WHEN will I feel like me again - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-03-2003, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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3 weeks ago I gave birth to my DS thru an emergency c section. He is beautiful and healthy - a perfect baby. I had some difficulty breastfeeding due to my incision and pain, so I basically gave up with tremendous guilt afterward. Then, the night before I was to be dischared, the anxiety and crying started because I began to worry what it would be like to be responsible for DS without the luxury of having a nursery to send him to if he got too fussy (like in the hospital). The day I came home and ever since, I have these bouts of uncontrollable crying - anything can set it off. I feel like life as I knew it is over. I am a slave to DS's demands night and day. My days revolve around looking after his needs - one day blends into the next. I miss the relationship DH and I had. I feel that since pregnancy our relationship changed (no sex, etc) and now it's even worse. We take shifts sleeping so that we can each take turns waking in the night with DS. I feel like all I want to do is lose weight and go out and have fun with my husband like we used to. I don't resent my son AT ALL or regret having a child.... And I don't have any fantasies of harming him or myself. I was just very naive in thinking that my life wouldn't change so drastically.
I also feel like for 9 months everyone was concerned about me. My doctors appts, how I was feeling, etc. Even in the hospital after I gave birth there were nurses looking after me night and day. And now that I'm home - it's all about the baby. The climax (birth) has past and now it's business as usual and I am no longer the star. I find myself looking forward to his naps so that I can have "me" time. Then I feel like a rotten mother when I look at his perfect face looking up at me. How could any decent mother feel this way!!??
I feel so awful for having these feelings. I should feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have such a perfect baby, understanding husband, no finanical or health worries... and yet I am still so blue and weepy. The guilt for having these feelings too may even feel worse than the feelings themselves. Can anyone relate????
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#2 of 4 Old 11-04-2003, 12:29 AM
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I felt like that when my first was born. I never thought of myself as having PPD as much as having a hard time adjusting to life with a baby. I had been a nanny and thought I knew what to expect, but it's totally different when it's your own and you are all alone.

It was the first time in my life I wasn't working (so to speak: ) and not bringing in an income. I felt incredibly guilty about being home all day yet not being able to get even a single load of laundry done. Dh and I went through a real rocky time since my first was a real high needs baby and he would have nothing to do with my dh as far as comforting went. I look back in my journal and see what I wrote and can't believe I ever thought or felt the way I did. Life was just so different. I loved my son to pieces, but my true low point was an afternoon I spent crying and feeling guilty. I missed my old life. I missed even the simple things like being able to just run to the store to get milk if I wanted as petty as that sounds. As I cried on the couch with my baby in my arms I wondered if I would really be sad if he were to die of sids. I know that sounds awful. It was all just so hard.

There are so many things to get used to that it makes life hard for even the most prepared new mother. The first few months are the worst, but slowly, they develop their own schedule of sorts and it gets a bit easier day by day. It will get better. If you find yourself still feeling like this (or getting worse) in a couple weeks I would consider talking to your doctor. Something like 75% of new moms experience the "baby blues" in the first few weeks after the baby arrives. For most it will pass in a few weeks and things will start to look up again. If you go to your postpartum visit and aren't feeling any better, talk to your doctor or midwife. Before you do you might want to take the quiz in the first thread on this board. Print it out and take it to your doctor. It is a great starting point for a discussion with your health care provider. That way you don't have to try to remember everything you want to say, it's right there in front of you.

This is such a hard time, but I hope it passes for you and you feel better soon. Please, try not to feel guilty about the way you are feeling, it's all natural and you definitely aren't the only one. The guilt on top of everything else just makes you feel worse and compounds everything. Tell yourself that the feelings are natural and will pass. Most of all, make sure your dh knows how you are feeling, even if it is hard to admit. I didn't talk to my dh about it and anger and resentment began to grow because I had unintentionally put a wall up around me and didn't realize it, then I was angry when he couldn't read my mind.

Come here simply to vent if it makes you feel better, and keep us posted on how you are doing.

BTW, congrats on your new little blessing.
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#3 of 4 Old 11-04-2003, 10:39 PM
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gemgirl514, life as you knew it *IS* over. But that doesn't have to be a negative thing! Having a young baby is all-consuming. The good news is that as time goes on, those all-encompassing, must-be-met-immediately needs diminish. It will take some time, but sooner than you know you will be regaining some of the "freedoms" of your past life. And in the process you will gain a lot that you never expected to. I used to go to bars or movies with friends; now I have new friends and go over to their houses so our kids can play and we can have some much-needed commiserating and adult conversation.

As time goes on and your baby does more (besides eating, peeing, and pooping), you will probably start to feel like your life is fuller, and not just that you've lost everything you were familiar with. It's kind of like moving to a new city or going off to college -- those can be really hard at first, but you often find after a little while that life is much richer than it was before. With a child, you "rediscover" things you have overlooked for so long. Christmas becomes much more fun. When a 2-year old asks why leaves fall off trees in Autumn, you stop and think and notice all the leaves around that you glossed over for so many years. Toy stores, children's books, and nursery rhymes are fun again.

There are two things I would highly recommend you doing. First, when you feel your baby is ready to be out, get out of the house EVERY day, even if it's just for a few minutes. With a new baby the preparation for getting out of the house can take longer than the duration of the trip, but it's worth it. You have to get out in the world to stop feeling cut-off and isolated. Whether it's a walk in the park, a trip to the mall, or grabbing a drink at Starbucks, it's good to reconnect with the world outside. If you take your new baby in public, I bet you will feel like a star again, because absolutely everyone will want to have a look at this tiny and wonderful creature YOU have created!

Second, seek out mom's groups with moms you feel comfortable with, and seek new friendships. You may have to try a few to find a nice fit. Try to be proactive about forging friendships. Almost EVERY first-time mom finds herself suddenly isolated and without other mom friends. So chances are, if you see someone with a young baby, she is starved for friendship and company, too!! Or if not, you can join in with her and people she already knows. Hang out in places where other moms are like parks, children's museums, etc. Online friends can be a real blessing, too, because you can read or type an email at 4 am when you are up feeding baby, whereas you sure can't call someone on the telephone at that hour!

You know, I had a sort of a mini-breakdown when my DD was 4 weeks old. For unknown reasons, I went through a spell where I felt so fed up and angry. Here was this little creature who was demanding seemingly twice what I could give. Nothing I did felt good enough. I had expected to be such a great mom, and felt like I sucked. I felt wildly hormonal and like I wasn't in control of my body or life. From what I remember, the anger only lasted for a week or two, though, so hopefully your case will be similar. My daughter started to get on a "sleep more at night, wake more in the day" schedule when she was about 8 weeks old. That made a difference because I felt like my life was (slowly) returning to a slightly more regular existence.

Last but certainly not least, it is not at all unheard of to "relactate" -- and the earlier you try, the better the odds of success. If you would like to give breastfeeding another try, do not hesitate to look for a good lactation consultant in your area. IBCLC certification is a good indication that the Lactation consultant is well-trained (hospital LC's are often not IBCLC and frankly, not all hosp. LC's are that great). You can also get support by contacting the LLL group in your area. You don't have to breastfeed to be a good mom, but if you feel cheated of the opportunity and guilty, then you can always give another try! You'll instinctively know when you have given it more than your all - and maybe you've already reached that point, in which case you can trust that you did your best and begin to move on. But if not, consider trying again. The breastfeeding hormones are pretty nice when all else is crap.

I know for a certainty that becoming a mom is harder than expected for EVERYONE. There is the old joke that if women knew how hard it would be going in, no one would procreate. But the expansive feeling of your soul growing to incorporate another being makes it worth it. And contrary to popular belief, that expansion is gradual. You don't feel the full capacity of love for your child right away like the movies show. Like any other relationship, the mother/child bond cannot be hurried and will continue to grow and grow over time.

Hang in there. You ARE doing a GREAT job!!

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#4 of 4 Old 11-05-2003, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies, support and for sharing your stories. It certainly helps me feel like I'm not the only one.
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