“I don’t want to sleep like a baby. I want to sleep like my husband.”
Trust me, honey, you are not alone!
Women becoming mothers is a treacherous journey that is beautiful but an uphill battle at the same time. There are a lot of things that are not talked about actually delivering the baby, coming home after leaving the hospital, the mental support from the father-that need to assure women that they are not alone in their feelings or experiences.
Women who give birth start feeling stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, tired or weepy — following their baby’s birth. Some women, however, start feeling anxious all the time that may lead to anxiety attacks, eating overzealous or little, & scared of being left alone with their child-this is defined as postpartum depression.
According to the APA, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression. And for half of the women who experience it, it is their first time ever experiencing any type of depression.
In a study that the International Journal of Health Services conducted, even though a lot of men were present during the delivery process, they were not participating after the births. 27-year-old Alyssa Bistany remembers her experience after giving birth to her 3-year-old son:
“During my pregnancy, my ex-husband never was affectionate to me- we were not sexually active during my entire pregnancy. I have always been a “skinny” girl- so this was a critical time for me as I was gaining weight that I needed to be reminded that I was beautiful. After delivery, he seemed to not be able to hold a job/ my security/stability of my child was at risk due to his irregular employment; hence EX- HUSBAND!”
30-year-old Shay Mattis referenced her daughter’s father lack of understanding of the pain & anguish she went through during her pregnancy:
“I wish my child’s father took my pains a little more seriously. I had a very rough pregnancy and experienced morning sickness, motion sickness and was only able to eat bacon, eggs, guava cakes, and cheese and guava pastries. Everything else I had to crave it but it usually came back up as soon as it was all down. I had a lot of pains because she was very strong and could give a hell of a kick. My child’s father always underestimated my pains and my cravings it only got real when I threw up.”
One thing that a lot of moms wish that they were told after having a C-section, is the amount of pain that they are in afterward. Renee Tobias, a 29-year-old said that she was in serious pain. “I had a c-section, and the recovery takes weeks. The only thing I could lift up on in the recovery process was solely my daughter.”
Mattis remembered her experience after giving birth: “I was in pain after I saw my baby and held her for a few seconds. I was knocked out on the surgery table. I woke up hours later in a room feeling itchy and weak from the medication. The only thing I wanted to do was bathe.”
And how rough is it in the first month after having a baby? Tobias says that it is a huge adjustment. “You’re up around the clock with the baby whenever baby is feeding. Feeding is typically ever 2-3 hours for a newborn, so it’s really hard to get a good night’s rest.”
Bistany agrees with Tobias: “Honestly, the first 3 months are the hardest. I tried to breastfeed in the beginning so not only are you getting up every 2-3 hrs to feed your newborn but you are also on a schedule to breastfeed. SLEEP DEPRIVATION IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT- and I’m grateful at the time I was married and my partner was very helpful.”
There are a lot of things that are not said nor mentioned. Somethings that Bistany wants first-time mothers to know: “No one warned me about the aftermath of having a baby vaginally- meaning you bleed for 2-3 weeks after giving birth. Your body is trying to adjust and your hormones are out the box. I had a struggle between sleep deprivation/ depression/ baby blues/ and trying to keep a new human alive! A lot of women that haven’t suffered from depression (me) are not aware of the signs that occur after having a baby. I didn’t realize that I was affected by depression and baby blues after the birth of my son and this is something that needs to be notified to your gyno asap!”
But moms, you’re not alone. With your feelings, your exhaustion, fears of motherhood, doubts; YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS! Bistany encourages other mothers: “Never doubt yourself- there have been many times that I have doubted my gut and my mother has always told me a woman’s first instinct is always right.”
Mattis also gives her advice to new mothers to seek help and/or advice: “It’s ok to take your time, to ask for help and definitely talk to other moms if you have questions, concerns or want to learn how to do something differently or that you think will be beneficial to you or your baby.”
Tobias states the importance of getting everything ready before giving birth: “Prepare as much as you can prior to having a baby. Quickly help baby differentiate between night and day in order to get sleep after the baby is born.”