Monday, October 17, 2011

the weepies

The exhaustion? Yes, I expected it. The physical discomforts associated with recovering from childbirth? Yes, to some extent, I knew what I was in for. The emotions? Well, I expected tears when the baby was born and maybe a few stress-induced breakdowns later on. But oh my goodness, I was not at all prepared for this emotional roller coaster I've been on for a month now. Will I ever stop weeping?

The tears began during my last week of pregnancy. Change was imminent. I wept during Mason's birth and I haven't stopped joyfully crying since then. I was a hot mess the day we came home from the hospital. The nurse who wheeled Mason and me to the car patted my shoulder and gently said, "It's okay, honey. We've all been there."

A nurse from my fertility doctor called me 10 days after Mason arrived. I hadn't communicated with them since they released me to my OB in early February, and she was calling to follow up. When she identified herself on the phone, I could barely choke out the words, "We have a son!"

Children's movies have always made me cry, and now I'm finding that children's books do, too. What new mother can keep her eyes dry when reading a book that begins like this:
"A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."
Losing it while reading Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is understandable. But why do I weep when reading Big Red Barn?

Mason looks so different now than he did a month ago. His cheeks are fuller and his hair is thicker. He's bigger and more alert. He's a great eater and a pretty good sleeper. He likes a schedule. These are all good things. So why does his growing up twist my heart so painfully? I finally gave in last week and moved him from newborn to size 1 diapers, something I probably should have done the week before. Of course, afterward, I was thankful for fewer leaks, but guess what? I wept.

I knew it would, but it's all going by so fast. Too fast.

Do I have a case of the baby blues? I don't feel blue, though. I feel so happy and thankful and grateful. And, at times, so fragile, and like I still can't quite believe that this all worked out and Mason is really here.

Experienced mamas, do tell . . .  is this just a stage? Or should I expect to weep for the rest of my life?


diana onorio funk said...

oh honey! the answer is yes... and no. this is part of being a mom.. having a piece of your heart be outside of you, forever. and i think (in my opinion) that this phenomenon might even be more pronounced when you've struggled to become a mom, as you and i both did. you'll be surprised by the things that will make you cry. seeing madeleine's bike set up for her the night before her 5th birthday last week? made me burst into tears. it's all happening so fast! i swear i just brought her home from the hospital yesterday! i think this is one of the most surprising aspects of parenthood... how utterly unprepared you are for the enormity of it all. but it makes the experience richer, i think. enjoy every second of it... i'm so thrilled for you! xo

Caitlin said...

I agree with the yes and no. After a few more weeks/months the constant emotional upheaval lessons. To some extent, I think exhaustion just compounds that. I still cry much more easily than I did before Emerson was born and I'm much more sensitive to anything involving children. Sounds very normal to me!

Aimee Olivo said...

Yes, my friend, yes! (But probably not quite so much as now!) One thing that has surprised me lately is that I get very weepy seeing pictures of my nephew in Lucas and Nathaniel's hand-me-down clothes! Obviously I happily passed them down to him but I get very emotional seeing him in them and realizing how recently Lucas and Nathaniel were that size and how big they are now! The fun part, though, is that each new stage brings So. Much. Joy. that even though you are sad for the stage that just passed, what's coming next is also awesome!!!

Amy Hill said...

I love what everyone has said already. Totally true. I think the constant weepiness will lesson as the hormones even out. The hormones really make things kind of crazy. I remember crying while watching my first baby sleeping in her crib thinking about how fast she was already growing up. I've cried rocking them to sleep the night of their first birthdays (that one is a real toughy). It's wonderful and joyful and goes too fast and being weepy is totally normal. I'm so glad you are all doing well. I love hearing about your motherhood experiences!

emmy said...

Dr. Blondie, I don't know much about you other than what I read here on this post, so consider me the village idiot. But like any fool, I'm going to speak. Since you went through fertility treatments, I'm assuming that you are already familiar with hormonal storms. That is the most likely cause of your weepiness. But you really should discuss it with your ob-gyn during your follow-up visit. It's possible that you are younger than a couple of my children, but I can tell you that postpartum depression is real, and it is physical not mental.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I'm not a moma but I know this is normal. All your hormones are just wonky and adjusting. Not to mention the lack of sleep. Very technical terms of course. Give yourself time. Plus, I think if you start out as a generally emotional person, having a child only increases that trait.

@rdweatherly said...

According to my mom, time slowed down to a near stop when we became teenagers and she thought it would never end. ;)

I remember my mom being weepy after Sara Katherine was born. Sometimes, it was understandable, and at others I thought she'd lost her mind.

I guess the trick for you will be knowing when/if you cross over from normal hormone upheaval to something more sinister. I have way more experience with depression than post-pregnancy hormones, although perimenopausal hormones are being a real bitch. I'll share my two cents on telling the difference.

First, trust Brad. He'll see changes in you, and you need an agreement between you that if he tells you it's time to talk to the doc that you'll go together even if you think he's the crazy one.

Second, normal is an occasional interruption in regular routine. Weeping over reading a book isn't keeping you from doing essential tasks. When you start having trouble taking care of the basics, you need help. My doc gave me a datebook to write down when I had "episodes." It helped me see how often things were happening and helped him evaluate me more efficiently. You may not be to that point, but if you start to question yourself, give it a try. Might make you feel better if nothing else.

If you ever need anything -- someone to listen, help with laundry, whatever! -- please give me a call. I'm always happy to help. Big love to you and your beautiful family!