Postpartum Feelings

If you follow me on instagram, then you saw that baby girl #3 made her arrival a little over two weeks ago! We are over the moon for our sweet little Eleanor James, and her fuzzy little head and newborn smell just make me all kinds of melty. Her entrance into the world was pretty quick and exciting; there is just nothing like that moment when you realize baby is ready to come. It’s nothing short of magical, really.

(above photo by Sara D. Harper)

postpartum feelings

Being that she is our third baby, this is my third experience with this postpartum period, and I just had to write a few thoughts. It has been so incredibly different this time around, in the most wonderful way, that it really sheds some light on the way I felt after Vivi and Brigette’s arrival.

postpartum feelings

Vivi’s arrival completely rocked my world. It was like nothing I had ever known before, and I went into a tailspin pretty much from the moment we got home from the hospital. I cried uncontrollably, at the slightest thing, and just felt despair over my new life. It was so unfamiliar to me; it felt like it would never become normal, that I would never “get” the mothering thing, and that Chip and I would never be the same. The sleep deprivation only made things worse, and we struggled with feeding for awhile. Even when she got into a good routine, I think it took me about 10 months to use the word “fun” and I didn’t truly feel like myself again until she was a year old. And then I really did have fun – and I truly wanted another. With Brigette, I had a similar experience, although it waned much more quickly and at about two months I stopped crying every day and began to just fall in love with the baby phase and realized I really do like babies after all.

I was dreading re-living all of this again, and the fact that little Ellie's due date was so close to Christmas also made me a bit anxious.  I love the Christmas season, and didn't want the extra feelings of missing out on all the things I wanted to do with the girls to celebrate.  (Vivi was born a little over a month before Christmas, and I feel like I was just surviving through the whole thing.)

But it has been immensely different.  That's not to say it's been easy (sleep deprivation along with a high energy two and five year old is just plain exhausting!).  But I haven't had those same feelings.  I don't feel fragile, like I might just blow away, and I've cried surprisingly little (one of those times being last night when I talked with Chip about him going back to work).  I've treasured the newborn snuggles like I have always wanted to do, and I've relished giving Ellie her little bath before bed every night.  I could never identify with those mothers who adored the newborn phase and cried with delight over the wonderfulness of it.  But this time I can.  And I am so grateful.  It feels like God somehow redeemed this time for me (as strange as that may sound) and everything just seems sweeter. Most of the tears I have cried have been over thinking about Ellie's first birthday and how quickly Vivi is growing, rather than mourning over the loss of "freedom" or self.

And I don't know why it's different.  Maybe it's the prayers of my friends and family, maybe it's that my body knows what to expect with this hormonal shift, maybe it's my perspective, but regardless, it has been night and day.

I'm simply sharing this because I know I'm not the only one who has felt those feelings of despair after a baby.  It was one of the hardest seasons of my life, and I didn't really talk about it too much, because I thought that was normal.  I didn't grasp fully that not everyone has that experience.  So whether this is encouragement for those of you terrified to try for another baby to say that maybe it can be different, or a little push for those of you struggling to talk with someone about the way you are feeling, I hope it is helpful.  And I promise that it will get better, even if it doesn't seem that way.



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