Pregnancy and birth really messed with my hormones. When people talk about a hormonal pregnant woman it’s always about the mood swings. First, she’s yelling at her husband to bring her a soft pretzel. Next, she’s crying because it’s covered in salt. And she actually wants chocolate.
My husband may choose to differ (I don’t know, I didn’t ask him), but mood swings were not that common for me. In fact, I made it though my pregnancy without much drama. I mean some. A little here and there to keep it interesting. Just enough so my husband wouldn’t get complacent. Overall, very even keel.
Hormone changes aren’t just for pregnant women
Now, after my daughter was born, that’s when things got interesting. Very little talk occurs about hormone differences after pregnancy. That needs to change.
Aware some women have severe changes resulting in postpartum depression, it’s hardly ever mentioned except in passing. When it is mentioned it’s portrayed that you either have debilitating postpartum depression or you are exactly as you were before you were pregnant.
I knew so little about post-birth mentality. I read zero books, articles, blog posts, anything on the subject. And not for lack of trying. I read EVERYTHING. My husband likes to say, “No one can research like you can.”
My philosophy is we live in the Information Age. Literally anything we would like to know sits at our fingertips.
So, I dig and dig and read and read for information. I want to know what I’m getting myself into. The worst thing you can do to me is throw me into something blind.
I’m not an anxious person, but lacking the ability to visualize something stresses me the ef out.
We must talk more about postpartum mentality
So with that mindset I read absolutely everything I could find about pregnancy and birth. I watched documentary after documentary. I made my husband read and watch everything.
I practiced meditation and hypnosis techniques. Knowledgeable and diligently prepared for the art of birthing a baby, I believed I prepared for everything.
Postpartum? Nada. It didn’t seem like a big deal. The only articles I stumbled across were about getting your body back to its pre-pregnant state. Nothing mentioned your mind spent the last nine months changing shape along with your stomach.
If I would have read one thing that would have seemed as important as mental health after birth I would have devoured it. But I didn’t, so I focused on my growing belly, the life inside, and the act of birthing.
And you know what? I rocked it. Pregnancy? A breeze. Birth? An incredible experience I handled with confidence and excitement. Motherhood? Amazing, humbling, but lonely.
Lonely because no one talks about the mental side. I am as stable a human being as one can be, but the thoughts that have plagued my mind in the last six months would make me sound crazy if I verbalized them.
So I didn’t. Because I believed I’m the only one. Because I heard no one talk about it before. Because those that have these types of thoughts are ill, weak.
See Post: Tap Into the Happiness Within
Am I crazy?
I have a supportive husband. I have a beautiful, chill, easy-going baby. I love my family. I find joy in my days as a whole. But a paranoia has tormented me.
A paranoia I kept blaming on exhaustion. Though, it never seemed to go away even after a full night’s sleep. You can blame it on being pregnant during the election (I like to) and my love for dark entertainment, but everyday for the first five months postpartum I was consumed by an overwhelming dread that the world as we know it will come to a very soon end.
My husband and I always talked about having multiple children. It has been a given. Suddenly, I was rethinking my need to procreate more. I wasn’t turned off by more children because I had a terrible pregnancy or traumatic birth.
Those are sensible reasons. Nothing like that. I thought, “If we end up in a The Walking Dead kind of scenario one child will be hard enough. No way can I take care of two.”
Did I express these thoughts to anyone? No. Maybe I hinted at them to my husband or close friend, but never in full detail because I knew they sounded crazy, but even with that knowledge it didn’t stop it from being real to me. Very real.
So real that one day I began to stockpile water. Without telling my husband I began filling every water bottle we had with filtered water and tucking them away at the bottom of our pantry. About ten bottles in I realized what I was doing.
Like a sleeper drone who had been hypnotized to carry out atrocities for the KGB I “woke up” to find myself in a peculiar place. I realized my thoughts were becoming actions, and I needed to speak to someone, anyone about what was occurring in my mind.
So, I did. I started talking to my friends. I verbalized these thoughts that were consuming me, and soon they began to shrivel. They became less powerful. I was able to see them in context.
For me, that’s all I needed. And still need. I need to know I could speak about them. For months I believed I had to keep it in, to myself. No one else experienced out-of-control thoughts like these. I would have read about it. I read everything. But not this.
You are normal!
So, I’ll write about it. So you can read it. Motherhood is amazing.
Every cliché is true, “it’ll change you”, “you’ve never experienced a love like it,” and all that other truthful shit. But please know what your body just did and continues to do if you’re breastfeeding is astounding.
“Getting back to normal” isn’t real. Your body just created, birthed, and supports life. Your reaction to that amazing toll IS normal.
To me, my daughter is a literal extension of myself. My brain is learning how to understand and deal with that concept. I don’t always have my shit together. I go to some weird places mentally. But that is NORMAL! I talk about it out loud with friends and family, and guess what… they know what I’m talking about because they experienced it too!
I am not alone. You are not alone. You will not be alone. I am not crazy. You are not crazy. Pregnancy and birth and motherhood screwed with our minds, and that’s Normal!
See Post: Tap Into the Happiness Within