You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others and as I research my postpartum depression diagnosis, I’ve noticed a lot of people using the analogy of putting on your oxygen mask first, then your child’s if there is trouble in the friendly skies. I think it is worth noting the likening of motherhood and a plane crashing- which has been my experience thus far as a new mama. It’s like I can see my life is about to be over and I’m hurtling towards my death and of course there is a lot of screaming and crying. Doesn’t having a baby sound fun???
If you’re a new mom and you’re reading this and you feel great and wonderful and bonded with your baby and feel like he/she is the love of your life, bully for you and I’m totally jealous. But as my therapist pointed out, Red Rasta and I haven’t known each other very long and he hasn’t been making a great impression since he’s been literally crapping all over me. Pro tip- wrap your baby’s butt in a swaddling blanket when feeding to avoid a bunch of runny newborn shit in your crotch. Blow outs be real bitches!
While caring for Red Rasta I am also making a major effort to care for myself. What that looks like for me is only pumping four times a day and giving him formula when I run out of milk for the day.
I’ve been riding my exercise bike when he sleeps or when Husband is home and I’ve been binge watching Strange Empire on Netflix which was so great I cannot even tell you how sad I am there is only one season. That show is the bomb. Bunch of bad ass bitches in on the US Canada border in 1869 just being sexy frontier women. Netflix needs to make some more seasons of that show for realz. A feminist western is just what every new mom needs.
There’s no end date to postpartum depression. It certainly doesn’t feel or look like I thought it would, I thought it would be me in a stained robe crying and not being able to care for my baby. But I do care for him, I change his seedy ass diapers, I feed him breast milk and formula, I kiss his little red head even though it’s getting all dry and nasty with cradle cap and his ginger hair is falling out. I clean the lint out from his toes, I file down his daggery fingernails, I sing him songs about his poop, I wake up from my terrible sleep in the middle of the night and feed him and put him back down. I buy him clothes and dress him and take pictures of him to put on social media. I make him do tummy time to strengthen up that wobbly neck head thing. Sometimes I laugh when he cuts a big fart and I have to ask Husband if it was him or the baby, because Red Rasta’s farts are just that powerful. But I never feel great. I feel sad and irritable and I keep wishing I was on a beach somewhere with a drink in my hand and my February 2014 body.
I keep thinking what a terrible mother I am as I let him cry a little too long before I feed him so I can grab my water and phone and the remote to settle down with the bottle for a while with him. I feel guilty when I’m not talking to him and just watching t.v. while I rock him in the Rock N’ Play him and make faces intermittently so I don’t feel like I’m totally neglectful. I hate how annoyed I get when he wakes up when I’ve just started my ab recovery exercises. I hate how I can’t stop eating sweets and I don’t even want to. Now I know why some people can’t lose the baby weight. Who cares about weight when you’re trying to survive? When you’re so tired and an organic pop tart tastes so good with your Mother’s milk tea. I hate how I want to give up the pumping and that I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up even just four times a day. I hate how resentful I am of my wonderful husband because he bounces out every day and goes to work and I feel abandoned. I hate that my posts aren’t even funny anymore because I’m Les Miserables, but in the interest of new mamas everywhere who might be feeling like I’m feeling and thinking, oh these feelings are normal, I don’t have PPD. You might. Check in with your doctor. Even if it’s past the 6 week postpartum check up. Even if you think you’re fine and just a real irritable mamabitch, you might could have a little PPD.
I’m taking a prescription folic acid supplement that is supposed to help with mood and I’m making sure I take a walk every day and ride the exercise bike for 45 minutes. I’m telling friends to stop by if they want to see the baby. I begged money from my pops so we could have the night nanny twice a week for just a couple more weeks until he starts consistently sleeping longer stretches as he gains weight and I’m back in therapy once a week.
My mask is on bitches, let’s just hope this plane isn’t actually going down.