I was speaking to a friend, who is also a new mom, and we started discussing postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is so common amongst new mothers and they often do not see the symptoms. Becoming a new mom is so overwhelming. You go through these phases- grow a baby for nine months, give birth, and now have to raise it…it’s kind of a lot to take in. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a great support system. There are so many other moms who will go to bat for you and will be there for you. All it takes is that connection. So I wanted to write a little about my personal emotional roller coaster once I had Santiago and Sofia.
Since they took Sofia to the NICU right after birth, I was not able to hold her until the next day. It was so heartbreaking that I will never have that instant connection like so many other moms rave about. It’s all I craved. I feel in part, that is why my bond towards Sofia is…delayed. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Sofia and I do not have a bond because I truly believe we do. When they took Sofia to the NICU, Michael went with her. Michael is her protector, and I saw it from that moment. He stood by her side, watched as they had to resuscitate her, as they poked and probed her for vitals, as they bent her tiny little hand just to get a vein for her IV. I cannot begin to imagine the emotional obstacles that were going on in Michael’s head. I wouldn’t be strong enough to handle it. But Michael was. He was strong for Sofia. For all of us. I know that Michael and Sofia will always share such a special bond because of that experience and I wouldn’t want to trade places for anything because I know in that moment, for that period of time, Michael began to understand what it was to become a father.
Santiago on the other hand, stayed with me in the recovery room and I was able to hold him and do skin-to-skin. Although I was still coming down from the epidural, it was the best feeling ever. I will always remember how fragile he was, how warm he felt, and how I would lay his head against my chest so that he can feel the calmness of my heartbeat. Santiago and Sofia will forever be the only beings that know my heartbeat from the inside.
The first few months at home were all about survival. There were days that I wouldn’t shower, barely ate…and the obvious barely slept. Know that you are not alone. God made us this way because He knows that we are both strong and compassionate enough to see through this. Know that this is merely a temporary period in time. Trust me, the months fly by. I sit here in awe of how fast those moments went. The sleepless nights are merely insignificant in the bigger picture.
When I would hear Santiago or Sofia cry for hours on end, the thoughts of whether I was ‘good enough’ flooded my mind. I just wanted them to not cry. I associate crying with pain, and the number one thing the web explains is NOT to do that; but I do. Sofia had colic and would scream at the top of her lungs from 7p.m. until 10 p.m. every. night. It was so intense. For me, I believe the endless crying takes a toll on someone from the inside and could break even the strongest of men. It is known that a torture technique is to play crying baby sounds for 28 hours straight. Can you imagine?!
Ok, I acknowledge that I’ve began to ramble. The whole point I am trying to make is that you ARE good enough, your babies love and need you more than anything in this world. God made you perfectly for you and your baby. There will always be doubts and what ifs that flood your mind, but don’t ever think for a second that you need to look a certain way or act a certain way. What always helps me overcome those moments of weakness is their smile. When they smile at me, they can do no wrong. It is the best feeling ever.
I would love to hear how you overcame PPD and what helped you get through it.
Also, if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on, I AM HERE!
Best of luck, always,
Michael holding Sofia during week two; one of the MANY times he helped out so I could take a break. I decided to include this picture because I am in awe of how much a man can love his daughter.