I remember those first few nights after my newborn arrived. I’d had an induction and spent the entire week in the hospital, half of it getting to and then in labor. I had her naturally, but had caved and used the epidural on the second day (I feel contractions in my back and it was just too much).
I was super fortunate to have an amazing midwife who listened to me when I pointed out that my baby went into distress when they broke my water, and pumped water back in, thus avoiding the c-section they kept threatening!
I would so have loved to have a home birth. But I digress.
Those first few days, after getting over the initial exhaustion of not having slept in over a hundred hours, were so weird – everything was different – it felt like I’d entered a brand new life even though I was in the same house.
I knew nothing really about detachment and living in the moment and meditation at this point in my life. I reminisced about sitting on the couch with my dogs, leisurely getting up whenever I wanted, going to the bathroom without feeling like someone’s well-being depended on whether I did it now or when they were asleep.
But I also had this other strange, dark cloud come over me. I would just sob and sob sometimes, especially in the shower when I was trying to finally step away from her and trust that she would be okay with my husband.
I did some research and found something that was NEVER discussed with me at all, at any point in my pregnancy, at the hospital, I don’t even remember reading it in the books I’d read: there is a MASSIVE drop in hormones after the baby is born.
The body goes through something HUGE after birth. Not only is it recovering from the physical trauma, everything that has been surging through your blood for the past nine months is suddenly gone!
So now I knew what it was, but what to do about it? Well, I also had researched soy milk a lot because I knew I would be choosing soy formula if I decided to supplement. In everything I’d found, I learned that soy can actually be a hormone regulator, adjusting imbalances in the body.
I started drinking more soy milk, tried to move more, get out in the sunlight as much as I could (no easy feat in the Midwest in February), and eventually I felt “normal” again. I still struggled with breastfeeding, but I didn’t go into depression.
If this initial dark weight doesn’t pass, make sure you discuss it with your doctor as soon as they can get you in. You may have entered postpartum depression and need help. Being a brand new mom can be so hard, especially if you are prone to anxiety, desperate to breastfeed, have a baby with an “always hold me” temperament, and ESPECIALLY if you have little or no support from a partner.
You are not abnormal at all. This is part of it. It’s not all baby booties and lullabies those first few days or weeks. It can easily be: “Oh my God, what have I done?!”
Especially for women that are used to always knowing what to do, super controllers and over-achievers, really any mom that doesn’t step into vulnerability much. Having an entire LIFE in your hands and crazy changes happening in your body, on top of being seriously sleep-deprived, can lead to dark thoughts, sometimes of despair.
If you’re reading this and this is you right now, PLEASE reach out or ask your doctor or midwife for resources in your area.
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