My friend Pam, holding my newborn daughter, Morgan, July 2009
A couple years back, as a part of my mommy and me class I took with my youngest, we had regular breakout “coffee talks” with just the moms where we discussed various parenting topics.
One week the topic was about community, and how as moms we all need support. We were asked to go around the room and share a particular time when someone showed us support when we needed it.
As you can imagine, there were quite a few tears that day. It was a “pass the Kleenex” kind of talk. I felt bad for the lone substitute dad filling in for his wife. I think the topic from the week before was on how to make your own play doh. He picked the wrong week for sure.
The first thing that came to mind was a dark period in the weeks following my youngest daughter’s birth back in July 2009. I was in pain post c-section, had kidney stones, super sore nipples and a newborn with severe reflux and colic.
Looking back, I think I might had postpartum depression to some degree; definitely the baby blues.
I was so overwhelmed and everything in my life felt out of control.
One of my best friends from college knew I was having a rough go of it, so she came to visit me one day. She brought a gift bag with new jammies, a magazine and some candy to cheer me up.
But the best gift I got that day was nothing that could be brought in a gift bag. Just seeing her made me feel better; a glimpse of normality.
We started talking and I got so emotional I blurted out, “I want my old life back!!” Life before a screaming baby, life before sleepless nights, life before this physical pain. I felt so guilty for thinking that thought but to be able to say it out loud made me feel better. I had been living trapped in my own head and keeping a lot of my sadness to myself.
With her, I didn’t have to worry that she would think I didn’t love my new baby. I didn’t have to worry she would judge me. She knew me better than anyone and knows how much I love my kids.
She let me talk, and cry.
In retrospect, I realized the most poignant thing about that visit was what she didn’t say. She knew I would get better, sleep more eventually, start to heal physically. She knew the postpartum hormones were doing a number on me. I didn’t need a pep talk or a list of suggestions on what I could do to feel better.
She just held my newborn baby and cried with me on the couch.
In that moment of us sitting there, I didn’t feel alone. In retrospect, what I realized is I just needed someone to be there with me and share the burden of my emotions. Her actions said, I’m here for you.
I did get better, it took a few weeks, but I got better and better and we adjusted to our new normal. However the colic held on until about four months, which was a whole other story.
BUT my colicky baby grew into the most positive, enthusiastic, happy child you might ever meet. I wish I could have had a glimpse of my future life a few years down the road in that time, but of course life doesn’t work that way.
Life can be hard.
We need each other.
I realize that now more than ever approaching 40. People all around me are going through tough times and serious situations. So if you have someone in your life facing a challenge, or are looking for ideas on how to support a new mom with baby blues, remember that sometimes the best gift is your presence.
A reminder they are not alone.
This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Pam, who has always been there for me.