (And we haven’t had to do that for awhile now–we are all sleeping well in the same room.)

13151463_10154039885262527_8707425522956533775_n

I realized pretty early on that the key to my health (physical and emotional) was getting some rest. I’d try to nap during the day and Logan would sometimes cooperate, sometimes not. One thing I noticed — the insomnia that had plagued me for over a decade went away. Now I can fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyways. Getting reassurance from my therapist that the crying and emotional feelings I was having was completely normal and not PPD helped me. Getting more sleep at night helped. Taking some naps helped. Getting out of the house every day helped.

I am really glad that I didn’t suffer from PPD. Just having a glimpse of what it could be like those first few weeks was eye-opening. Somewhere around week 4 I woke up from the fog of hormones, crazy emotions and lack of sleep. Things got better. We got a routine down. Breastfeeding was going so much better and that made me happy.

13083365_10154039884052527_6961889388097555445_n

I had no idea the toll breastfeeding would take on my body and spirit when it wasn’t going well. It’s a really emotional thing. Maybe it’s the pressure that society puts on women–that if you don’t breastfeed you’re somehow failing as a mother. I felt that pressure and was really upset that it wasn’t going as planned. I thought it would be easy. It looks so easy. Just put them on the boob. Done. Nope, it’s not that easy. And feeling that pressure to do it right is exhausting. Thankfully that’s getting better, too. I’ve come to terms with our early experiences. So what I had to pump. So what I had to supplement. I fed my baby, he gained weight and was healthy. That’s the bigger issue, not whether or not I could breastfeed.

I’m glad we got his tongue-tie fixed and that with a few more sessions with the lactation consultant helped us both learn how to breastfeed. Now it’s no big deal and we can do it and he’s growing like a weed. There are even times when I need a break and I’m glad that I can pump and have Michael give Logan a bottle. It’s helpful. I really appreciate that Michael offered to take more feeding sessions to help me. It gives me a chance to do things–go to the gym, get a little more sleep, go out with friends. We are finding a balance and a routine that works well.

Currently Michael works from home on Fridays. It’s nice that he has that option and it’s really helpful for me! Friday mornings he often goes for a run or a bike ride early in the morning. Then he makes me breakfast and takes Logan so I can go to the gym. He gets his work done for the day, I get home and we can do stuff together or tag-team the day so I can run errands like grocery shopping, etc. For example, today he ran, then went to the garden store to get tomatoes and jalapenos for our garden, then when he got home and did work, I went to the gym, then I took care of Logan while he worked on the garden, then he took Logan for a bit so I could take a nap and go grocery shopping. Then we all went for a walk later.

I am really glad that I didn’t suffer from PPD. With my history of depression and anxiety it could have easily gone the other way. I am so thankful! Another thing that has helped was sunshine. The weather has been pretty nice during my maternity leave and taking daily walks with the baby boosts my mood.

My maternity leave is coming to an end soon. I’m having a lot mixed emotions about this. I know for myself that I can’t be a stay at home mom full time. In some ways it’s been a little hard being home all the time. My world suddenly felt really small. I talked to my therapist about this and she agreed–she said that being a SAHM is not for everyone and with my anxiety it probably isn’t the best thing for me. I agree. I don’t need “too much time to think” and be anxious about stuff.

But on the flipside, even knowing that I don’t want to be home full time, I’ve been feeling moody and sad about going back to work. I can’t imagine NOT spending my days with Logan. I’m having a really hard time with this. ๐Ÿ™

13139271_10154046171997527_1856511290551452303_n

I’m trying to cherish every day with him, get snuggles and cuddles, play with him, enjoy watching him grow and learn things. I know these days are going to go by so fast and I will look back and wish I could hit the pause button. So when I start to feel sad and moody about leaving him, I try and remember that it’s not always about quantity of time, but quality of time. I am trying to make the most of it.

The good news is that when my maternity leave is up I am going back to work part-time for 90 days. I won’t have to be back in the office full time until the beginning of September and that buys us more time together. I am so thankful for that and that is the single thing that is making it easier for me to go back to work! You better believe I’m already missing that goofy face!

 

6 Responses

  1. I’m in awe of my counterparts/friends/family and women/men in the US who don’t have the same maternity leave opportunities that we have in Canada. I feel so fortunate to have had the option to have a year home with both my boys. I took the full 50 weeks with my eldest and well, budgets didn’t allow for me to take a full year with my second, but I still did 9.5 months. We also have the option for the men to take paternity leave….it’s divided into two parts, maternity leave (that only a biological/surrogate mother can take) for 15 weeks and paternal leave (that any parents, biological, adoptive) can take that is 35 weeks. As long as it doesn’t exceed 35 weeks combined, both parents can take some or all the time off. So often times in Canada, if the father is in a job that provides “top-up” on a salary (any gov’t employee is topped up to 93% of their salary while off…lucky bastards) may decide to take the majority of the paternity leave as they would essentially be bringing home the same amount of $$ and get to be home with the baby, thus a less of a financial burden on the household. All that to say is that the time after a baby is born is all over the map, hormonal, scary, new….could I have gone back to work at 12 weeks? Of course. But it was such a blessing to be able to be home for such a long time. Was it financially hard? Yes. You’re basically put on “Unemployment” for the year, so you do get some $$, but it certainly isn’t a lot and won’t pay all the bills, and for some families this isn’t manageable and they need to return to work sooner rather than later. But for those that do take the time, we know our job is secure when we return in a year and that our job and salary is protected while off. Good luck as you transition back to work. It’s a whole new challenge, but once you find your sweet spot and a routine that works for you family, it will start to feel pretty manageable and you’ll just become a super-star at time management.

    1. Thanks for the comment and sharing your experience. I have a few Canadian and Australian friends who have amazing maternity leave options and it’s hard not being jealous. The US is WAY behind the times on this. I think there is something really damaging about going back to work too soon — for mom and baby. I think for mom there is so much healing that happens and you really can’t rush it. And that’s IF you have an easy birth experience. If there is any kind of complication? I can’t even imagine going back to work right after that.

      I don’t know that I need a year off but honestly I think 5 or 6 months is the sweet spot. Time to heal, time to bond, time to figure out breastfeeding! I’m a little upset that JUST as we get this breastfeeding stuff figured out, I have to go back to work and will basically just be pumping 90% of the time I feed Logan. That truly sucks. But what can I do about that?? ๐Ÿ™ Working part time will at least help me continue breastfeeding for a few days a week so I will only be exclusively pumping two days. That helps me mentally get over the “maternity leave is ending” block in my brain.

  2. So many things you wrote in this post applied to me. I remember just crying so much. It seemed like any strong emotion would set me off, even just looking at my baby and thinking that she is mine & I made her & I love her so much… And the tears would flow. And breast feeding was soooo hard. I only made it 5 weeks. I got to a point where I felt I was going to resent dong it/having to do it if I continued and I’d already been supplementing and pumping some so I gave it up. It was the best for me. I was also concerned about getting PPD, and luckily did not.

    I am really glad you are able to go back part time for a while. 90 days of that will be great. I took a full 10 weeks post baby off, then went back half time for 4 weeks before returning full time. Having that transition really made a big difference for me. Just the number of hours you get to spend with your baby are decreased so much with work and it is really hard to think about it. So that middle ground made it easier to eventually go back full time. It gets easier, but you always miss your baby. Mine is 3 now and I keep her pic on my desktop and all over my cubes so I can look at her if I miss her or if work is stressing me out.

    You are doing a great job & Logan is adorable ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Aw thanks Liz! I’m glad you could relate. It’s nice to hear other people’s experiences and similar experiences.

      In our childbirth class the teacher said the average woman breastfeeds about 6 weeks and then stops. I was surprised by that stat but once Logan was here and things weren’t going well and it was really hard–I totally got it. I understood why women would switch to formula. I’m thankful that the tongue-tie was an easy fix, even if it took longer than I wanted to get it fixed. ๐Ÿ™

      I hear you on the crying and emotions! When Logan was a week old we watched Jurassic Park. I’ve seen this movie a zillion times. I’ve always thought the kids were annoying and obnoxious (maybe it was the acting, who knows) but this time? I was getting joked up and emotional and kept thinking “oh my god! Those poor babies!!!!” Like really?? Why was I suddenly so emotional about it? Crazy! LOL

  3. Great that your job offers part-time for when you go back to work. That will be a little easier than going back full time. Logan is such a cutie, with a great smile!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge