How I Overcame Baby Blues And How Husbands Can Help
It's been six weeks since I gave birth to our newest band member, our dear Damien Louie. As it is with any moms who had just given birt...
It's been six weeks since I gave birth to our newest band member, our dear Damien Louie. As it is with any moms who had just given birth and are going through the adjustments of caring for a newborn (hello sleepless nights or occasional even almost zero bath or solo time), of course I also experienced some level of depression.
This newcomer made me feel as if I'm again a new mom, nanganay talaga ako. I also breastfeed exclusively so I have to be with him 24/7. I have been staying at home since my bed-resting days (March, 2016) and for a full-time working mom, it's a major adjustment for me. How so? Suddenly, I have no one to converse with the whole day. I have very limited physical activities. I can't just go anywhere I want to go or grab the drink or food I've been craving for because I can't leave the house. Suddenly, I don't own my time anymore. I feel trapped and imprisoned.
I wanted to understand my psyche so I asked friends online and read articles from different websites. I found out I was experiencing Baby Blues and not Clinical Postpartum Depression (pero feeling ko bordering na, haha!).
To be exact, I was experiencing these:
- I felt exhausted all day and my incision wound was painful at times or I was exaggerating it already.
- I felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a new mom again and having to take care of my other two children.
- I felt guilty because sometimes I feel like I'm not giving enough attention to the new Kuya, he too is adjusting and getting used to being a big brother. He's used to being the baby and now he asks for attention, which he shouldn't be if I'm giving him enough of it.
- I felt stagnant and lonely because I don't get to talk to any adults the whole day or have intelligent conversations or coffee break chikas with anyone.
- I felt highly insecure because of the physical changes my pregnancy brought. I'm heavier, I'm darker, my hair's a mess, my belly pouch is protruding, I don't dress up nicely as I am always in house clothes which do not fit anymore. I don't feel pretty at all.
- I was depressed as I can't perform wife duties to my husband and I'm always yearning for his attention.
- I was more emotional and more sensitive which is the main culprit of my arguments with my husband no matter how understanding and how much he's extended his patience for me.
- I just wanted to cry. I felt like crying. I cried for several nights. I was crying inside.
Here were some of the things I did to address this phase:
- I asked for more patience and understanding. I talked to my husband about what I was feeling, my thoughts, and everything I was going through. He extended his patience and understanding some more, but admittedly because sometimes I was too much, he lost his cool too. But he suggested things or activities that I should do to help me with my situation and forget the sadness I was feeling. He helped a lot in making me feel better and in waking me up from this stage.
- I reached out. I talked to friends who also had just given birth and I felt like I had an ally, it made me feel better.
- I asked help. I talked to other experts to help me understand what I was really going through. I asked help from the yaya when baby's asleep so I could have a little time for myself to do personal stuff like do a little blogging, eat and even take longer baths.
- I prayed a lot. I thought of all His blessings especially our newborn and that there's no reason for me to be depressed at all. I asked for his guidance and strength, that I may get through this phase fast.
- Acceptance. I accepted that I was having baby blues. I also accepted that this is just a phase.
- I loved myself more. I recognized that the physical changes are temporary and I also can do something to make me feel good about my appearance. A daily warm bath using perfumed body wash and extra moisturizing lotion did wonders. I combed my hair and put up my hair in a bun to keep my frizzy hair away from my face. I invested in slimming camisoles and panties to substitute the thick and uncomfortable girdle and binder. I colored my hair when my OB gave me a go signal. I had a manicure and pedicure.
- I continued being a mom to my children and accepted that I cannot do it all and I shouldn't feel guilty about it as long as I'm doing my best to be present to them. I continued breastfeeding my newborn exclusively and surprisingly, it helped me lose a lot of weight which brought me back to my pre-pregnancy size and weight.
- I went out. I asked my husband to take me out (with the baby) for dinner or during weekends with the rest of the family. This helped me snap out of the four corners of the room where I stay everyday since March. Seeing a new scenery, seeing other people, experiencing things I don't do everyday resets my energy and feeds my heart well.
- Understand and be more patient to us. We're going through a phase, please go through this with us. Don't worry it's temporary. Remember, happy wife, happy life!
- Listen to us. We're overwhelmed with everything and tired the whole day. We may rant and feel sad. When we tell you something, we just want you to listen and empathize. Please don't say what we're going through is trivial because for us it's not.
- Tell us we're beautiful. Our self-esteem is at the lowest point. We feel ugly with the physical changes the pregnancy brought to us. We want to prettify ourselves not for others, but for ourselves and of course for you our husband. While we're not yet back to how we used to look, please tell us we're the most beautiful in your eyes.
- Tell us we're doing a great job at caring for the new baby. We're exhausted and we sometimes doubt if we're doing it right or doing enough. We need assurance and a pat on our backs. Let it come from you. Please tell us we're doing excellently in taking care of the baby. We need encouraging words, it means a lot.
- Help us with the baby. Carry the baby for us, he becomes heavier by the end of the day. Change the baby's diaper when you can. Play with the baby. This will give us a much needed break. This will give us time to zone out and just enjoy at least five minutes of me-time. That short me-time will refresh us and put us in a better mood.
- Be affectionate to us. We need your touch. We need you to hold our hand. We need you to hug us. We need physical connection not necessarily sex (just wait a few weeks, we'll get to that part again soon) because we still need to recover physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For now, we need you to touch us to reassure us that you're still into us even after the baby. Believe me, we want to get it on or get jiggy with you too!
- Put down your cellphone. Please connect with us first and the baby before you tend to your cellphone again whether it's for work or for social/gaming purposes. That would mean so much to us.
- Tell us how much you love us. We know you do, but we need to hear it from you. We need you to say it or express it, thee are a lot of ways to do that. You simply say those words, whisper to our ears, you can write us a letter, come home with our favorite food or drinks or run some errands for us. Again, happy wife, happy life.