So I’m about to write about what I’m not supposed to admit out loud (according to society’s expectations). Here is my confession: I did not love being a mommy right away. There are still times I don’t love it (give me a break–he’s not even 14 weeks old yet!).
This entry is even harder to write than my birth story. But again, I want to be as honest as possible about my entire experience as a new mom. Without any exaggeration, I will say March 21 marked the beginning of the worst period in my life to date. Those first several weeks are still such a blur. I was in a lot of pain and could barely get out of bed because of it. I vaguely remember nursing, crying, pumping, changing bloody pads, watching the LMN channel on a loop and, most of all, wondering when it would all get better. I thought I had the baby blues but instead of getting better, I got worse. About a month ago, I finally broke down to my husband and told him it was unbearable. That was the only word I could think of to describe this new chapter in my life: unbearable.
Sure, I had moments where the old Emily would creep back in. I would crack jokes, text with my friends and everything felt okay. But she would disappear as quickly as she would appear. I wanted to grab her and force her to stick around. But instead I just felt so, so sad and wasn’t really that into my baby. I had an overwhelming urge to leave my husband and baby and just run away from everything. I cried every time I had to shower or get dressed because I hated my postpartum body. I cried when I couldn’t console my baby. I could see the worry on David’s face when he would catch me rocking a crying Brandon, me with tears streaming down my face. And Brandon is such an easy baby to console! But I just didn’t care enough to try sometimes. I just wanted to leave. I truly felt that Brandon and David would be better off without me.
I could sit here and list many other reasons I felt things were so unbearable, but I really just want to move forward. I think I have said plenty. Mainly, I just want any of my friends who might go through the same thing one day to know they are not alone and that it can get better. My very loving and supportive husband sent me packing to the ob/gyn who sent me packing to the therapist, and I have officially been diagnosed with the dreaded PPD. While I still have my rough days, things are getting better and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to some talk therapy, Wellbutrin and Klonopin. And like I said, a very patient husband, not to mention my extremely helpful in-laws.
A lot of people don’t know I haven’t been able to take care of Brandon by myself for more than a few hours at a time. It’s because I felt too anxious to do so. I am still having trouble with that, but I had him by myself for an entire day earlier this week and had the best time. And lately, I’m not as relieved and happy to hand him off to someone else. I realize I miss him when he is not with me. I feel like a piece of me is missing when he is not around.
So, slowly, but surely, things are improving. During my last session, I asked my therapist if there were some sort of drug I could take to make me nicer and would make my husband seem less annoying. She laughed even though I was dead serious. She pointed out to me that I need to give myself time to let things level out. Before, I was okay with everyone else but completely annoyed and resentful of my beautiful son. Lately, I’ve wanted to hit everyone else in the head with a hammer or throw them in a river, whereas Brandon is my sweet, precious angel who I just want to cuddle and bond with. Hopefully my therapist is right and I will soon find a happy medium because I really don’t want to be forced to hit any of my friends or loved ones in the head with a hammer. But goddamn if they haven’t all chosen the worst time to annoy me and do every last thing wrong.
Oh, one more thing–I don’t usually believe in fate or things “happening for a reason” but I find it quite the coincidence that my therapist also has a son named Brandon James.
This is a post for all my friends who have recently had babies, are currently with child or are planning on having children in the future.
One word: Squeem.
I’ll explain in a bit. First of all, let me say that, unless you are truly a supermodel or an insane person, no one likes their belly postpartum. Prior to giving birth, I ordered a Belly Bandit and a Shrinkx Hips. Because I had an unexpected section and my abdomen was very sensitive, I did not get to use these binders right away as directed (optimal time for postpartum binding is within the first eight weeks); however, the binders I purchased were approved for women with section incisions. I tried the Shrinkx Hips first, but found my incision was way too sensitive for it. I then tried my Belly Bandit and loved it. It supported my incision and, more importantly, my back. Anyone who has had a section knows that you overcompensate for your weakened ab muscles by really overworking your back muscles, resulting in a very sore back for most of your recovery. I wore my Belly Bandit for a while and eventually had to order a smaller one (yay!). The problem with the Belly Bandit, however, is that I could only really wear it around the house–it is pretty obvious under clothing and secures with velcro, which you can sometimes hear when you sit down or move in certain ways.
So I got back on the Internet to do some more research and found a mom blog where a woman had tried the same binders I had and then some. She raved about the Squeem, which I had never heard of. Apparently, it wasn’t as bulky as most and used hook-and-eye closures versus velcro. I placed my order for the Squeem Classic Perfect Waist, which is the one the woman had recommended on her blog. I ordered it from Amazon and tried it for the first time today and it is wonderful! It really holds you in and isn’t bulky. While I don’t think you could wear a skintight dress over it, I can’t imagine anyone who has just had a baby would want to! It holds everything in and feels great.
Here is a link to the Squeem I ordered:
Also, I would like to say I have two pairs of these and like them too, but they aren’t for serious binding/compression:
So that is my take on postpartum binding/compression products. If you are lucky enough to have a vaginal birth or a not-so-sensitive incision/belly after having your baby, start wearing these suckers right away, no matter which one you decide on. And if you are lucky enough to have a beautiful flat tummy after giving birth, I hate you and we probably shouldn’t be friends.