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My postpartum story is still going on. I am currently sitting next to my little wonderful gift right now, six weeks postpartum. It has been a difficult journey. I never realized how hard it could be. But I look over at my daughter and I am so thankful for her.
I had a long labor to say the least. It was long, rough, and hard on me emotionally and mentally. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in college and had episodes of depression throughout the years afterwards.
I was so happy to be having a baby, something that my husband and I created that was a little bit of each of us. Little did I know that it was going to be so hard to form a relationship with this little one we made.
I was in a slow, arduous labor for twenty-six hours. I only dilated to five centimeters by the time my OB discovered I was now leaking fluid with meconium. After being awake for over a day, I was wheeled to the operating room for a c-section. All I wanted to do was sleep by that point and my mind was going insane with thoughts of what it would feel like, how even if I had made it to ten centimeters I wouldn't have been able to push because I was so exhausted. I just wanted to go home by this point.
Thankfully, my daughter was born without complications, but mentally it felt like I was on the edge of a cliff. By the time the anesthesia wore off I still couldn't help my husband due to being bedridden after surgery. I felt like a failure.
I didn't feel like a mom at all because I couldn't get up to help.
Holding her put so much pressure on my incision. I didn't have the strength and I was devastated. I wasn't able to do skin to skin like I wanted to. I couldn't breastfeed her, I'm formula feeding. I couldn't change her diaper and my husband was left to do everything. I felt dirty because I couldn't shower and I couldn't stand the immense pain from being cut open.
I was sworn off from having any other children and my OB recommended I get a c-section with any future children due to the slow labor with no progression and my daughter being big. Everything in the hospital made me cry and I felt like my husband had to take care of me and our daughter and I began to feel like a burden.
The first week was unbearable despite my mother in law taking off work to help the whole time. Everything made me panic, from my daughter not pooping for two days in a row to spit up coming out of her nose to my husband becoming frustrated with her when trying to figure out what she needed to one of my steri-strips from my c-section falling off.
I was a wreck to say the least.
I had the baby blues for what felt like three weeks but luckily so far I have steered clear of postpartum depression. Because I feel like I was a failure in the beginning, I now feel like I am overcompensating. I feel like I should do it all and don't want my husband to help most days.
But then there are days where I just want to strangle him and throw his Xbox in the garbage because he doesn't help enough.
I go from one end of the spectrum to the other with him and I know it drives him crazy. He finally confessed to me that he felt a disconnect with our daughter because he was at work and didn't know how to be with her and I felt like I was second guessing his instinct as a father due to me wanting to do it all. He felt unsure of himself in caring for her. I never realized that as hard as it was for me to gain a relationship with her, it was also hard for him.
I finally felt like I gained a good relationship and understanding with my daughter, but I still get frustrated. And sometimes I feel jealous because I wish I could go out and do the things I want to at the drop of a hat, or that I could do the hobbies and things I used to all the time and I feel guilty after wishing that because I should be here for my daughter.
We have had a few more hiccups just to throw my anxiety on edge - like, she began throwing up and screaming in pain everyday for a week and a half. At the suggestion of my mother in law and aunt in law, we gave her gas drops and changed her formula. The screaming stopped but the throwing up still continued. The pediatrician has said it's normal as long as she's thriving and not projectile vomiting but my mother in law is so persistent that something is wrong with her that it's driving my anxiety up the wall to the point that it makes me upset when she throws up. Now she's criticizing me saying maybe I'm feeding too much and I should scale it back and maybe she won't throw up. It's frustrating and saddens me to have someone make me feel like I'm not a good mom. My daughter eats fairly well and doesn't eat too much according to her doctor. I choose to listen to my daughter's doctor.
But no matter what, I love my daughter and she truly has changed my world. We are still getting there, but I feel better now than I have before with bonding with her. Sometimes I wish she'd sleep a little more but seeing her look at me and grin that toothless grin I can't help but love her more.
My husband and I need to get back on the same track, which will take more talking and hopefully date nights and getting back to the bedroom for our time together. Some days I still feel overwhelmed and like I'm drowning, I still can't imagine how it's going to be when I go back to work and I'm panicking thinking of that day.
I still have my sad days but things are getting better and I am trying to enjoy the rest of my maternity leave and being with my daughter. She is absolutely wonderful and I now am open again to having another kid in the future, despite everything I went through.
Kayla | Maryland, U.S.A.