How To Cope With Postpartum Challenges

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How To Cope With Postpartum Challenges

Have you ever felt like you loved someone so much that you could do anything for them? That’s how I felt when I first saw my baby. It was the best feeling I had ever experienced. There are not enough words to explain how I felt in those moments.

Yet, after my baby was born I struggled a lot. My baby was the sweetest angel – when he wasn’t crying. But, he cried a lot. I couldn’t understand why. I would change him, cuddle him, try to put him to sleep, feed him. And nothing would work. 

Even feeding him was a task. Every time I tried to breastfeed him he wouldn’t latch properly. After many failed attempts, we discovered, through a conversation with a lactation consultant, that he would always have a shallow latch and it used to be extremely painful for me. I didn’t know how to improve the situation but with the help of my lactation consultant I was able to learn strategies to help him feed better.

However, after a few days he still did not seem very happy with breastfeeding. I was in so much pain and he would get so agitated, so we eventually switched to a bottle. I felt terrible. Breastfeeding was supposed to be this great way that moms bond with their baby and I couldn’t do that right. I felt like a failure as a mother, or as if I had done something wrong. 

My partner reached out once again to my lactation consultant. She talked to me and explained that I was still doing the best thing for my child and giving them the best nutrition they could have. With her help, I started trying breastfeeding again. I was delighted when it actually seemed to be working and my baby was able to breastfeed without an issue.

But just when I thought my problems were solved a new one cropped up. He wouldn’t sleep properly. Sure I had been prepared mentally for those initial days of parenthood when I knew the baby would not sleep through the night and would be up all night. I had read that newborns didn’t sleep all night. But I wasn’t aware of the kind of toll it would take on me. In all honesty, I thought my baby would just lie awake and stare at the ceiling, but I was in for a shock. If my baby was awake and communicating, he would be crying and unhappy. This would wake me up from my sleep and I would have to shift all my attention to calming him down and putting him to sleep. 

My partner would take turns with me while putting him to sleep, and would make it a point to get up whenever I was awake. My baby would have uncontrollable bouts of crying at night and sometimes, only my partner’s voice could make him calm down. 

At such times, I would feel uncontrollably angry. I was the one who stayed with the baby all day. I was the one who fed the baby. I was the one who massaged and bathed the baby. I was the one who changed diapers and took care of him all day long. And yet, my baby would stop crying only for my partner.

I didn’t realize when all these issues started taking a toll on my mental health. It wasn’t until my partner told me that he noticed me being chronically depressed that I realized what he said was right. I was sure that my baby was perfect and that I loved him. But at the same time, I had cut myself off from everything else after he was born. 

I knew I would probably not be able to go back exactly to my pre-pregnancy life for at least a few more months as he was too little. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t do anything for myself. I decided to follow my basic skincare routine which always made me happy. But when I actually looked into the mirror I was horrified. I was looking at myself – actually looking at myself after so long. And I looked terrible. My hair was falling out, and my face had lost all its glow. As I looked at the rest of my body I was even more shocked. I had just not realized what I looked like in the midst of taking care of my baby. I had stretch marks and my belly was still swollen. I had started out trying to do something good for me, but after this my motivation and self-esteem had gone down.

My partner was confused as to why I was crying so suddenly. I didn’t know how to tell him, but when I could finally explain he was sympathetic. He tried his best to convince me that I was still recovering from pregnancy and childbirth and that my looks were not the most important thing about me.

Was everything perfect after taking therapy? No! I had my good days. But, I also had my bad days. My therapist reminded me it wouldn’t always be a linear journey and that there would be ups and downs. But they also helped me navigate through the difficult times. It made me feel stronger, calmer, and better. 

Having my baby in front of me, and having my partner constantly be there around, supporting me and being a pillar was my biggest motivator. I realized that motherhood is not always glamorous. And that was okay. The most important thing is to be patient, show yourself grace and remember that you are doing the best you can to take care of yourself, and your baby. 

And one message that I would want to give to all the well-wishers of a new mom is that while you give them your suggestions and advice, don’t forget to ask them to seek support from a mental health expert.

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