Baby Blues? Postnatal Depression?

Hi guys!

If you’re pregnant or suffering from depression, I’ve written a blogpost all about Antenatal Depression which I wrote whilst I was still pregnant. Leading on from that post, I thought I would write about depression and having the baby blues that can happen after pregnancy

It’s been three and a half months since my son was born. I feel like I’m at a point where I can talk about the mental challenges that I faced at the beginning as well as what I face day to day. I personally don’t like having to put a label on things. As I’ve mentioned before, I hate the word ‘depression’ or ‘baby blues’. Regardless, it can be relatively common. It’s not something that’s easy to admit. I kept a lot of my feelings to myself because I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t fit to be a mum or incapable of looking after Tyler. Especially having Tyler young, I feel that I’m more prone to people looking down at my lack of experience. If I told people how I feel, I felt like I would get the silent ‘I told you so’s’. It’s so easy to fall into depression or have baby blues, especially if it’s the first baby.

The Early Days

The lifestyle change, the lack of experience, the lack of sleep, the change of body and the challenges of breastfeeding are just some (yeah I realised I listed quite a lot of things lol) of the things that really made me feel low. In the early days, I felt like I was barely getting through each day. It was genuinely such a struggle. Breastfeeding was the main factor for me feeling so crap a lot of the time during the early days. Tyler was constantly on the boob, round the clock. No joke, it was a 24 hour job. People don’t realise how tiring breastfeeding is. It felt like Tyler was sucking the soul out of me. Saying that, I’m glad I breastfed for the time I did as he got to reap the rewards you get when you breastfed. But that’s a whole different post – which I will write!

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I barely ate, and when I was eating; a lot of the time it was crap food. I survived on two Go Ahead bars, a dinner and a few shitty snacks for quite some time. And for anyone who breastfeeds or knows anything about breastfeeding, the eating habits that I acquired weren’t good for both myself and Tyler. I barely showered (unhygienic or?) or peed (both pretty normal considering circumstances in my opinion). I was an acceptable mess. Looking back, everything was a blur. My day consisted of sleep, breastfeed, sleep, eat, breastfeed, sleep, repeat. I think I was slowly going downhill. I was unhappy. I felt like everything I was doing was completely wrong. I felt like I wasn’t completely bonding with Tyler. All the books were saying ‘You’ll start to get to know your baby’ and to be honest, I had no idea what that meant at the time. How will I know if he’s hungry? Or tired? It definitely was a horrible feeling. You can read so many books during pregnancy and still feel completely lost when your baby arrives. Somehow all the ‘studying’ you do when you’re pregnant, flies completely over your head when your baby is right in front of you. The most important thing that I’ve learnt during the early days, is that regardless of all the tears and mistakes; I’m doing well. And that little bit of self motivation can make your day a whole lot more bearable.

It’s Okay Not To Bond With Your Baby Straight Away

The reality of it all is that not every woman is going to bond with their baby right away. There’s a difference between having ‘love at first sight’ and bonding. It is much easier to love your baby than it is to bond. Reading that statement, you may be thinking; “Doesn’t loving your baby and bonding with your baby go hand in hand?” And honestly sometimes that isn’t the case. With Tyler, I love him unconditionally but I was finding it so hard to bond with him at the beginning. I didn’t know what he wanted and when he wanted it. It’s hard when the only way your baby can communicate with you is through crying. Especially after going through labour, the exhaustion alongside other things can really affect how you bond with your baby. Saying all of this, I’m at a point where I’ve got an amazing bond with my son. I understand his different cries and I’ve grown to understand him as a little human. It can be so terrifying when you first start off because you’re just so lost. That feeling of being lost hasn’t really gone away (and to some extent, I don’t think it ever really does). I still generally feel quite flustered all the time but you learn to enjoy all the experiences that you encounter. I mean, they’re only a baby once!

The Now

90% of the time, I still feel completely lost. I know for a fact that, that feeling will never truly go away. Every day is definitely a battle in one way or another but the only difference is that now, I’m starting to enjoy the journey of motherhood. It’s definitely a lot easier than it was before. Believe it or not, you do learn the hang of things. Moreover, it helps that he has started to develop his personality and become his own little person – which honestly is one of the most beautiful things to witness. That doesn’t mean to say that nowadays I don’t breakdown here and there. Because I most definitely do. Tbh I cry a lot. But it’s okay. Everything you go through as a first time mother, from the emotions to the daily trials and challenges; is all normal and okay. Anyways, I feel I’m at a point where I can give some tips which could (hopefully) help with dealing with the overwhelming emotions of motherhood.

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Tips to dealing with baby blues & PND:

  1. One day at a time – Having a baby is a very overwhelming change. Like every kind of change, it can take a while to adapt to. More likely, you’re not going to get the gist of it very quickly. And anyone that does, well.. good for you. As cliche as it sounds, taking it one day at a time or even taking it one hour at a time can make your whole day a little bit more bearable. Especially with the physical traumas of birth, it can definitely make you feel like crap. Not being able to do simply everyday task such as peeing or taking a shower can really take a toll on you emotionally. It does take time to heal (yes, another cliche). 714ef9dbfb2d463084643d01a37f629096dd5cd4004d2de1a2244d2524afee30
  2. It’s okay to cry – Never let anyone ever tell you that the thing you’re crying about, is a stupid thing to cry about. We all experience things differently. If crying it out makes you feel better, do it. A good cry can definitely make me feel better. Keeping things in can have a very negative effect. No one should ever feel like they should withhold their emotions.7686178464_fdc8ea66c7
  3. Talk –  Continuing from my last point of not withholding your emotions; talking is another way of dealing with it all. And yes, I know I know…ANOTHER cliche and a pretty obvious tip. BUT, it honestly does help. I know that from experience, issues such as my body changes and the challenges of breastfeeding really took a toll on me emotionally. I felt like what was the point of speaking about it when I’m not really surrounded with people that understand? But regardless of whether people understood, they were always wanting to help in any way they can. And lending an ear and hearing words of encouragement can definitely make the adapting a whole lot easierIm-so-happy
  4. Support – Personally, I think this is the most important thing to have especially during the early days. This doesn’t necessarily mean from a partner, but just from people around you in general. Being surrounded by supportive and loving people is essential. It’s needed in everyday life. I would say that it’s definitely the support I had from my boyfriend, friends and family that really kept me afloat. Your number one priority is taking care of your newborn. So having people around you caring for your wellbeing can really take the edge off the emotional struggles that you may go through. Support meme
  5. Take a break – This is essential. You need to take time out for yourself to look after yourself. I’m definitely a firm believer that you need to look after yourself in order to look after your baby. Your mental health is SO important. I can’t stress this enough. Especially when you’re responsible for another human being. Looking after yourself doesn’t need to be done independently. Simple things like giving the little one to someone else for a few hours so that you can relax or getting help around the house can really make a difference. images

Going through depression or getting the baby blues is 100% understandable but it doesn’t have to be ongoing. I have so many off days and I have the most dramatic breakdowns that I question my capabilities but I’ve definitely learnt to take care of myself. Being a mother is hard. SO hard. I don’t know it all and I don’t pretend to but I’m definitely learning as I go along.  My tips are SO basic but they really have helped me so I hope they help you in some way, regardless if you’re pregnant/with or without children. Even though it may seem like it, you’re not alone and it does get better. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post!

Fei xoxo

 

The Reality of After Birth

Hey guys!

No one really talks or prepares you for the changes that happen after birth. Personally, I feel like there were so preparations for birth and the arrival of my newborn that I had kind of forgotten about the aftermath of it all so I thought I would write a blogpost of my experience. I absolutely love being a mother and it’s the best feeling in the world to see your child develop and grow. Any parent can tell you that! So I thought I’d write about the challenges that I faced adjusting to motherhood. This is quite a personal post, so I do hope you enjoy the read!

What People Forgot To Mention About After Birth:

  1. Blood, blood and more blood – If you think you’ve escaped the copious amounts of blood from labour; you’re sadly mistaken. Straight after birth, I found myself bleeding bucket loads. And that is NO exaggeration. I knew that there would be bleeding for some weeks after labour, but I didn’t realise the amount that actually comes out. In general, after giving birth; you’re suppose to wear maternity pad – that’s just how it is. But I found myself wanting to wear an actual adult nappy… Or several. There was an incident where I was sitting down in the delivery suite for about 30 mins or so, and as I stood up; blood literally just gushed out of me. There was blood all over the seat and dripping out of me incredibly fast as I ran to the toilet. It was honestly horrific for both me and my boyfriend to witness. I can’t tell you the embarrassment I felt when the cleaner or nurse came in and just saw the hospital seat covered in blood as well as a nice pool on the floor.
  2. Painful pee – This was the one thing that I was NOT prepared for in the slightest. Have you ever had a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)? If you have, that’s exactly how it feels like. It lasted for nearly 3 weeks that I started to question whether or not this was just an untreated UTI. I dreaded going to the toilet (not that I went that often for the first week or so… probably twice a day). Peeing stung so bad and only a little amount would come out. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. To lessen the pain, I used to bring both of my legs straightened up in front of me and clench both my toes and hands. And even that didn’t help. Because your insides are very displaced (not exactly surprising, since your baby’s taking up every bit of space), your bodily functions are a little bit displaced as well. Like the bleeding, it doesn’t last forever. And that’s what you have to keep telling yourself, when you leak aggressively through another pad or you feel like your pee hole is on fire.
  3. It just all bloody well hurts – Well it’s obviously no surprise that it’s going to be quite painful for a while but I didn’t realise how much. I could barely walk for the first week. Simple day to day tasks were very hard to do. Things like bending down was a no no. To be honest, it didn’t last that long so you know it wasn’t TOO bad. Obviously at the time, I thought it was the end of me and things weren’t going to get better (dramatic much?) but you know… It does and you keep on living.
  4. What is eating? – Personally, in between looking after a newborn and going by the rule: ‘When your newborn is asleep, you should sleep’, I had no time to eat throughout the day. I lived on snacks my mum or boyfriend came back from work.
  5. Breastfeeding is HARD – Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who found breastfeeding very easy. When I was pregnant, I thought breastfeeding would come SO naturally and I regret not doing my research beforehand. Breastfeeding IS a skill and it does take patience and determination. There were SO many problems I had with breastfeeding and for the first month I hated it. My 8lbs baby was a HUNGRY baby, who wanted to feed on the hour every hour. It was mentally and physically exhausting for me but that’s a whole different blogpost! Bottom line is, you should do a lot of research into breastfeeding before you give birth if you plan to breastfeed because it will help you a hell of a lot. And if you don’t end up breastfeeding, it isn’t the end of the world and you honestly shouldn’t force yourself to keep on if you’re suffering so much in the process.

There were SO many changes after Tyler was born, I was very much overwhelmed with it all. The ones mentioned are just a few of the temporary changes that I experienced. There are so many changes, that up till now I’m still having to deal with. I didn’t really feel like myself for quite some time, and the transition from carrying Tyler internally to having Tyler physically there was the hardest time of my life. Having a newborn is hard, especially being a first time mum. I know a lot of mums from the get go, want to be with their babies all the time and are completely besotted with them (not that I’m not) but honestly… for the first few weeks, I just wanted to sleep. Sleep. Sleep. And Sleep. It definitely puts a mental strain on you. It’s very easy to get baby blues for the first few weeks. It’s so important to have a good support system. I’m definitely thankful for mine. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t get baby blues or struggle. I cried like a bitch for so long till I grabbed two grips and kept it moving. I thought I was doing everything wrong, from breastfeeding to carrying him. I didn’t think I had maternal instincts but I definitely am learning and growing with Tyler. And it does take time. As long as you have people around you supporting you and you take it one day at a time, everything will be okay.

Fei xoxo

 

 

Water Birth Experience, YAY or NAY!?

Hey guys,

It has been such a long time since I’ve posted anything! Motherhood has been a huge adjustment and tbh, I haven’t found any sort of motivation to get back into writing again… BUT thankfully I’m back into the swing of things!

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my birthing experience and so I thought I would do a blogpost on it! I hope you enjoy reading it and hopefully now that I have some sort of routine I can start regularly blogging again!


My Labour/Birth Experience

For a month, I had contemplated starting to write this blogpost but I genuinely didn’t know where to start. 2 months on (nearly 3, damn) and I still don’t know where to start *cries*

First and foremost, labour is the most painful thing that I’ve experienced/think I will experience. You really don’t know what you’re in for until you’re going through it. And boy oh boy, I didn’t think labour was EVER gonna end. When people ask me what contractions feel like, the only way I can really explain it is by comparing it to the most painful period pain… and multiplying that by 100. Seriously.

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First Stages of Labour

I was 40 weeks + 1 day pregnant (slightly over baked) when I started getting contractions and then the next day I gave birth. My first thought was “Shit. I’m actually gonna have to push this baby out.. Shit shit shit.” I remember sitting on the toilet, FaceTiming one of my girls explaining this ordeal I was in. 4 hours into the contractions, I had decided that maybe it was time to go to the hospital to get checked out. I had been umm-ing and ahh-ing about going because my water hadn’t broken and I hadn’t gotten any of the other signs they tell you on the internet that labour was imminent- just contractions. I put it off for as long as I could until my boyfriend said “Yeah, maybe we should to the hospital..”. I didn’t realise that your water could break at any time during labour. Mine had broken whilst I was in the water! Once I had reached the hospital, I was only 2cm dilated so I had to go back home. I didn’t realise how PAINFUL car rides were when you’re in labour. Being stuck to a car seat and not being able to get into a more comfortable position was absolute TORTURE. Once I had reached my house from the hospital, that’s when the contractions were coming in fast and hard. From about 1pm – 11pm (until I finally decided to go back to the hospital), it was an absolute nightmare. I was trying to go into many different positions to try and ease the pain and nothing was working. Every contraction I could feel, I dreaded. By the time I got to the hospital, I was in unbearable pain and I was ready for this baby to come out. When we had gotten to the Triage Unit, it was one of the most awkwardest few hours of my life. The Triage Unit were for expectant mothers (ranging from 1 month – 10 months pregnant) who were there for a range of problems or appointments. And here I was; coming at 11pm to the hospital, shouting and screaming with every contraction whilst the hospital itself was so quiet. I was waiting in the Waiting Area with expectant mothers who weren’t in labour, for what seemed like hours. And honestly, I had lost all form of manner and decorum during this time. Women who were waiting there would look at me horrified or sympathetically as I screamed in pain for 40-50 odd seconds at a time. I didn’t care at all. My screams were coming loud and hard. Can you imagine being like 6 months pregnant and watching another woman go through each contraction? Nah, that would scar me forever.. I’d actually tell my baby not to come out.  Thankfully, when a midwife finally checked how many cm I was dilated I heard the words “You’re 7cm dilated, we can take you to the delivery suite now.” So off I went, being wheeled in a wheelchair to the delivery suite (yay).

WATER BIRTH (Active Labour)

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Having a water birth was not what I had expected. When I went to the antenatal classes, the midwives were selling me dreams telling me that in terms of pain relief; water was second to having an epidural. I even watched so many Instagram videos on water births, and all these mothers were having calm spiritual experiences. So there I was thinking, the water would have some miracle effect during labour. I’d be breathing in and out and in control. Well nah, sorry to say that wasn’t the case. If anything – the warm water was more of a comfort rather than a pain relief. I was in excruciating pain for 20 hours trying to get in all sorts of weird positions in the water bath. My legs were wide open, all over the place and I just remember thinking “Fuck, I don’t think I’m ever going to get this baby out. Jesus should take me now.”

As a woman, I thought I wouldn’t be comfortable having everything out especially because I couldn’t fit in a cheeky wax before labour (looool) but I honestly didn’t give a shit. When you’re in so much pain, you genuinely forget everyone and everything in the room. You’re too busy trying to control the pain. I couldn’t even tell you what I looked like to everyone else in the room. There was just soooo much blood. Very, very unattractive to say the least! Looking back, I remember going in and out of sleep in the tub. It was so exhausting so I took little naps in between contractions.

The most painful part was definitely his head coming out. Oh damn. Such a big head he has. I honestly know no pain like it. His head coming out had to be done in stages and every time a bit of his head would come out, a little would go back in. So it was like riding a bike up a hill and stopping for a bit (in which you regress a little) and then continuing to ride your bike and stopping again and regressing a little (don’t know why I even used that analogy since I can’t even ride a bike l o l). I literally had two midwives holding each of my legs apart whilst I pushed his big ‘ol head out. When people ask me what it felt like, I can honestly say it felt like a hot rod was being shoved up my vagina (yeah I know, tmi.. sorry). After his head had come out, the rest of his body more or less came out with another push or two and at 6:15am on the 1st December 2016, my little Tyler was born. Even reminiscing back, I remember the sheer relief and joy I had knowing that he was safely brought into this world and he was finally here, on my chest.

After that, all that were left were the cutting of the cord and giving birth to the placenta. My boyfriend had cut the cord in one snip (which he was so pleased about since the midwife said that the cord may be a little be tricky to cut lool) and I had an injection to the leg so that the placenta would ease out. This stage of this labour was the easiest but most gruesome bit. I sat in my own pool of diluted blood just chilling.

After Birth

I’m so thankful to God that my birth was so smooth, I could of had it way worse than I did regardless of the amount of pain that came with it.

The last part was just checking that Tyler was healthy and to check for any tearing that I may have.  I was so scared that I had torn my perineum since it’s quite common and when the midwife ran her fingers around my vagina, I wanted to cry. It stung so bloody bad. But thankfully, I was left with no tears. It was all a sigh of relief that everything was over and here I am nearly 3 months on and my little munchkin has given me so much joy and happiness, that all the pain seemed so worth it.

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Antenatal Depression?! WHAT’S THAT?!

Hi dolls!

So I’m writing another personal post… I don’t know whether it’s the hormones or something else, but I’ve been feeling drawn into writing content that is a bit more sensitive (well for me anyway).

Since I was a young teen, I’ve suffered with depression. Everyone goes through it at some point in their life and a lot of the time, people tend to shy away from the topic. The word ‘depression’ itself sounds like one ugly drag and if I’m honest; I really don’t like the word. Tbh, I’m not the sort of person that tends to talk about things like this and if you know me or if you’ve ever met me in real life.. I just love a good time! However, I thought that I’d talk about this topic simply because although pregnancy is such an amazing event in one’s life.. it isn’t a walk in the park and even though we as women talk about the physical aspects of it, sometimes the mental aspect gets brushed aside.

Does antenatal depression even exist?! 

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Research has shown that women who develop postnatal depression are likely to have had antenatal depression. We’ve all heard of postnatal depression, but antenatal depression? I didn’t even know antenatal depression was even a thing! It is said that 7% – 20% of pregnant women suffer with it (thanks Wikipedia.. Idk how accurate that statistic is…) When I found out I was pregnant, my life wasn’t exactly in the best of places. Tbh, I recall my first thought being “You’ve got to be having a laugh. This is probably the worse timing!“. I genuinely remember when my partner and I found out, we had to actually laugh out loud. So much was already going on in our lives. Obviously, as time went on we saw it as such an AMAZING blessing but it was during the adjustment periods that I felt my lowest. Thanks to my hormones, the negative thoughts and feelings that I had were 1000x magnified. I honestly felt lost. It was such a painful and confusing time. I went a good few months feeling like one walking poo. There were so many things going on at the time, and the bottom line was that I was a 20 year old student in her first year of uni. I had so many plans for the summer, for my life etc – I was a selfish student who just wanted to enjoy her youth. There were so many factors that contributed to why I felt the way I did and it’s only recently that I started to get to grips with all the amazing changes and adjustments. It’s not to say that I don’t have my off days, but I’ve learnt to cope a lot better.

So with that being said, I thought that I would write my top 5 tips which have helped me.

MY TOP 5 TIPS TO HELP WITH ANTENATAL DEPRESSION (or depression in general): 

  1. FAITH – This year alone, my relationship with God has improved a lot. He is the number one reason as to why I’ve overcome the trials that I’ve faced. As I said, this year hasn’t exactly been the easiest or best in the slightest. Sometimes we find that confiding in other people such a hard task (well I do) and we’d rather just keep it in. Majority of the time, I hate outwardly talking to people about how I feel and I’d rather just keep it moving. During this year, I’ve learnt that instead of keeping it in.. just talk out loud. I’m a Christian, and it was during my hardest times that I saw God’s love for me. Remember: it’s His timing, not yours. Every night I’d speak out loud to him and honestly, it helped me in ways I didn’t think was possible. You may not believe in God, but even just talking about your problems out loud with no one there can help. Get it out in the opengod-faith-and-love-god-31725465-737-438
  2. RELATIONSHIPS – The relationships that you surround yourself with have a huge impact on how you feel. The support that each relationship gives plays a huge part on your outlook in life. For me, at the start of my pregnancy my friends were genuinely my foundation. They were the only people keeping me sane and the support they gave/continue to give me was and is priceless. Sometimes, when the people you’re closest to are in initial shock they forget that you’re the one going through the physical and mental changes and it’s hard to go from day to day without that support from them but I promise, things do get 100 times easier! I’m so blessed to have my partner and family, in addition to my friends. Surround yourself with the right people. What’s the point in living life surrounded with people who don’t bring positive vibes to your life?build-relationships
  3. PROFESSIONAL/MEDICAL HELP – I’m honestly grateful to the NHS for the support they offered me. I know that from talking to other people, getting help for mental problems from the NHS isn’t easy. The waiting list is long and you get appointments a year later etc. I do feel like mental problems need to get more recognition and there needs to be a little more free support for people in general. However, from my recent experience; I was shocked at how helpful and supportive the NHS was. Maybe it was because I was 20 or pregnant or a combo of both, but they were really efficient. I had appointments booked, therapy sessions I could take and I was prescribed medication. Tbh, me being the stubborn hard head that I was – I only went to a few appointments and didn’t take the medication. I was determined to sort it out all by myself. Nevertheless, it was nice to speak to someone who I didn’t know and good to know that help was there if needed. So be honest with your midwife or doctor if you feel like you’re not coping, you never know.. the help they provide may actually do you some good!
  4. SET SOME FUTURE GOALS/PLANS – There were days where I couldn’t get out of bed, I didn’t want to get out of bed. In retrospect, I probably have had more off days than on during pregnancy. I always found that setting myself future goals (can be as little or as big) got me excited for the days to come. Get out, get active. From going baby shopping to starting a blog, anything that gets your mind excited.. Plan it then do it. you-can-do-it-meme-42225
  5. TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF – Do things that make you happy! No matter how small or silly they are. This can range from watching Netflix to taking a nap (yeah not a really big contrast there tbh, but both things I enjoy doing). Personally, I try to look better than how I feel and honestly it works… So pamper yourself!

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REMEMBER:

lorazepam-abuse-help-mental-health-issues Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Doing simple day to day tasks can be so difficult when your mental health isn’t in check. Of course, it’s all easier said than done – but making the conscious effort to keep yourself happy and motivated, whatever that may be, goes a long way!

I hope this has been a helpful read!

Fei xoxo

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