19 June 2018, by Flora Isabelle
I still remember the first time it hit me. We had just returned from the hospital and as our car turned into the driveway, my Mother-in-law gleefully shouted, “Baby’s back!!!” and promptly opened the door, whisked him out of the car seat, excited to show my newborn to the rest of the family.
I took my time to “pack everything” and get out of the car. And when I say took my time, I really meant 20 minutes. I remember feeling this incredible sense of sadness about mother-in-law taking away the baby – MY baby – away from me. Even though she was simply carrying him into MY house.
It’s irrational. It’s unnecessary, rude even, for me to feel this way.
That was the first time I cried.
A good 20 minutes of unexplained pitiful sobbing in the car.
I then told myself to snap out of it (thankfully nobody noticed my absence with all the fanfare going on) and got out of the vehicle.
I would soon have such unexplained crying bouts over the next few weeks. I cried when my boy got warded for jaundice, I cried when my milk supply kicked in and I faced engorgement for the first time and didn’t know what to do, I felt like a complete failure when my baby couldn’t latch properly to my breasts, I blamed myself when I had to supplement with formula and I cried again whenever I had to pass my boy to my helper just so I can take a quick shower and wolf down four mouthfuls as lunch.
I cried in the shower, I cried when I was carrying and I cried again when somebody else carried him. (Cues immense Google searching, “Will my baby love my helper more than his mother?”)
It got better, thankfully. As my milk supply regulated, as my boy learned how to sleep in his crib and as I got better at being a mom on the whole, I found myself having less and less of such blues and throughly enjoying the joy and little moments of motherhood.
Thinking back, I think I was suffering from a case of emotional blues or what they term, postpartum depression.
It’s scary a term, dramatic even, and probably something that many of us wouldn’t expect to hit us. “A friend of a friend of a friend” had it, but no, not us. After all, we loved our child too much for us to feel sad – right?
After talking to a couple of Mommy friends, what I have realised is that, postpartum depression is real.
Almost everybody I know have felt some varying degree of blues and emotional roller coasters. That being said, they all now say that it is a thing of the past – what I believe, is that you first have to believe that things WILL get better. Things may seem bleak and hopeless but knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel helps.
In the meanwhile, hang tight, seek support from your friends and family or perhaps professional help too – don’t be afraid to talk about it. It is unfortunate that in our society, depression is still a somewhat taboo topic (though the recent tragedies of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain might have shed some light on the gravity of it) and I hope that by writing about this, we all know that we are not alone and that it will serve as motivation (and reminder for myself, when I get pregnant again) for new moms out there.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. ” —John Lennon.