There is life after the postpartum depression…

I was thinking these days about my pregnancy and at the moments after I gave birth. I thought a lot if I should write about it or not, because I was afraid that I might be criticized but I suppose it’s ok if like that I can help new mothers.

I was lucky!

Even though I was only weighting 35 kilos at 24 years old and everybody, including my doctor, did not believe that I could bring my pregnancy to the end without problems, the fact is that I was capable of doing it. I suppose that my luck was that nobody told me at that time that they did not believe in me, that they did not believe in the strength of my body. It is very important for a pregnant woman to feel encouraged during her pregnancy, so I thank the people around me and I really appreciate the fact that they kept their worries and their opinions to themselves. They only shared these with me after I gave birth.

During my pregnancy I gained around 20 kilos, which I lost in not more than 4 months after I gave birth. I was lucky that my doctor was just amazing and he monitored my pregnancy very often. I had an appointment every 2 months until about 7 months of pregnancy and from 2 to 2 weeks until the end. I gave birth at 39 weeks by scheduled caesarean (yes I know, not many twins are born exactly on time). They would have stayed longer but my doctor considered that it would be the perfect moment for us to meet.

I could not understand the emotions that I was going through!

Many things happened during the almost 9 months of pregnancy. I went from sadness, to feel completely overwhelmed, to happiness, to sadness again and to a great fear of the unknown.

I did not really have the moral support from my husband, but even so I managed to stay positive. Well, just until the week before the caesarean. Then I started to panic. My best friend gave birth two months before me and she was trying to comfort me. She was telling me how wonderful it feels and how happy she is that she can finally hold her baby in her arms. She was saying that it is even more beautiful than she could have ever imagined. How nice, I thought, but I could not imagine anything. I knew that I will meet my twins soon but I was not able to imagine that moment not even for a second. Not even for a second I was happy that the moment was approaching.

I was scared. I was feeling this immense fear of the surgery, it was my first surgery ever and the thought that I will be conscious all the time was really scaring me. That week I told my mother that I think I will die during the surgery and obviously she tried to comfort me, to make me think positive but I could not get rid of the negative thoughts. The night before the great day I cried so much, I could not close my eyes not even for 5 minutes. My husband, he was telling me to let him sleep because the next day it’s a big day for him as well. I knew it! Something really bad was about to happen!

But no, nothing happened. Someone up there took good care of us and next day at 9:55 AM my beautiful little twins, N and J were born at 2 kilos each. I was so frightened during the surgery that I could not stop shaking even though the nurses and doctors tried everything to calm me down. I will always remember their newborn smell. They smelled divine! There is no word to describe it; only a mother can understand what I mean. But since then, my life, my feelings, my thoughts went on a different route. We left the hospital after four days. Four days in which my husband took so good care of our little twins that I was impressed.

I was anaemic, my surgery was terribly hurting me, I was barely sleeping, I was stressing from the smallest things. One day my husband wanted to go home and change. I asked my mother to stay with me for a bit and she came. But…I felt her frustrated, stressed, restless. Why did she even come? I thought. She is only stressing me more. I spoke with her about it after some years and she apologized, she doesn’t know why she acted like that. I forgave her!

When we got home from the hospital, my husband was bringing the luggage from the car. My mother and I were trying to get the babies out from the baby car seats. In one second my world turned upside down. J regurgitated and we didn’t know how to take him out of that seat. With a small nose pomp my mom managed to make him breath and he start crying. With him I started to cry as well. And I cried, and I cried, and I cried! And I told her that I want to bring them back to the hospital because nobody thought me how to be a mother. Or better yet, my mother should take them home. She was trying to calm me down but what she didn’t know and she probably still doesn’t believe this day is that I was serious. I didn’t want them and I was not feeling ready and prepared to take care of them. And I cried all night long. First night home, in the middle of our bed just my husband and two beautiful angels that were crying at the same time with me.

I was in postpartum depression but I didn’t want to admit it!

After two short weeks I had to stay home alone with the little twins as my husband went back to work. I was telling you about the fear of the surgery! It does not compare with the fear that I felt the first day when I was alone with them. My mother helped me as much as she could; she was coming after work and spent a few hours with us (my husband was working night shifts). But again I was feeling her stressed and frustrated. You know what? A woman that just gave birth doesn’t need that. If you plan to help just because you feel obliged is better if you don’t help. But I forgave that part too. I suppose it was tiring for her as well.

My biggest problem was another one. I was in postpartum depression but I didn’t want to admit it. I could not look at my babies, every time I was holding them in my arms I just could not look at them. I had milk but I only breasted for two weeks. I could simply not do it anymore. Maybe some mothers will understand what I will write: you know when your house is completely quiet but you continuously hear babies crying? I had the impression that I am going crazy. But I kept it for myself. Because I was scared! Scared that I would be judged, scared that child protection will take my kids away thinking that I could not take care of them because I am depressed. All I wanted is to lie in my bed! Not even to sleep, no, just to stay there. And I kept it for myself!

I had stopped smoking just when I found out that I was pregnant, but one day, when my mother came over I took her pack of cigarettes and on my way outside I told her what terrible babies I have. I am not proud of this, I still feel bad about it even today. My mother told me to stop talking like that, but I went out and I smoked 4 cigarettes one after the other. And I still didn’t tell anyone how I felt. What for? I thought. Nobody will understand me anyways. You know what? Even today I still believe that nobody from my entourage would have understood me. Why? Because not just once I heard: Stop complaining. You are the neither the first nor the last that gave birth. So I was suffering in silence. If other women were able to do it, why couldn’t I? Nobody would have understood me, besides my doctor. Because my doctor would have known what I am going through, but I preferred to stay quiet and I thank heaven that nothing bad happened in that period of time. I was lucky I guess, because these feelings just passed and I started to feel better.

Many things happened since then. Five years have passed and today I can say that I am happy. I am always tired and always preoccupied but happy. My relationship goes well, my children are just amazing! I do regret one thing though: that I did not ask for help in that period of my life because nothing and nobody can give me back the first year of my little twins; this first year that I will always remember as the most stressful, tiring, frustrating and confusing year of my life.

Why did I decide to write about this?

  1. To those around a woman that just gave birth I beg them to be there for the new mother with body and soul. But if your soul is not there it’s better if you are not present.
  2. I beg the new mothers that feel overwhelmed to ask for help. Wherever this help comes from but ask for it. Even if it’s only a chat with one of your friends but you need to talk. Take it all out! You are not alone and yes, other women are able to do it, but you need to know that you are not a less good mother if you need help to overcome this impasse. On the contrary, you are stronger than you think because it is not easy to admit you need help and this I know it very well.

I hope that you realize how brave and important you are! You can do this mama! Yes, YOU CAN! xoxo

Cristina B.

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