Saturday, August 23, 2014

#RealMamaTalk: Baby Blues

Hello again to all my Mamas out there! I know I've touched on some things lately that have been borderline soul-bearing, but there's one more thing I want to talk about that...Well, it just doesn't get talked about.

I'm talkin' 'bout those Baby Blues. I'm talking about Post-Partum Depression. I'm talking about what is being called 'Perinatal Mental Health Disorders', or PMADs.
A huge factor in this is Breastfeeding Pressure. This link shares a study on factors for PMADs. I'm seeing a pattern as I dive deeper into this fun world of Breastfeeding Support, and Fearless Feeding Phenomenon: Moms are stressed all to hell. Perfection, the pressure of breastfeeding, and the guilt trips of formula feeding (along with the stigma), and overall lack of sleep makes us Mamas prime targets for our wacky hormones to get even more out of whack.

I'm not talking about this from the other side of the fence, either. It was hard to admit at first, but looking back on things, I realize that I experienced Post-Partum Depression with my first child until she was nearly two years old. One thing stuck with me, when I tried to confide in someone about the hopelessness and the nightmares. They said, "Don't tell anyone! They'll take away your daughter." So I sucked it up, and buried my feelings, and grew even more and more distant from my Beans. I don't think she really noticed; I lived with my mother for most of those two years, and she helped with the comforting parent issues. But when I wasn't with her, I remember things that make me want to smack my past self really hard. Like staring at my baby girl when she fell down for the first time and cried. I didn't know what to do with her; she was too young to understand 'you're ok, keep going'. Then again, it was my first baby, and I had no idea the options that were available to me. No clue. I also felt like a complete failure because my daughter was formula fed, had digestion issues (which supposedly came from my being on an anti-depressant during the first trimester, but nothing could be proven), and I still couldn't see myself as more than just a baby-sitter to her.
After two years, something just clicked with me, and she became my whole world. 

Here I am with my second child, and at seven months old, I've come to see that I've been dancing on that Baby Blues/Post-Partum line.
Was I stressed out and worried that I'd let Bel down because I couldn't breastfeed?
Incredibly.
Did I ever feel like I couldn't touch her, or no one else was allowed to touch her?
Not as much.
Detachment issues weren't something that troubled me this time, but exhaustion and the stress to be perfect is! And you know what? I still talk to my husband, and my friends, and my own Mama. I even talk to my Memaw, now that I'm older, and I realize she's got some of that old reliable, soul-soothing wisdom. (Even if I don't always follow it)

I'd like to raise awareness about how the pressures of things like breastfeeding, child-carrying, shorter maternity leaves because you can't afford to be out of work, unsupportive/misunderstanding partners can drive us Mamas over the edge. It's not fair to put us in the ring with our own minds, and leave us to our personal demise. It's not healthy for the baby, it's not healthy for the family, and it's not healthy for YOU!

Just remember, Mamas. There's always someone to talk to.
Talk to a:
Lactation Consultant (because post-partum stress can affect milk supply!)
OB/GYN or Midwife
Doula
WIC counselor
Pastor or their spouse, if you're close enough
Best Friend
Partner
Family Member you're close to

If you still feel like no one else will listen, start pouring your heart out in a journal, or on a blog. It's better to let it out than keep it bottled up to just eat away at you.
There are people out there who love you, and will listen when you need them to.

Be Strong, Mamas!