My Struggle with Baby Blues

I have sat down to write this post so many times, but could not find the words.  When I first found out I was pregnant I was over the moon.  I had wanted a baby my entire life.  I worked with babies teaching swim lessons and helping to run a day camp while in high school and college.  I babysat for several different families and always loved the children I cared for as if they were my own.  Long story short, I could not wait to be a mama.  It was literally all I have ever wanted.

In college I met the man of my dreams.  Stephen and I fell in love fast, got married young, and started our life together.  I had several career goals, but my over arching goal was always to be a mom.  You know the story already about how we met our financial goals, and about how we got pregnant.  Everything was falling into place.  The day I went into labor I could not believe that this dream I had dreamt since I was 18 was finally coming true.  I was going to have my baby, I was going to be a mom.

The first two weeks after delivery were a whirlwind.  I remember texting my sister my first night home with Ella saying I had no idea what I was doing, and how completely overwhelmed I was.  She, of course, understood, and told me that every new mom feels that way.  I knew I could do this, I would just take everything a feeding at a time and with the help of Stephen and my family we would figure everything out.  After the first two weeks, I started to feel like myself again.  Walking was easier, breast feeding was easier, Ella was sleeping well and gaining weight and seemed happy and I felt more confident everyday. Weeks 2 through 6 of Ella’s life passed in a happy blur.  

At the 6 weeks mark, right when everything was supposed to be getting easier and easier, I felt like a dark cloud descended on me.  I felt as if I was walking through a fog that I just could not shake.  The weather was cold which made getting out of the house really hard.  Ella decided she hated the car so even a quick trip to Target turned into a scream fest that left me either in tears or completely shaken for the rest of the day.  Even though Ella was sleeping well, I was not.  I was up every 30-60 minutes checking on her, or just laying in bed unable to fall asleep.  I was exhausted, sad, weepy, and just barely making it through my days.  The only easy part about this time was actually loving Ella.  I never felt as if I did not WANT to take care of her during this time, but the actual act of caring for her was becoming harder and harder.

This dark cloud feeling lasted roughly 3 weeks.  Three long weeks where I had no idea what was wrong with me.  I had wanted to care for a child of my own my entire life, and now that I was finally doing it I felt like I was failing.  Why was this so hard?  I found myself having selfish thoughts, wishing for my old life, wanting to go to a yoga class or go for a run at a moments notice rather than having to plan my day around it.  I also did not realize how sad I truly was until I was on the other side of this dark time.  

About half way through our trip to Florida I started to feel this cloud lift.  I was able to have some time alone with Stephen on this trip since we had so many “baby sitters” with us.  I was able to go for a run every morning, since Stephen did not need to go to work and could watch after Ella in the mornings.  When I felt overwhelmed there were other hands and arms that were more than willing to take over my duties for a little while.  I cannot overstate how much this trip helped me snap out of my slump.  Everyday I felt stronger, everyday I felt more like myself, and everyday I was more and more thankful that I was a mama.

We still have bad days here and there.  Just two days ago I had a major mama melt down in my kitchen related to breast feeding.  Being a mom is all at once the hardest thing I have ever done and the most amazing.  It scares me how much I love my daughter, but I realize that I also need to carve out time for myself.  Going for a run does not mean I am a bad mom.  She will not forget who I am if I need to leave her for a little while, and I am not a failure if I decide to supplement with formula.  

In my opinion, anyone who goes through pregnancy, childbirth, post pardum, and attempts breast feeding is a freaking rock star.  I am now three months into this journey, and am starting to feel like I can roll with the punches a little easier.  I want to start blogging regularly again, I want to ramp up my fitness, and I want to make sure I am still me, while being a mom.

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