Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Riding The Postpartum Roller Coaster

Yeah, so clearly, that's not the most upbeat of titles.  So...before I launch into the yuckiness, here: 

Here is my 2 week old little munchkin in all his 8 lbs 1 oz, 21 3/4 inch growing glory.  For context, that means that he has surpassed his birth weight by 7 oz and grown 3/4 of an inch and that mama's milk is doing its job.  And while we're on the subject of weight, I would like to celebrate the fact that I have lost 20 lbs and only have 15 more to go!  Woo hoo!!  And...yes, thank you...Dave and I do make very cute babies!

Well, those of you who have had babies will sympathize with me and those of you who are pregnant with your first child...you need to be warned.  Postpartum life can be awful.  Sure, I love my babies.  He's cute.  He's nursing well.  He's only getting up once in the middle of the night and sleeping 4-5 hour stretches around that one feeding.  He's very content and chill and hardly ever fusses.  I SWEAR he has genuinely smiled at me more than once. 

But none of that overcomes the hormones.  No one worry about me...I'm about 98% sure that I don't have PPD.  I just have what people like to refer to cutely as "the baby blues".  Not cute.  Blue as a descriptive term is entirely too cute.  A dreary grey is more accurate.  One day I'm fine and energetic and the next day I'm in the shower crying so hard I can't catch my breath...over nothing.  There are two loads of laundry sitting unfolded in my bedroom...I'm crying.  The baby smiles at me...I'm crying.  My mom calls to tell me I'm wonderful and she's proud of me...I'm crying.  The boys are watching TV for the 3rd hour...I'm crying.  Isaac is fussing through a feeding, latching on and latching off, over and over...I'm crying.  It's true that a lot of it stems from sleep deprivation.  That and hunger.  I have noticed that when there are nights where the baby doesn't sleep as long or gets up more often, I start the day off feeling depressed and it doesn't go away all day.  If I let myself get too hungry (and I'm STARVING while breastfeeding), I start crying. 

I know it's temporary, but it's so frustrating.  I just want to be back to my normal, confident self who is a fun wife and happy mom.  It's also frustrating because, while I have been hormonal during other times of my cycle, there are ways to manage it that are not available to me right now.  I can't control how much sleep I get and I can't go for a nice long run to get my seratonin levels up.  I just sort of have to wait it out.  And I never know what kind of day it will be...yesterday was very emotional and today is completely fine.  Today I could care less that I'm not the perfect mom cooking a spectacular meal and that I sat around all day reading and playing on the computer because I was too tired to do anything else. 

I also have a hard time accepting - or maybe, rather, asking for - help.  I feel like I should be able to do this on my own.  I shouldn't need people to come get my older kids for me so that I can get a break.  I shouldn't need to drop my middle kid off at a friend's house to make it easier to take the other two to the pediatrician.  I feel like I'm being lazy if I let someone take my boys out for a walk while I sit and bounce Isaac in his bouncy seat and read blogs on my phone.  I know my mom always tells me that just because I look healed on the outside doesn't mean I'm healed on the inside.  I know I need to give myself some grace about that...and also about how I'm getting absolutely NOTHING accomplished right now. 

I'm very thankful for my husband who has been getting up with the older boys (in the middle of the night and in the morning) and putting them to bed.  He's been going into work a tad later and trying to come home a little early to help me out.  He's been forgoing some things that he loves to do - like go for long runs at 7am - in favor of taking some responsibility for me while we adjust to managing three kids.  Today, he hired someone to clean the house for me.  He just listens and hugs me when I'm crying for no reason.   And then he pours a glass of wine and sends me outside to chill out...

I said before that going to three kids hasn't been as hard as going to two kids (or even just from zero to one) and that's sort of true, but I finally hit the main snag.  Time management.  THAT is going to be the tricky part.  The day goes by so fast that before I know it it's bedtime and all I can say I have done is feed the baby, feed the boys, clean up some toys and take a shower.  What in the world happened?!?! Where are cleaning, cooking and exercising (and eventually homeschooling) going to fit in here? 

So yeah...there it is.  Friends, you don't know how much I am appreciating the meals you are bringing and the company you are providing by just coming and chatting for a little while.  Thank you for offering to come get my boys out of the house and have some friend playtime.  Thank you for calling to check on me.  Thank you for offering to run to the grocery store for me. 

And now for a little more cuteness:

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