The Postpartum Blues + What They Don't Tell You About Your Second Baby
If someone would have told me prior to having my second born, that I'd have experienced bluesy days, I would have laughed at them. I was born to be a mother. I was born to rock motherhood and have babies. It was my thing, it's what I blogged about and dreamt about.
But I am here to tell you that no one quite prepares you for the fact that having a second baby can totally and completely flip your world upside down for a bit, even if you imagined that it would never happen to YOU.
Just when you start to find comfort in your role as a mother to one child, you get those exciting blue lines to let you know that baby number dos is on the way. You're probably ecstatic. Maybe a little scared. You probably ugly (happy) cried too if you're anything like me. And then you sat and at all the cookies because #eatingfortwo right?
Having a baby was never scary to me up until that baby actually arrived. Having a baby never seemed overwhelming or emotional until that baby was lying there. Having a baby never seemed like a reason to ugly (sad) cry...it's supposed to be ugly (happy) cry right?
You can read articles here and there about preparing for a second baby and you can purchase big sibling all of the cute (and over priced) "Baby is on the Way" books from the hospital gift shop, but none of it can prepare you for the unexpected.
There's no book out there on "expanding your heart for another baby" or at least I wasn't given one.
You see, my precious and perfect baby came and joined my world in a glorious birth. We're talking drug free, Kourtney Kardashian style complete with me pulling her out myself. Tears of joy streamed down my face because another healthy baby just came out of my body. She was here FINALLY and she was perfect. Heck, she even peed on me during skin to skin (total irony to who she is as a toddler too if you know her).
But eventually the craziness of after birth calmed down and I let them check her out in that little clear baby box, and I stared at her. For the first time she wasn't in my arms or in my belly and I stared at this little human who I had grown to love so deeply over the last nine months. Emotions flooded my heart and fogged my mind and I was so unprepared for them.
"How on earth could I love another human as much as my first born?" Didn't I already love her? What was going on?
My first born was my world and now all of a sudden I had another daughter to make my world as well. It seemed hard in that moment to comprehend that, almost as if I was cheating on my first born.
I hated myself for all of the thoughts and emotions that flooded me right there. I pushed them away and hoped God didn't hear them.
We were going to be okay, or so I thought, but heck she didn't even sleep a wink that first night (again more irony). But time went on and we had a short hospital stay that ended late at night (with a truck that wouldn't start -- again irony to the days following). I didn't want to leave that hospital. I wanted to stay because I suddenly feared going home and doing this mom thing.
You see, I wasn't technically a new mother. This wasn't my first rodeo. But in so many ways I WAS a new mother because I was now a new mother to two children. There were now TWO humans that I had to take care of, wipe their butts, rock to sleep and so on. It sounded glorious but in so many ways it sounded so freaking scary, overwhelming and exhausting.
I was scared. I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I would NEVER be able to do this. And I don't know why. Maybe it's because my heart was still so flooded and twisted.
I sat on top of so many emotions for a few weeks because I was afraid to admit that something was off. I felt an overwhelming fear that I just legit couldn't do this. I told no one. I held tears in each and every time I felt them coming out in front of others. There were so many times I wanted to cry to my own mother or to my husband and just say, "help me please." But I didn't because truthfully, they were already helping and I had to pretend like I had this. I was made to do this, right?
But I didn't have this. Raising two babies all day just was going to be hard. I mean, for goodness sakes there's TWO OF THEM AND JUST ONE OF ME.
So I kept the emotions bottled up and I just worked through it myself; I even pushed visitors away. I did everything that you're not supposed to do. I cried alone. I felt alone. I kept my mouth closed and I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't do that.
But I've moved on since then and thankfully for me, it was only a very short season. But it's still one that I look back at and hate because I wish I could make it different. But I can't because you know what, that's part of postpartum sometimes. It's a familiar battle that unfortunately many face.
So I'm here to tell you that it's okay. It's okay to feel these unexpected emotions. It's okay to feel like you're never going to survive this season of motherhood. It's okay to cry. It's okay to feel. It's okay to question your heart and to feel foreign from a person who you shouldn't feel that way with.
And it doesn't make you a bad mother.
That little girl that I looked at thinking I couldn't love the same, has completely stolen my heart. I love her fiercely and find her to be utterly fascinating. My heart is SO full because of her and because of the third child right behind her as well (and I was fine postpartum after my third thankfully). You truly just never know how your body, hormones and emotions will be following the birth of a child. It's not really anything you can prepare for or prevent.
So mama, if you're scared of raising one, two or three or 131 humans, I'm here to tell you that you can (okay maybe not 131). I'm here to tell you that YOU WILL ROCK THIS even if you cry a lot and even if you need help. And mamas, I want you to ask for help. I want you to speak to someone because it's important; don't do what I did and keep it to yourself. Don't be the girl ugly crying all of the emotions out in the dark hallway while her husband showers a few steps away and her baby refuses to sleep. Thank gosh he didn't walk in on that way, but man how I wish sometimes that he would have. Because then, I wouldn't have been alone.
But the truth is you're never really alone if you just let them in. There is always someone to reach out to, even if it is your doctor. There's always someone to turn to and say, "please help me." And when you feel like there's no one around, turn to Jesus. He's there and he's waiting to help you.
You're not broken, you're not a bad mother and you're not the only one facing this battle.
You were made to do this.
Your heart will grow and expand and grow leaps and bounds with each child you have; somehow it just happens. You were destined for this role that God so cleverly saw us fit for and you will fulfill that destiny even when you feel like you can't or you won't. You may feel like a hot mess most of the time and even years later you may still ugly cry for random reasons, but you'll do far better than you ever dreamed you could. And your heart will experience the deepest love you could ever imagine.
YOU WILL BE OKAY, I'm rooting for you. You were made to do this. Now, go ugly cry to someone and eat all of the cookies because #hormones.
*I don't use the term postpartum depression in my post because I was never diagnosed and quite honestly don't know if it was quite "bad enough" to be diagnosed as that anyway. It was luckily a short season for me that only was touch and go after. But please seek help no matter if it doesn't "seem that bad." At least talk to a close friend or spouse and go from there. Talking is sometimes cure enough. But there's always more. Lastly, my essential oils helped me tremendously after my third and I credit them to a large reason why I was so healthy postpartum. If you'd like more info, I would be happy to help.