After I gave birth to Aidan and went home, I was hit by postpartum blues.
Nobody – and I mean NOBODY – had warned me that this would happen. Some drama in the family made me weep every single night. I would burst into tears while watching a KFC TV ad during dinner, yes it was as ridonkulous as that. I couldn’t sleep during the day when Aidan was sleeping, and I was often up way before the three-hourly alarm rang at night. I jumped up at every noise that my baby made. And Aidan being my first child, I was overwhelmed by the amount of unsolicited advice thrown my way and felt inadequate as a mother.
Every evening, I would sit in the living room with an over-tired, grizzling infant next to me while I wait for the lock in the door to turn, signalling my husband’s return.
I didn’t know then what I know now: that it’s perfectly okay to feel that way. With the upheaval caused by a newborn as well as the body adjusting to being back to normal again, anyone would crumble, let alone a new mother who is fatigued, anxious and feeling helpless. The constant worrying about breastfeeding certainly did not help matters, as did the barrage of well-meaning but bloody annoying advice being dumped on the poor new mum.
Thankfully, I had the wits about me to realise that I was feeling excessively blue and took measures to help myself get over it. I started reaching out to friends, doing whatever it took to get Aidan The Serial Non-napper to sleep (on my chest! In the carrier! Boobed!), and getting out of the house for some fresh air. Even a quick trip to the nearby mall to grab lunch was enough to give me a sanity break.
At the same time, I knew that I did not require professional help because I was feeling in control of my thoughts and actions. But friends who have reached out for help have told me that KKH runs an excellent programme for women in these situations.
Right now, with my second child, I recognise the signs that I am about to dive into the blues again. I became tearful at the thought of my first-born feeling neglected by me, I was irritated by the husband’s suggestion of letting Zac cry it out in his bilibed (another long story that needs to be told in a separate post) and I was feeling taxed that everybody wants a piece of me. Plus, the never-ending histrionics in the family is not helping matters at all.
But it’s okay. I knew it was coming and being a second-time mum means that I am more confident of myself and my parenting abilities. I know that this too shall pass.
So if you are a new or expectant mum, please know that you are not alone. The postpartum hormones are awful, awful but it will pass. And if you don’t think it’s something that you can handle on your own, please do consider seeking professional help. I don’t know why nobody talks about it more but the fact is, many of us are hit by the blues.
Remember: You are not alone.