Facing the Dark Cloud: Recognizing the Signs of the Post-Baby Blues

With 3 kids, 3 years of age and under, I am often told “I don’t know how you do it.” Or, “I don’t know how you get anything done.”  Truthfully, sometimes I can’t do it and a LOT of times, I really don’t get anything done.

My kids are always healthy and happy but my house being upside down and laundry undefeatable has become the norm.  Shudder.

As I savour every snuggle during my maternity leave with my third, sweet baby, I find myself at peace and happy for the majority of the time.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be home with my little ones and cuddle with them, play with them and watch them learn and grow.  But other times, I feel myself struggling.  Struggling to keep up. Struggling to get up.  Struggling to smile and push through the day.  Struggling to be the mommy that I want to be and that my beautiful babies deserve.

I find myself feeling anxious.  And overwhelmed.  And frustrated.  I feel torn.  There is only one of me and enough housework for an entire team of people.  I feel guilty for sitting my kids in front of a colouring book or television show so that I can try to tackle my laundry mountain in peace.  I feel equally guilty when I neglect the laundry mountain or pile of dishes in the sink to play all day.

My struggle is very real and can feel very dark.  I feel numb.  I feel like I’m failing.  During my darkest times, I find myself starting all kinds of tasks but finishing nothing.  I roll into bed exhausted and run off my feet at the end of the day, knowing that I’ve been so busy but haven’t accomplished anything.   I find myself tuning out as my 3 year old is talking to me because my mind is racing with all sorts of thoughts.  I find the days flying by before I have a chance to even look at my “to do” list.  And yet, on these days, it always seems so long until nap time and then bedtime when I can have a break.

I’m not proud of my dark moments.  On those days I find myself lacking patience, clarity and energy.  I find myself snapping at my 2 year old simply for acting the way that a 2 year old acts or asking my 3 year old to stop asking so many questions when I am normally in awe of her thirst for knowledge and enthralled by her sense of wonder. I find myself forgetting to eat and exhausted of being so needed.  I also find it impossible to think straight or accomplish much on little to no sleep.  

I just want to be alone.  I just want to sleep.  I just the house to be clean.  I just want to understand why I’m so happy yet feel so drained and depleted.  I feel so needy.  Like I need to be constantly reassured that I’m doing well, that I’m loved and that it’s going to be okay.  I find myself struggling to forgive myself for being impatient, for snapping and for not enjoying every second of my little ones being little.  The guilt overwhelms me.  Worst of all, even though I feel like all I need is a good night’s sleep so that I can tackle the next day with a clear head, I find myself wide awake watching the hours roll by in the middle of the night as I tackle a million thoughts all at once.

Yesterday, I told myself that today would be better.  I was going to fix me today.   I couldn’t wait until the kids were out of the house so I could get caught up.  I was also going to mention my dark days to my doctor at my 6 week postpartum exam this afternoon and get some professional insight. I was ready.  And then my doctor’s office called and cancelled my appointment and it was enough to break me right down into pieces.  I needed that appointment today.  I was ready to tackle this beast and get the help that I need.  I now find myself staring at my laundry heap in a pool of my own tears for no real reason at all besides today being yet another day that didn’t go as planned in my head in the wee hours of the morning.

I don’t know why I’m feeling the way that I do.  I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know if this is just normal, post-Christmas/baby blues or if it is something more like postpartum depression & anxiety.  I have no idea.  But I am going to find out.  I am aware that I need help.  And I will be seeking help.  From my doctor.  From my family.  From my friends.  From complete strangers who might read this and have some tips or words of encouragement  for getting through this cloudy time.  It is so confusing to be so happy and content but at the same time feel so lost, overwhelmed and down.  It’s frustrating and exhausting.  And a little bit embarrassing.

For now, I’m leaving my jumble of thoughts here.  To hold myself accountable. To be honest and raw.  To get whatever this is off of my chest so I can breathe and push forward.  To let other moms who might be feeling the same way know that they aren’t alone in their feelings and that we will get through whatever this is, together.

Much Love. Xo

4 thoughts on “Facing the Dark Cloud: Recognizing the Signs of the Post-Baby Blues

  1. breannamcawesome says:

    I think the fact that you’re willing (and desiring) to seek help is amazing. It took me three months to get myself help, and I was patting myself on my back for it.
    If it helps, it’s a sign of a good Mama when she’s able to recognize something as serious as this, because that’s putting your babies first. It may not feel like it right now. Right now you may think you’re being selfish for focusing on yourself, but being stable and happy is good for your kiddos.
    I hope you can see your doctor soon! I have no doubt you’re an excellent Mama and your children think so as well (even if you just want ten minutes of peace sometimes).

    Like

  2. Rachel says:

    Well said! It’s hard trying to balance everything. I too was a mom of 3 under 3 (my oldest was 2.5 when my youngest was born) and it’s impossible getting anything done. I felt like I was always yelling and felt like a terrible mother and a terrible parent. I’m so proud of you for being able to talk about it!! Big hugs! It does get better as they get older, then worse, then better… And so on haha. You got this!!

    Like

    • andbabymakes3imean4 says:

      LOL. If anyone can relate, it’s you! While I don’t like to hear of anyone struggling, it is certainly comforting to know I’m not the only one going through these hard times. Love the “better then worse then better”. Sooo true! It’s a roller coaster for sure. Thank you so much for reaching out! 🙂

      Like

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