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Baby Blues and all that Jazz

on May 15, 2012

Oh, the Baby Blues.  Sometimes more seriously known as Postpartum Depression.  I always thought to myself, “it will never happen to me, I will keep it together, all it takes is some fresh air and sunshine and I’ll be fine, those crying moms are crazy.”  And then I had my baby.  And all semblance of a normal hormonal balance went straight out the window.  Along with my skinny jeans.  Nobody tells you that the simple little thing called the Baby Blues is nothing less than constant crying.  Like all the time.  Like hiding-in-the-shower-crying-into-the-tiled-walls-and-you-don’t-know-why crying.  It’s a powerless feeling of constantly being on the verge of tears.  It’s really no fun.

After I delivered our first baby, the constant crying (mine) had good reason.  Silly baby boy swallowed some of my blood before he was delivered.  It could have happened while I thoughtfully stood in the living room wondering if that gushing feeling was my imagination, or my water having broken.  I chose imagination.  Pure denial.  24 hours later, he arrived, and unfortunately earned a spot in the NICU for 6 brutally long days.  I cried in the hospital, I cried when I was released, I cried in my dinner, I cried in my sleep, I cried at the breast pump store, I cried before and after visiting him in the NICU, and eventually I cried when we brought him home because WHAT DO WE DO NOW crossed my mind 500 times.  I was a nightmarish mess and I am sure I was scaring my poor husband.  WHAT THE HELL probably crossed his mind 500 times.

But I physically could not stop the tears.  I cried at my 6 week OB check up and she tried to snap me out of it with a “you have a healthy baby!  he’s home!  you’re fine!”  and yes, that all made perfect logical sense, but I couldn’t squelch that knot that was lingering all day in my throat, my eyes threatening every five minutes to spill over.  In an effort to cheer me up, my husband sent me out to the store (a trip!) to get halloween candy for the Trick or Treaters.  Our baby was almost 10 days old and had been home for just 4.  He handed me a $100 bill and shooed me out the door.  I found myself in front of the candy aisle, depressed that just 10 days ago, people were smiling at me, my pregnancy obvious.  And here I was, 10 days post delivery, and not a soul in the store could tell what I had just been through.  To them I was probably just a chubby lady on the verge of tears, staring at some candy.  So I loaded up my cart, LOADED UP my cart, with every piece of giant candy bars I could grab.  I blanched when the check out lady declared “oh!  you must be having a Halloween party!”  When I got home, I carried in 2 of my 6 grocery bags of candy.  I stood in the doorway and my “let’s put on a happy face” husband came over to check out my purchases.  I walked back to the car for 2 more bags.  And then another 2 bags.  He looked up at me.  “Is there any change?”  I sobbed.  I think Oprah calls it the “Ugly cry.”  I had spent OVER $100 on Halloween candy for what would be only 14 Trick or Treaters.  Baby Blues.

When I became pregnant with baby #2, I figured, oh, I GOT this, I had discovered that some yummy food and fresh air and sunshine had eventually started to ease the hormonal horror show after baby #1.  I DECIDED I was not going to go through the Baby Blues again, I was an old pro at mommy hood, and nothing was going to get me down.  But then my husband had to leave the hospital to tend to our 2 year old at home.  And here I was, alone, with a little baby I barely knew, and she liked to cry, so I cried too.  The poor nurse came in to bring me water and I was mid-bawl.  I stupidly tried to hide it.  She asked me what was wrong.  “Nuh-thing, eh, eh eh, nuh-thing, Oh!  I can’t make it stop” and I lost it again.  She assured me it too would pass, that I’d feel better soon.  When my husband brought our 2 year old to visit mommy and baby sister, he had to talk me down off my crying ledge from his cell phone in the parking lot, worried I’d freak out our son.  I put on a brave face, but seeing our son pushed me over the edge and I lost it when they left.  When I was finally released and settling in at home, I thought I had the hormonal horror show beat, I was home, with my kids, and I knew what I was doing this time.  But then someone stopped by, brought our daughter a gift, and my 2 year old son dutifully kicked it across the room.  So I cried.  “I’m cheating on my son!  He hates me!” I wailed.  I was a mess.

You’d think I’d had enough.  But we decided to try for number 3.  This time, I told myself, would be different.  This baby was not a surprise, our 2 other children were old enough to be excited for a new brother, we were prepared, we had stuff, it was a good pregnancy, we were good.  I even laughed, “ha ha ha!  the hormones aren’t gonna find me this time!”  I am super funny.  And ignorant to the lack of control I have over the crying I do so well.  Baby #3 arrived with no issues in the wee early morning hours.  I held it together for quite a while.  A parade of friends and family made its way through my hospital room, and I was feeling good.  And then just like that, I was alone.  My kids were having fun at their grandparents’, my husband had to check things at work, and I found myself alone.  The nurse found me trying to change his diaper, I say “trying” because I could barely see what I was doing, my eyes were swimming I was bawling so badly.  “What’s wrong?”  she asked me.  “I don’t know!  I really don’t.  I swore I wouldn’t cry this time.  But I can’t stop!”  And that went on for most of the night.  I called my husband, hysterical, and declared it was time to get me out of the hospital and bring my hormones home.

My eyes were puffy for a good week after getting baby #3 home.  I was depressed, I was tired, and I was super duper sentimental.  I stared at baby pictures of my older children and wailed “ahhh!  they are growing up too fast!  I missed their childhoods! wah wah wah” and my poor husband tried to reason with me.  (I am a stay at home mom.  I really didn’t miss anything.)  But there is no reasoning with the hormonal horror show.

My sweet baby #3 was born at the end of June.  On July 1st, I cried.  “June is OVER!  wahhhhhhhhhhh!  We waited and waited and waited for June.  It’s his birth month and it’s over!  They grow up too quickly…”  I fully embraced the woe-is-me.  And then my 5 year old looked at me.  “Mommy, you’re crying again?  You don’t want us to grow up?”  He looked really freaked.  Yet he was very matter of fact.  And so I made a mental note to stop with the water works.  At least in front of the kids.


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