Giving birth is no piece of cake. If men knew what mothers go through during those nine months and during labor, not only would they be forgiving us for all of our hormonal lash-outs, but they’d be treating us like queens – forever.
After giving birth to my third baby, I suffered a mild form of post-baby depression and was struggling with just… relaxing and letting go. I was a nervous wreck. I kept blaming my husband for all of the things that went wrong, I couldn’t sleep, and I was definitely on the verge of breaking down. The only moment that kept me sane was when I was holding the baby in my arms; that one moment of peace, her breathing on my chest was everything I lived for. Other than that – I was a nightmare.
I could tell my husband was becoming distant. He gave up trying to rationalize things happening between us, and he would always find excuses not to be home. He still helped around the house with the other two kids and the baby, but with me – he would barely speak to me. That’s when I knew it was me and my behavior. Deep down inside I felt that, unless I change something about the way I act, I will lose him. Even worse – I will lose the family I’ve built, and my kids will lose the beauty of a united home. I got terrified. But I wasn’t feeling well… what could I possibly change? I spoke to my best friend (who’s a psychiatrist) and she advised me to take steps that really made a difference.
Here’s what I did:
I talked to my partner
One Saturday afternoon, as my husband was about to head out (aka stay away from me), I asked him to stay and talk instead. I apologized for behaving the way I did, explained I wasn’t feeling well and that I am very sorry for making this beautiful experience of raising our third child so difficult for him. We talked for hours, cried, and he told me I’ve got his support. I was overjoyed to learn he was still that kind, amazing man I married.
I went to therapy
My best friend recommended her colleague who specialized in post-baby depression. I started going for sessions two times a week in the beginning, and once a week later on. It helped me more than I imagined it would. Slowly but gradually, I started letting go of my irrational fears and drama and I could feel I was shifting back to the person I used to be – a jolly, happy person.
I reorganized things around the house
Feeling down, I wasn’t up for doing anything around the house. If my husband hadn’t been keeping things in order, we would have ended up with a sanitation inspection knocking on our front door. Luckily, with therapy and everything, I started feeling like myself again and I made it my business not to only get back in shape but to keep my house clean, organized, and clear of clutter. It was too early to go back to the gym so I made cleaning my exercise therapy. Why not kill two birds with one stone, right?
I turned to healthier products (after all, there was a baby in the house now). I introduced an organic diet into our menu and I made sure things stayed in place. Keeping myself occupied with other things, and not just the baby, definitely helped me during my recovery.
I started looking after myself
When you have a baby, it’s stressful enough that you’ve got another human being to look after, let alone find the time to care for yourself. However, I pulled myself together and decided it was time I went back to the way I was – nurtured, dressed up and sparkly. I booked hair and beauty treatments, went shopping for a few fabulous pieces of shapewear (I still wasn’t my fit self so any help was welcome), a few pieces of lingerie, dresses that flatter my figure and some accessories for a little bit of oomph. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.
I asked for help
I had to ask my mum and my mother-in-law for help. Whenever I had my therapy sessions, they’d look after the baby. Whenever I was cleaning, they’d take her out or be with her. My husband, with his work and all, was helping as much as he could. Things turned to better in no time…
Now, five years later, I am a happy mother of three healthy children, a happy wife and a woman thinking about starting her career in real-estate again. Don’t lose hope, darling – find it in yourself to move forward and you’ll be okay. I promise.
Tracey Clayton is passionate about traveling, fashion and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”