postpartum emotions

Postpartum Depression Update

I wanted to do a follow-up post to this one: 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.)

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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.

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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. 🙁

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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!

 

Postpartum Body and Things

First, I am so glad I was able to work out for basically the entirety of my pregnancy. I’m pretty sure keeping that up helped me with the labor process and it most definitely helped with the recovery process.

Second, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how hard the postpartum stuff would be. Those first few days were really hard physically and emotionally. I blame most of it on lack of sleep. Every one said to sleep when the baby slept. Which I tried to do but still, was really only getting sleep in hour increments the first few days we were home.

Something I wasn’t expecting was how hard regulating my body temperature would be. I just cannot get it right! I’d be freezing, then have hot flashes, then be cold again. Apparently this is something that’s normal. The hormones and drop in estrogen can effect it and I definitely was feeling it. I’m hoping it isn’t something that sticks around for a long time.

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Breast Feeding

Nursing wasn’t going well because of the tongue-tie/latch issues and that was so hard emotionally and physically for me. I wanted nothing more than breast feeding to go well and when it wasn’t I felt awful. I felt like I was somehow failing and I was definitely being too hard on myself. My mom tried to help and she said it was okay, that this stuff sometimes happens and she had a similar issue with me. That didn’t necessarily make me feel better about it but it helped me realize that the priority was feeding Logan. It just took a few days for me to come to terms with that.

The lactation consultant we saw gave some advice and said we needed to supplement with formula for a little while because Logan had lost too much weight since his birth (11%, and anything over 10% was worrisome). My heart was broken for so many reasons. But once again, I reminded myself the priority was getting him enough food. We started supplementing, the consultant got me a super-duper hospital grade breast pump and I started pumping. Once that all happened things got a lot easier! Logan was eating and we were getting a routine and a schedule down. Within one day of doing this he’d already gained 5 ounces and was out of the “danger zone.”

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Once we figured this stuff out, it was much easier!

As for me, once we got this routine down and I was pumping a lot and getting more and more supply, and more sleep, I felt much better. I was recovering quickly and could move around easier. We tried to go for daily walks, weather permitting, and getting outside helped. Each time we went for a walk I could tell I was healing more.

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It is kind of weird to not have a workout schedule. Definitely a mind-shift. Right now I am focusing on healing and taking care of Logan.

Weight

My postpartum body was a little foreign to me. It was weird to no longer be pregnant. It was weird to think that this cute little creature was actually inside me. Then there was the weird realization that my body was in this in-between stage. No longer pregnant, but not back to my “old” self either. It kind of felt like my stomach had just deflated like a balloon!

I did get on the scale a week after he was born. Mostly I was just curious. I’d heard that you can lose something crazy like 20 pounds once you give birth and I was curious to see what it would say.

For the last two or so months of the pregnancy I stopped looking at the scale when I went to the doctor. I just didn’t want to know what my weight was and honestly, it helped me a lot mentally. It wasn’t the priority and I didn’t need the pressure or the “feelings” surrounding weight gain so I just lived in denial for a few months. It was the best decision for me. I still counted my calories, worked out, ate when I was hungry and did my best. It worked.

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When I checked in at the hospital I weighed 190 pounds. Icky number for me mentally. When I got pregnant I was 157 pounds. 7 pounds over my goal weight. So I had gained 33 pounds during the pregnancy. I was a-okay with that amount honestly! I was worried I was in the 40+ pounds territory so I was actually pretty happy to see that it had stayed in the 30’s–which was what my doctor had recommended for weight gain.

One week postpartum I had lost 18 pounds. Crazy. It’s so weird to see a “loss” like that. Eventually I will get on track and try to lose the weight but right now it’s not my priority. Eventually I will get back to some kind of exercise and I’ll try to lose those 22 pounds.

I’m not counting my calories right now, just eating regular meals and good food. I will start counting in a few weeks. Right now I am just trying to get a handle on being a mom, pumping, feeding Logan and getting rest. I will say this, though, I have had hunger like I’ve NEVER experienced. Definitely not while pregnant! It’s crazy how hungry I’ve been breastfeeding!

Emotions

Like I said, the first few days were rough. Sleep deprivation did a number on my hormones and I felt like a complete mess! I do not believe I am suffering from PPD, I don’t feel depressed or have any of the symptoms. It definitely feels like hormonal fluctuations. There have been tears, that came out of nowhere. But overall it’s manageable. As long as I get enough sleep. I’ve noticed that if I skip taking a nap or two during the day I feel the emotional stuff way more than when I routinely nap a few times. Knowing the triggers was huge and I tried to get more sleep to avoid this.

Logan and I went on our first solo outing this week and I saw my therapist. He did so great! I was a little nervous venturing outside–and driving!–without Michael but it was good, everything went smoothly (and he did so well I was even able to stop at Target on the way home for a few things, which definitely gave my confidence a boost). My therapist does not think I’m suffering from Baby Blues or PPD either. She said what I described was an obvious case of sleep deprivation and crying is my body’s way of saying “you need sleep!” That was reassuring to hear.

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Despite the bumps in the road and the obvious learning curve, things are going much better and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m so deliriously happy about this baby. Even when he’s having a fussy moment it’s hard not to stare down at him and just think he’s too adorable for words. 🙂