What You Don't Expect When You're Expecting [GUEST POST]
I didn't cry.
When you're expecting, you read A LOT of birth stories. Stories where new mamas have these amazing emotional experiences delivering their newborn baby. Being pregnant for the first time, I expected everything I read to happen to me. I wanted to feel overjoyed the second they placed my son on my chest. I wanted to smile wider than I ever have. I wanted that to be the happiest moment of my life at that time. But I didn't cry. I honestly felt no emotion. In that hour of skin-to-skin my hospital gave me immediately following delivery, I opened my heart and my mind, but no emotions came. Only thoughts.
Am I enough?
How will I take care of this innocent child when I barely know how to take care of myself?
What have I gotten myself into?
I stayed at the hospital for three days and two nights following delivery. Honestly, the whole stay was a blur, but one moment sticks out to me to this day. Around 2:30AM on the second night, my night nurse shook me awake because baby was crying. I didn't say it, but all I could think was, "can't you do it?" And then I remembered that was my responsibility now. That was MY baby - but I wanted nothing to do with him.
Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is no joke. They warn you about it at your pre-partum monthly check ups. But you know you're strong and something like that will never get to you - until it does. It hits you like a brick. You tell yourself that you can do this and fight it but instead are faced with deteriorating mental health due to PPD. It affects all women differently. Some women refuse to hold their baby. Some women isolate themselves from all their loved ones. Most women become anxious, have mood swings, and cry uncontrollably for long periods of time. I was the anxious one. I cried a lot. Luckily, for me it didn't last that long. For some women it lasts for a few months.
Five months later, I have a chunky baby boy that's already getting too heavy for me to carry. He is healthy and is sleeping. He's beginning to laugh and interact with us. Every smile that I see, every time he grabs my finger, every moment he's peacefully asleep reminds me that it was all worth it, that I can do this. I wouldn't have been able to get through it without the support from family and friends who were with me every step of the way. My son gives me purpose. He is a little ball of joy that I am blessed to wake up to in the morning and put to bed at night. I made it through.
To the significant other:
There is no way for you to understand what she is going through, and that is okay. Constantly remind her that you're there for her, even if you can't relate to the emotions. You must be the stability that she lacks in these times.
To the friends and family:
Keep up with that mama that you know. She may isolate herself; it may seem like she cut you out of her life. Even the simplest reminder that you are still there for her can move miles.
And last but not least, to the mamas:
Don't worry, it WILL get better. It's okay to cry, it's okay to feel the way you do. But I urge you not to hold it in. Find at least one person you can trust with your feelings and vent to them. Just power through and even if you don't understand the cards you've been dealt, you will soon; and you are blessed.
Megan resides in Gainesville, FL (go Gators), is pursuing a degree in nursing and currently works as a medical lab assistant. In her free time she likes to play with her son, watch YouTube videos, practice make up, and nap - but mostly nap.