May 6, 2016, welcome Jaxton Michael Andersen! Those first couple of days at the hospital are in all honesty a big blur. I remember being able to hold Jaxton for the first time, I remember kissing him all over, I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of love, I remember Austin crying tears of joy when he first held him, I remember all of this. The days and nights following that however, are all rolled into one. It’s truly crazy the effect no sleep can have on a person…
I think I should begin this post with a backstory. If you happen to know me personally, you will know that before becoming a mom I was a rather laid back individual. My worries consisted of when I would have my next “girls getaway” weekend, where Austin and I were going on our 4th “date night” of the week, or when Magic and Stella (my first babies) needed their next grooming appointment. Things were seriously rough (insert giant eyeroll…) The minute that nurse handed me my slimy sweet babe, all of this went out the window. I almost instantaneously became a neurotic, scared, anxious new mom.
Fast forward a few days to life back at our apartment, and the insomnia continued, day in, and day out. Eventually we began to live in a constant state of whisper and tip toe. It was one very quiet house for the amount of NO SLEEP that was taking place… Looking back, where I think I went wrong was not asking for enough help, and also speaking up and saying “no visitors please” in those first weeks. Thankfully I had family that made the drive up to see us, to help with both baby and taking care of the apartment. However, for me, this almost seemed to make things worse at times. How you ask? I’m really not sure. (I blame the flood of hormones.) What I do know is I felt weak, sad, and fearful all the time. I wanted to be able to clean my own house, I wanted to be able to make this baby stop crying, I wanted to be able to breastfeed him without pain, I wanted to get out of the house yet at the same time never leave his side, I wanted to SLEEP.
This continued week in, week out, until roughly the 4th week postpartum. I will never forget the night. My sister in law was staying at our apartment, she was assisting with all the housework and also taking night shifts holding Jax (as this was the only way he would sleep) only waking me to feed him every 2 hours. On one of her last nights I remember dreading the thought of doing this completely on my own again. My husband came in to ask me to come out and enjoy a movie with everyone. A pretty simple request. And I broke down into tears like I never had before. I remember saying “I don’t want to do this, I can’t be a mom.” And begging him to “help me.”
I had read about postpartum depression, I had been warned of “baby blues.” However, as the naive pregnant lady I was thought this would in no way happen to me. I will say, clinically, I believe what I had was actually “baby blues” however, don’t let this sweet name fool you. Baby blues feels similar, just doesn’t last quite as long as Post Partum Depression. I would say the deep feeling of sadness lasted roughly 2 weeks for me. After that, things in no way were perfect. Things got manageable. Our life was still flipped upside down, we were still getting roughly 2 hours of sleep a night, and breast feeding continued to be painful and stressful for nearly 4 months. However, it became a new norm, and slowly and steadily got easier. For this I am so grateful because those 2 weeks felt like an eternity. I am so completely sympathetic to those mothers out there who have to go through the weeks, sometimes months of PostPartum Depression (which is up to 20% of mothers in 2016.) It is a pain like no other to know you should be happy, to know you should be excited, to know you should feel a love like you never have before, yet feel little to none of that.
In conclusion, if you have a friend, a sister, a daughter, a wife who seems to be a little “off” in those first few weeks/ months offer support, offer patience, and above all offer LOVE. As the rule goes, this too shall pass.