What The Hell Was I Thinking?

About two weeks ago on a Monday, I had a meltdown. An honest to God, I can’t understand the world kind of meltdown.

The night before Baby J had cried for three or four hours straight. Nothing I did could soothe him. We bounced on the fit ball. We fed. We burped. We tried the Mamaroo. We tried the swing. I walked the floor with him. I sang. I massaged his belly.

baby blues

You name it. I tried it.

Come the Monday, every little cry or whimper set me off. When he started a full on wail and entered what I refer to as “the red rage”, I handed him to David and had to walk away.

Tears were streaming down my face and I was shaking my head at nobody. And then I thought, what on earth was I thinking having a baby? What the hell was I thinking? Why did I think I’d be any good at this? I’m a failure. 

There was a real feeling of regret. I truly wondered why I had gotten myself into this situation and wished I could go back in time. I wished it had all never happened…

Thankfully, this feeling was temporary. I cried for a few hours, showered, had a nap, and things started to right themselves.

Tuesday morning after a full night of sleep (thanks David!!!) I woke up, cuddled my little man and felt a hundred and eighty degree shift. I love my baby. I am glad I had him. I don’t regret my decision to have him at all.

baby blues

Post-Red Rage. A much more chilled out baby boy.

Why, then, was the feeling of regret so damn strong just one day prior? Was I abnormal?

Here’s the thing. Having a newborn turns your life upside down. It’s harder than any job I’ve ever had, including when I used to work 60-hour weeks. It’s harder than any family drama I’ve been through. As my doctor said at our recent six week checkup, having a newborn is like having a parasite (he has three kids, he knows what he’s talking about)! At this stage, babies take and take and take. There’s not a lot in return. So far the smiles that we’re getting are probably gas. Guys, babies are cute for a reason!

On top of the demands that babies put on women, and that mine was putting on me, the postpartum hormone imbalance is no joke. I would sob at commercials (damn you advertisers, and yes, I will steer clear of Superbowl ads!) or laugh at the most inappropriate times. In the early days after having a baby, they call them the baby blues, a less severe version of postpartum depression.

A few days after that day, I met with some girls from my Birth and Babies class to go for a walk with our little ones. Strolling two astride down the pavement, I confided in one that I’d had such an awful day on the Monday and actually admitted to the feeling of regret.

“Oh, that was my Tuesday!” she answered.

What came next was the most overwhelming sense of relief. Other moms in the group agreed and I was finally brave enough to talk to others in my network.

“It may have been the first day you felt like that, but it won’t be the last,” confirmed my counsellor who has teenage children.

I finally felt normal, normal for having such a bad day and having the kind of reaction that I did.

I wish more women talked about this. While we don’t want to freak out other mothers unnecessarily, had I known to expect such an intense emotion, I might not have felt so bad about myself.

If you’re experiencing baby blues, know that this is completely normal, but engage your support network. Consider seeing a counsellor if you’re struggling to cope, bring in friends and family to help, get some fresh air and be kind to yourself. This too shall pass.

Have you ever experienced the baby blues, or know anyone that’s been through it? What helped you/them get through it?

 

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5 Responses to What The Hell Was I Thinking?

  1. Karen Gallagher-Burt February 7, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Oh Victoria….

    So many times I felt this, especially during the first few month of Lucifers life. I recall after many hours of trying everything putting him in is crib and going and sitting on the front step of the house with the 2 and half year old and reading. I was just outside, I could faintly hear him screaming…..and I just needed a few minutes with the normal child. She validated that I was a skilled Mother, that I could raise one and be able to meet their needs. He was a challenging baby and it was okay that at times I did not like him at all. Maybe even hated him and his incessant screaming.

    But yes, this passed. As I write this his 25 year old self is in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher and making coffee. He has brought up the laundry he washed yesterday. He is not perfect. the laundry is in a heap in the basket. But he did it…..and he is cracking jokes about no coffee being made and the world coming to an end. He survived. I survived. We are all normal. Well, as normal as anyone in our family gets. We describe ourselves as the family that puts the “FUN” in Dys”FUN”ctional……And I love the bones of my Lucifer AKA Colin.

    Be kind to yourself……what you believe to be imperfections will help J know that he too can be imperfect….and that is a gift

    • Victoria Smith February 7, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Honestly, it helps so much, having talked to other mothers and knowing that we all feel this at some point, even though we love our peanuts to pieces.

  2. Mahrie E Glab February 8, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    Dear, dear Victoria – quite frankly I do not know of any mother who has NOT had days like this. I had twins. I can remember locking myslef in the bathroom and cyring. I was so stressed at one point that a neighbor took one of the girls and kept her for a week. Imagine – I gave up one of my babies to someone else. It was either that or totaly insanity! Good news – you are normal! Not so good news – it will most likely happen again. If David is not home to help, call one of your moms and babies people, call me – any of us will prop you up and help you get to the other side.
    Hugs to you and Jack.
    Mahrie

  3. Jo April 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    Hello Victoria,

    When my two children were born, 31 and 28 years ago, I had pre natal and post natal depression both times. And yes – it was horrible. Fortunately my doctor recognized this and put me on medication which really helped. I’m an artist, writer, traveller with a zillion other interests, and motherhood really didn’t suit me.

    It’s a case of finding the right support and help, and thankfully, these days depression is a much more understood mental illness and medications are improving all the time. Today I’m better than I’ve ever felt and our two kids are brilliant, plus we have gorgeous twin granddaughters!

    So just to remind you that it doesn’t go on forever. You have a beautiful boy. Get out there and enjoy him while you can.

    Best wishes,

    Jo UK

    • Victoria Smith April 14, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      Thanks, Jo! I’m working with my doctor to find the right dosage of medication, but it’s already made a huge difference. There are still low days, but nothing like what they were. It was nice to hear from the doctor that there is record of this in almost every culture around the world, but, like you say, that it does pass. Glad things worked well for you and congrats on the twin granddaughters! Thanks for visiting the blog.

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