Are my feelings real? This is the question I would ask myself when the BLUES would hit me. The sadness and darkness are overwhelming especially when you have been blessed with a little miracle. You may be asking what is she talking about. I am talking Baby Blues also known as Postpartum Depression.
Of course, some people ask is this a real thing. Are you being dramatic? Yes, it is a real thing. No, I am not being dramatic. As a mom of two kings in training, I have been blessed with two healthy pregnancies physically. However, emotionally and mentally I struggled post pregnancy with baby number #1 and during my pregnancy with baby number #2.
After the birth of my first son, I felt myself not wanting to be around people and feeling sad for days. Then, one night my baby just wouldn’t stop crying. I was sleep deprived and couldn’t take it anymore. I yelled at my little one like he could help it. I was furious and felt myself blackout for a moment. It was that moment when my husband realized something is really wrong and so did I. I cried and cried. I couldn’t believe I yelled at my baby. I felt like a horrible mom. Which in case you are wondering, is pretty much the WORST feeling ever.
The next day I decided to do some research. That is when I realized I was suffering from symptoms of the BLUES or Postpartum Depression. I was devastated to think this could happen to me. I had been so excited to begin a family and take on the role of motherhood, that I never considered that there would be barriers to being successful in that role. This was all new to me and my husband. But with the help of my husband, we came up with some coping tools when the BLUES would arise.
Coping Tip #1: Recognize My Feelings. When you feel yourself feeling sad, scared, anxious, overwhelmed, angry, mad, or isolated, ask yourself why. Did something occur to make me feel this why? Also, keep track of how long you are having these emotions. When we allow these feelings to linger, this is when run into the dark days. You can been in the darks days and not even realize it. If you can’t recognize it, you can’t address it.
Coping Tip # 2: Quality Time With Myself. As a mom, your personal needs become the last thing on the to-do-list. I am the first to admit that I fall short in taking care of myself. My bestie, Petra, constantly reminds me that it is okay to have some ME TIME. I am a work in progress with this coping tip. Currently, my quality time is me in my bedroom closet with a large glass of Arizona Green Tea or outside admiring the pine trees that line our backyard. But “progress is PROGRESS,” as Petra says!
Coping Tip #3 : Talk it Out. Once I recognized my feelings, it was time to talk about it. My husband is my first point of contact. He doesn’t judge or look at me sideways. Those big brown eyes give me comfort to express my feelings. Thank you Mr. Simmons. In addition to hubby, I talk to my soon-to-be mom friends. I am an open book to them. I share my experiences in hopes it will help them if they are faced with a similar experience. Also, to let them know they are not alone. By talking it out, I am also able to identify other areas to work on or that I am excelling in which helps to propel me forward.
Thankfully, as time passed, the sadness went away especially after I stopped nursing my first son. It was as if I needed to not only identify my feelings but also detach in certain ways from my expected norm, ie breastfeeding. Let’s park there for a moment. How often do we pursue something or “stick it out” because it’s expected or just our personal ideal. It may not be the best for US but we still push for it? It’s is perfectly healthy to push for what keeps us balanced, healthy and happy as long as we honor God. We can be good mommies even when we have to go alternate routes.
Which takes me to what happened next, the cloud appeared once again. This time it was different. I was pregnant with baby #2. My hormones were already heightened and this felt like the worst thing ever. The dark days were even more overwhelming and gloomy. There were days when I hated my body and despised it. My husband would try to encourage me , but I didn’t want to hear it. Until one day, our oldest son told me he loved me with those big brown eyes. At that moment I realized, I have to get this under control. I had not realized how much my personal feelings were affecting everyone and I needed to seek help for ALL of us. I couldn’t allow the BLUES to control me without a fight.
So, how did I control my BLUES the second time around?
Step #1: I prayed and asked God for forgiveness and strength. My reading for courage and strength is Psalms 27:4 and Joshua 1:9. I read Psalms 94:19 when my heart is heavy. I read Isaiah 43:2 when I am overwhelmed. When I am anxious, Philippians 4:6 gives me comfort. God’s Word gives me strength because I know HE didn’t bless me with this family to be in despair. God is absolutely amazing.
Step#2: Developed a support system. My husband and I were blessed to have my mom move in with us. During this pregnancy, we had the needed additional in-home support. This was wonderful when I needed to take some time to myself or help around the house. My mom is a rock star, she worked a full day and still had energy to help me. She is a phenomenal mom. I am thankful to learn from the best. Another source of support was my middle school friend and sister Britnee and Krystal who were faithful to call and check on me regularly. I appreciate and love them for their continuous support. Good and true friends are amazing.
Step #3: Communication is essential. This time around I was committed to not keeping my feelings to myself. As soon as I felt the BLUES approach I would tell my husband or mom. I wanted everyone to be aware of my feelings and behavior changes. I know it sounds bizarre but the BLUES are real. Your mind will play tricks on you and make you think that no one cares or understands.
Ladies, know that you are not alone in feeling this way after your body has gone through major changes and adjustments to develop your precious baby. However, it’s important to identify the BLUES early and get the help you need so that you don’t hurt yourself, your baby or your other relationships in the fallout. Take the time to fight for you so that you can be the BEST mom to your baby.
It’s also perfectly okay to seek out a therapist if the tips I followed don’t work for you. It’s okay to ask for help, if you feel overwhelmed. It’s important to require time for you so that you can properly address your needs. You won’t be any help to anyone, if you retreat from everyday life. Share with your trusted girlfriends who can then recognize the signs and help center you when you spiral and stay in constant contact with your family who can provide immediate support and relief. The BLUES are real but they are not insurmountable. Take it one day at a time and know that you are NOT alone.
Sisteria Simmons is married to her love and best friend Henry, Jr. She is the mother to two kings in training Henry III and Harrison Luke. Sisteria enjoys reinventing delicious dishes for family and friends and being the best hostess and friend. She desires to promote healthy mothering skills and attainable goals for an orderly home.