*This is a collaborative post
On my eldest daughter L, I never had the baby blues. Being a new mum I was alerted to the dangers and the signs of the baby blues by my midwife and health visitor, which was brilliant. But I’ve always been a strong-minded, wilful kind of person and knew I would be fine. I suppose I’ve always been that person that doesn’t let things get on top of me. Instead of getting upset or down over anything I get a little angry or frustrated and determined to succeed. That was back then.
Today I want to share with you my experience of the baby blues and tips on how I overcame them.
Before The Birth
Leading up to the birth of my second daughter last year my Dad was sick. When I was pregnant with L Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He went into hospital and had an operation to remove the cancer. But at 86 years old he didn’t want to go through chemo or radiotherapy. It was his decision and we all supported him. His surgeon gave him around 3 years to live without any of the treatment. Dad was OK with this and wanted to make the best of his years left. For two and a half years he was fine. He loved looking after L with my mum when I went back to work after maternity leave. But a few months before I had my second daughter he got really sick. Dad passed away three days before I had baby Dottie.
This is when things started to get really hard for me. I had an emergency c section with L after a failed induction that went on for two and a half days. So second time around my consultant was adamant that I was having another c section. This was planned in months in advance so I knew the date.
As Dad was getting more unwell, my c section date was getting closer. I was getting very anxious about everything and thinking how on earth was I going to cope with everything. As I was on maternity leave at this point I felt grateful that I was able to spend lots of time with Dad.
When I got the call to say Dad had passed away, Mr B was with me thankfully and we sat down on the bed and I cried my heart out. I was always a Daddy’s girl. Mr B kept me calm, gave me proper bear hugs and talked to me. I know he was worried that I would go into labour.
I can’t remember much of the next couple of days, then all of a sudden it was the day of our c-section. I had previously made my mind up that this day was for our baby. I had to keep my mind on her and everything else. Luckily due to my previous birth complications I was first on the list for the c-section so I didn’t have a lot of time to think.
The planned c-section was calming and a wonderful experience. I was going to look into stem cell collection, but with everything going on with my dad I never got around to it. When baby Dottie was born she was placed straight on my chest and I just burst into tears. She had the most wonderful head of red hair. All I could think about was how Dad would never get to meet her and see her hair. You see her older sister is blonde, and Dad loved red hair. It broke my heart. From that moment I never realised you could be so happy and yet sad at the same time.
I couldn’t believe that my older sister organised my Dad’s funeral only eight days later. I didn’t think she realised to be honest how hard it would be for me. I could barely walk and every time I moved it felt like a stitch popped. But this was my Dad’s funeral and I was going no matter what. I popped baby Dottie into a carrier and she was asleep for the whole service.
What are the baby blues?
Well, after you have given birth, for around two weeks your hormones are surging around your body. During this time you can feel lonely, tired, moody and irritable. 8 in 10 women will experience the baby blues after giving birth.
My midwife was lovely. So helpful and supportive. She knew everything that was going on and knew I was struggling at times. She chatted to my husband and kept telling us to talk to one another to help us get through this hard time.
When baby Dottie was a few days old. For some reason, I woke in the night (wasn’t the baby this time!) and went down to our other bathroom and broke down. I’ve never cried so hard or so much in my life. Mr B must have heard me as he came and found me. I was like a broken person. A combination of the baby blues and grief was too much, even a strong person like me needed help.
How are the baby blues different from post natal depression?
The baby blues normally disappear after a couple of weeks. But post natal depression can appear up to a year after having a baby. 1 in 10 women can experience this, it is less common than the baby blues and can gradually appear over time.
Overcoming The Baby Blues
My mum lives 20 minutes away from us and doesn’t drive. Because I had a c-section I couldn’t drive for 6 weeks so I felt alone and isolated with a newborn and a 2 year old at the time when Mr B had gone back to work. Luckily he has a brilliant understanding boss who let him work from home a few afternoons a week.
I made plans on things we could do during the day at home and around the village we live in. I was determined after my breakdown that night to be there for my girls and ask for help when I was struggling. I was constantly on the phone to my mum at all hours of the day. Facetiming my older sister in Canada. So I tried very hard not be alone and had family support around me. My mother in law came over to do the dishes and sort the washing. All this helped very much.
Here is an excellent guide on how to help a new mum with the baby blues.
One very important tip I will pass on is to ask for help. Remember you are not alone.
I love these positive affirmations to keep in mind when you are feeling a little low.
“Looking after yourself is important as it helps you to look after your child.”
“You are a strong woman, and you can do anything you put your mind to.”
“You are and will be a fantastic mother.”
If your concerned that someone is showing signs of Post Natal Depression, encourage them to speak to their GP, Health visitor or call the Postnatal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS) – helpline on 0843 28 98 401
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have found this post useful in some way.