We brought Stella home from the hospital and I spent the first two days in tears, though I had nothing to cry about. I had a full fridge, a gorgeous new little one, a warm cozy home, loads of family and a supportive partner. I found myself in tears, not even close to holding it together, causing me to worry about the weeks and months to come.
A few days passed, and the fog lifted. She slept well, I took ample time to prepare so I could take a full month off from working, from commitments and from doing too much, and to rest. I spent weeks in my pajamas, taking in every detail of this tiny person who spent hours and hours in my arms.
A couple of days passed. The crying subsided, the sheer feeling of overwhelm that comes with a rapid shift in hormones balanced, and I was back to normal, to being able to drink it all in.
Soon after, we were in the car. Driving somewhere, though I don’t remember where, I remarked about how different it was this time around. How I didn’t realize that feeling the way I felt post-pregnancy the last two times, wasn’t normal. In the thick of it, I assumed it was normal to feel the way I felt, to be overwhelmed, irritable and not-really-sad, but not-really-happy – and I didn’t realize how incredibly abnormal this was until this time around, when I took the steps in self-care that helped to avoid postpartum depression, this far.
Taking the time to rest when she was born, and not doing barely anything for nearly a month, helped, I think. There were times when we were invited to do something, when family requested to see the baby where I said no. I said no. Without abandon, without guilt. If they wanted to see her, they could come to us.
This postpartum time, I’m calmer, I’m taking on less and though we’ve still got a full schedule I am taking on only what I can handle with a young infant that’s attached to my body for hours and hours every day. I’m saying no more. The combination of adequate rest, meditation, access to mental health care last time, creating and using a support system and learning to take on only what I can handle has worked magic and my eyes have been opened to what it should have been like, what it could have been like, four years ago.
It’s true what they say, you can’t see it – until you’re out of the fog and once you are, the future looks incredibly bright.