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Onyebuchi Iduozee: How I Managed My Baby Blues After Delivery

While pregnant, I read quite a lot about pregnancy and postpartum issues and felt armed with all the information I needed. Still, the baby blues really caught me off guard.

I had a normal delivery and spent the better part of the next day calling everyone, informing them that my bundle of joy had arrived. I was excited! The nurses advised me to get enough rest as I needed it but I turned deaf ears, believing I was alright. I was discharged on Monday (next day after my delivery) and only then did the reality that I’d just had a baby and my life had changed set in.

On getting home, as expected, I had a lot of people coming to visit; both people I wanted to see and those I didn’t. So, I braced up to seeing people when I didn’t feel up to it. I was weary and had swollen feet because I wasn’t getting enough rest.

Then, the baby blues gradually set in. Like I mentioned earlier, I had read about it prior to my baby’s birth, but didn’t quite understand I was going through it. I couldn’t figure out why my baby would cry just when I got into the bathroom for a quick shower, barely minutes after I put her to sleep.

I cried repeatedly for about 2 days for no obvious reason. I had an overwhelming feeling and everything seemed to annoy me. I remember a particular day my husband said something that I would have normally taken as a joke. I got very upset and started crying. He was confused and started apologizing. After he had apologized for a while, I realized that crying actually made me feel better. Unknown to him, he kept apologizing and I told him repeatedly that I just wanted to cry. He didn’t understand but comforted me still. I tried telling him my tears had nothing to do with him. I cried my fill before I finally stopped and really felt relieved.

My mum helped with massaging my body a few days after my baby’s birth, it was painful and I felt pained. This contributed to my mood swings. Why me? You won’t believe in place of feeling so excited on my baby’s naming ceremony, I really didn’t want to go through with it as I just felt like sleeping some more and being left alone. My husband, family and friend cajoled me but you could tell I something was amiss that day.

Apart from my baby’s cries, the tiring ‘night duty’ made me feel worse. I was also under pressure to lactate. I wasn’t lactating properly, my baby wasn’t feeding well and some nosy visitors were yelling baby friendly is best. That further put me under a lot more pressure than I needed at the time. But, in all of it, my husband was a shoulder I constantly cried on. He never got tired of my mood swings.

My mum also encouraged me as well but sadly had to leave a few days after my naming ceremony. I cried like a baby. My mother-in-law came around and I was again worried about how exactly I was going to play the good daughter-in-law role when I still needed to be pampered. However, it all turned out well because my sister-in-law was always coming to cook and clean the house while my mother-in-law took care of the baby. By the time she had to leave, my mum was already preparing to come back to stay with me, so, I felt relieved.

I gradually got over all the overwhelming feelings with all their love, help and encouragement. I always had a listening ear, a lot of help with caring for my baby and starting embracing my new life as a mum. Some of my friends who were mums already also provided a very good support system.

I’ll advise mums battling the baby blues to avoid bottling up their emotions – let it out. Talk to your loved ones and cry if you need to. It’s also always better to have someone more experienced, like your mum or mother-in-law, stay with you to help with the baby. Then, get enough rest and take enough fluids for your sake and baby’s. Do not mount unnecessary pressure on yourself as regards lactating, get a breast pump, and generally, take things one day at time and the blues will pass. You’ll be just fine.

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