Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What no one talks about

Confession: We've had a really rough couple of weeks. I've had a pretty severe case of the baby blues. It got so bad, that Ben had to take time off work on Tuesday to take me to the doctor.

Though I love my son, I haven't felt like myself since he was born. It's more than being tired or overhwhelmed. I can't sleep. I'm anxious. I hardly eat. There have been times when I've felt like a terrible mother, and that I shouldn't have had a baby. I've been profoundly sad, and even had some self-destructive thoughts.

I was so scared to admit this all to the doctor. But it felt better to get everything off my chest. He wasn't shocked or appalled. He didn't call child services. He listened and sympathized. He helped Ben and I develop an action plan on how to start feeling better.

The first step is to get my sleep back on track. Though every new mom is sleep deprived, we're working on a schedule that will help me get 3-4 hours of uninterupted sleep a night. It's OK (and expected) to be tired, but I shouldn't feel unhinged or unstable.

We started bottle feeding breast milk to help ease the nighttime burden. I'm fortunate that I have an exceptional support system in my husband and family. I'm learning to accept their help with a glad heart (whereas before I felt it was my responsibility to just do it all).

My doctor agreed that working on my sleep might be enough to lift me out of my depression. But if it's not, I may have to consider taking anti-depressants. And that's OK. Postpartum depression is normal and nothing to ashamed of.

Before yesterday, I felt like the only person who has ever felt this way. I was shocked by the number of women who have come forward with their own stories of depression, detachment and anxiety after birth. Though it felt better to hear other women had been though it too, it was also very frustrating to know more people can't talk openly about it.

It's my pledge to be very candid about how I'm feeling. I don't want anyone in my life to feel as alone as I did. Baby blues happen to many women, but when that sadness starts to affect how you relate to your family, your baby or yourself, it's time to seek help.

With help from Ben and my mom, I stayed in bed for 11 hours last night. I didn't sleep that entire time, but I rested. And today, I feel more like myself. I still have some anxiety that I'm working on, but things aren't so bleak anymore. I know there will still be hard days. I will be tired and I will be overwhelmed at times. But things don't feel as desperate. And I'm starting to see glimmers of myself again.


  1. Good job Sammy. Trying to find our way into our new lives is the hardest thing we ever do. I feel like I kicked and screamed and cried and stared vacantly through the first two months. When people have babies, I feel happy for them, but also a sense of dread for the next few months of their lives. I wish I could plop Milo in the car and come take a shift of keeping you company.

  2. Thank you for being candid Sam. Having a supportive family is such an important and lovely thing. I'm glad you're feeling their love and support. Big hug!

  3. Sending SOOOOO much love your way, Samafina!! I'm sorry you're having a rough time, but I know what a strong lady you are. Hang in there - a huge amount of people love you oodles and oodles.

  4. Sam, thanks for writing this. I'm not exactly stable in every day life and I often wonder/worry about depression in more intense situations in life (like when it relates to be a mom) since I struggle with it now. I think it's awesome and admirable that you are writing about this on the internet.

    I know we aren't super close, but if you ever want to go for a walk around the neighborhood and chat with our doggies (with or without a stroller) let me know, I'd love to!

  5. have the love and support of your family and friends! I'm so glad you're taking care of yourself right now and talking about your feelings. It's nothing to feel ashamed about. I hope you NEVER feel like you're alone. I'm here for you if you ever need anything. Lots of Love your way!

  6. You are amazing, Sam. I often look up to you (literally :)) for your strength. Admitting your feelings and asking for help is never easy. You have an amazing group of people behind you, too, that love you so much. I wish I was there to give you a big hug and maybe eat some Culvers flavor of the day together!

  7. sweet pea! i'm getting caught up on your blog. i'm so sorry things got rough, but so proud of you for facing it... you've always been so straight forward and honest, and that's what i love about you. i am guessing that as i read up in your blog, things get better. your thoughtful honest words are so incredibly valuable to your gal pals who may go through this very same struggle some day. xo.


Thanks for reading!