Today’s post comes with a heavy heart. As much as I adore my daughter, I will admit that I have been struggling for the past month or so.
I thought that since the first few weeks after she was born I was doing great, it meant that I was “in the clear” for baby blues or postpartum depression. Everything was literally blissful and great for the first three weeks of her life. Until it wasn’t. And it was like all my emotions and hormones hit me like a ton of bricks all at once.
I don’t have full on “bad” postpartum depression (and yes, I’ve seen a doctor), but the past month has not been that pretty. Despite all the “what to expect” type of articles or books I read when I was pregnant, the postpartum period has been anything but what I expected.
I share this today to get it off my chest and hopefully provide a realistic look for moms-to-be that I wish I had really known about.
1. Your clothing really will not fit after giving birth. And may never fit again.
I definitely didn’t expect to lose all the weight at once or be in amazing shape instantly after having a baby. However, despite not being overweight before pregnancy, not gaining too much during pregnancy, breastfeeding now, and being as active as I can – I thought I’d at least see some progress come two months postpartum.
I mentioned a bit ago that I haven’t lost any weight since coming home with Claire. I’m definitely not falling into the camp of breastfeeding being some magical thing that helps the weight just “drop off,” as I was lead to believe. Weight isn’t really the issue, though. I just want to wear my own clothes again!
Even my biggest clothing is jokingly too small now. I can only fit into pre-pregnancy yoga pants and non-form fitting things like maxi skirts. I didn’t come home and hope that my skinny jeans fit, but now I’m really starting to feel like they are never ever going to fit again.
I’ve already been told many times that “it took 9 months to get this way, so it can take that long or longer to get back,” but I find that comment wildly unhelpful at this time. The more new moms I talk to, the more I hear women say that their pants really did never fit again or that they were in maternity clothes for 9-12 months after giving birth. In my head, I knew that I would be different and that it would take time. I think I just grossly underestimated how different and how much time it would take.
2. You can skip the “Baby Blues” and get PPD anyway.
I really didn’t feel a twinge of sadness after Claire was born. I was on a total high after her birth for days. I was under the impression that if you were going to develop PPD, baby blues would come first and it would all be so obvious that you were developing PPD.
I didn’t start becoming sad until three weeks later, and when I did, it hit me like a ton of bricks out of no where so I was very confused as to what was going on. Technically PPD is defined as any episode of depression and/or anxiety within the first 12 months after having a baby, so it really can come at any time after birth.
3. You can get your period soon after birth & while breastfeeding.
Again, another thing I feel I was mislead with. I assumed my period wouldn’t return for at least three months or so since I was breastfeeding. Many medical websites even say moms who don’t breastfeed sometimes don’t get a period for three months or longer. I assumed I could be anywhere from 3-6 months at the very least without a period again.
I got mine back at six weeks. This was not only shocking, but horribly hormonal for me. In six weeks time, I had given birth, breastfed, been completely sleep deprived, and then had PMS like none other and got my period. Holy hormones. No one had prepared me for that and I felt like I was momentarily going insane. It also disrupted breastfeeding because of the shift in hormones, which was not fun.
Postpartum is such a tender time. The change is not in just bringing home a baby. The change is in yourself, your health (since I’m sure sleep is limited and nutrition may not be the best right now), your marriage and relationships, your hormones, and a baby. It’s easier to deal with any one of those changes at a time, but all of them thrown together at once? It’s no wonder that PPD is so common and we hear so much about the warning signs for it.
I’ve hesitated sharing more about this topic because it’s just hard to write about & I don’t want to discourage new moms, but I do hope to share more information on my postpartum experience in the future. I think it helps me to be able to write about it and if this information can help anyone else out there, it’s worth it.
Questions for You:
- What has been surprising about the postpartum period for you?
- What myths are out there that you think hurt women’s postpartum progress?
Please note that it’s hard to be open about a subject so personal. Please comment wisely. This is not intended as medical advice and is only commentary on my own experiences.