Let’s talk about baby blues.
Before I was discharged from the hospital, the nurse had warned me that a week after I might find myself crying with no particular reason. They call it baby blues. It will be brought by my ever changing hormones because my body is going through a lot. I thought to myself that I am in a perfectly healthy mental state so that is the least of my worries.
The day I got discharged, my whole little family even drove to my mom’s. Elon, who was a day old then, had his 40 minute car ride amidst the traffic. I was feeling fine too. I even ate at my mom’s, entertained some guest who visited Elon, and then drove home.
It’s not bad to have ideals but you can’t follow all of them.
Never had I thought that the next day, I would already be feeling that baby blues. One day into parenting, and I already fell apart. I was crying because I could not keep up with my ideals — or people’s ideals about raising a newborn. The night before, I barely got any sleep. My boobs were sore from feeding Elon every hour that he cries. Breastfeeding became painful. Elon’s latch was perfectly fine in the hospital when they checked it, I am not sure what happened when we got home. By early morning, I was considering to feed him formula by using the back up bottles I had kept aside. I washed and sterilized the bottles and they were all ready when I thought I could pump and feed my milk to Elon instead. You know you will always have your ideals. People will have their ideals too about parenting. They will have opinions about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. They will tell you do not use pacifier, do not get this brand, this brand will cause this and that. The thing is, listen to them because they are not all that bad but you do not have to pick everything up that they say. I could not even follow my own ideals about the matter. Later, I understood that my decisions should not be based on these ideals rather it should be based on Elon’s whole well being. What is best for him. I might have read that pacifiers are bad but if I need to use it to correct my oversupply of milk, then I have to. If I was against formula but my nipples were bleeding, should I feed him milk with blood? Or what if I am not producing enough milk? Should I not consider formula then? Good thing is that I have an abundance of milk and Elon never tire of sucking again and again, trying all the time until we get the latching fine. Now he feeds well and good. This took us a week and a half to correct.
Do not be shy to ask for help.
I needed help and I asked help from people who have been through the same situation already. I have texted mothers whom I felt comfortable with. There were friends and some were from family. I found help in the morning of my baby blues attack and throughout the week. I was able to receive help from family. Although they were not physically with me, they send food, and whatever they can to help out. Food was the least of my priority then. I wanted more sleep. But knowing you have a good support system conditions your mental state of mind that you can count on other people in case something happens that you could not handle on your own. The good thing in Toronto too is that they have a call centre for when you have any medical questions. They have nurses ready to talk about your queries. It is a good resource for first time moms.
Do not be hard on yourself. You are doing fine.
By Monday, three days after Elon was born, I had to drive to the hospital for his first check up. Edward was working and I had asked my mom to come with me. I had to drive us three to the hospital, carry Elon’s stroller, and brave the cold. In my mind, I was asking why they would need to see a three- day old baby just to weigh him. The weather was not helping in any way too. But you know I needed that check up. I needed the validation that I was doing okay. Elon gained more than what they were expecting. Three days into the world and he went from 6.1lbs to 6.9lbs already. And by the end of that week, a week after Elon was born, Elon’s weight had become 7.5lbs. He is my little milk monster.
The first time is the hardest. It will get better.
The first week was the hardest adjustment. With no sleep and deprived of a proper meal, you will sometimes feel unhappy. Now I understood why mothers suffer postpartum depression. Baby blues is supposed to go away after a week but depression stays with you for a longer time. Luckily, I only had 3 baby blues attack. First was because I was not able to follow my child rearing ideals. The second and third was when I felt alone in this journey. My husband was only around in the evening and he will be tired when he gets home. My mom lives far away from where I live and it’s not like she can drive to help out. I felt that I was by myself raising Elon. I got over it after I developed a routine for myself, for Elon and for other things in my life like sleeping when he sleeps, writing and watching so I can relax myself. It helped too that Elon went from hourly feeding to 2-3 hours interval. It was like a miracle. He just adjusted his feeding and slept more at night and stayed awake more in the day. It got better by the day.
Although I am over the baby blues now, I am still adjusting with a lot of things. And I am sure you will hear more about it through this blog. The most important thing is to talk about your feelings so someone knows what you are going through to get the help you might need. Help is out there – you just have to ask.