Two weeks have whirled by since Rachel’s birth. It’s amazing how much easier taking a newborn home from the hospital was this time around. For the most part it was a breeze, until the postpartum blues hit with sudden intensity. We were released from the hospital in the morning and I was elated to be going home and to be able to see Josh again. But as we sat at the table eating the nice lunch my sister had prepared for us, the tears came and they wouldn’t stop. Throughout the next nine days, although there were periods of happiness and relative normalcy, eventually my mood would change and the tears would come back.
It’s really a form of depression, but they call it the “blues” because it’s only supposed to be temporary– two weeks after delivery or less. After two weeks of the blues, it’s then called postpartum depression.
At the time it seemed incredibly unfair. Here we had overcome infertility and stage 4 endometriosis, a subchorionic bleed, pregnancy induced cholestasis, and a preterm delivery –and how did it all go? We ended up discharged from the hospital two days after delivery with a healthy beautiful baby girl. There were zero complications — I couldn’t have even asked for a better experience! Yet when I should have felt elated by how well things went, I felt overwhelmed and depressed.
I only had postpartum blues for ten days, but trust me — every day my husband and I made it a priority to get my mental health back into shape. The first thing I did was exercise. The day I got home from the hospital my sister suggested we go for a walk and I found that even though I had just given birth 48 hours prior, I felt totally fine! So began the daily walks in which I listened to sermons, prayed, and just enjoyed the cooler fall weather. Even though the blues are gone now, I’ve kept it up and I look forward to my walk every day. I also read that omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 help with depression so I started taking those as well. Lastly, my family pitched in and supported me through it. My older sister called daily to check in with me. My mom made extra trips to visit us and we made fall wreaths and apple pie together and bought Rachel some baby clothes. My little sister visited on the weekends. They were all praying for and with me, and it made a huge difference.
I didn’t expect it, but the postpartum blues brought about some better changes in my life. My sister and I decided to fast from facebook for a while — at least a month. I’m taking time to pray not just during my walks but also while nursing Rachel. I’ve been reading more and really just enjoying a deeper thought and prayer life and less distraction. As I have been more intentionally seeking the Lord, I’ve noticed a greater satisfaction and contentment with my life.
Postpartum blues aren’t all that uncommon, but I guess I had a bit of a severe case while it lasted for those ten days. I can’t imagine the poor mamas that cope with depression for weeks or months after their babies are born. My heart goes out to them. But I’m learning again and again that God loves to stretch and grow us through hard situations– growth that can’t happen when there is less need to desperately cling to Christ.
So, now that it’s over, I’m thankful for the changes postpartum blues brought about in my life. And I’m thankful for these two kiddos!