More than the blues
My best friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last month. She was the first out of our group to have a baby, so we were all so excited leading up to the delivery.
When the day finally came, there were some complications. The baby was failing to progress and not coming out. She needed to have an emergency C-section.
When I asked her whether I could visit her in the hospital, she said she would prefer for me to come by when she would be home. Once she got home, she was making all sorts of excuses as to why it was a bad time to come. I was so surprised.
I finally reached out to her husband to see what was going on, and he said that he didn’t know, that since the baby arrived, she has pushed everyone away from her. She does not even let her family come over. She just cries all day and stays in bed. He even told me she has a hard time comforting the baby at times.
After hearing this, I went over to the house. When I arrived, she hugged me so tight and could not stop crying. She explained that she loves her baby so much but is just so sad that she has so much responsibility. She mourns her old life, in which she could have the freedom to come and go as she pleased. She was clearly overwhelmed.
I have never had a baby and don’t know whether this is normal, it’s a phase she’ll get past or she’ll always be sad deep down. What can I do to help my friend out? — Baby Blues
This far surpasses the ordinary baby blues after birth. It sounds as if your friend has postpartum depression. Roughly 15 percent of new mothers suffer from this disorder.
For a mother to properly take care of a baby, she has to take care of herself first. Think of it like the oxygen masks on a plane; you have to put your own mask on before you can really be useful to anyone else. In this case, your friend must put on her own “mask” first so she is healthy enough to take care of her child.
To do that, her first step should be to join a mothers support group specifically designed for women with postpartum. Your local hospital or a breast-feeding center should have this information. The second step would be to see a licensed therapist.
While your friend is getting better, continue to be there for her and hold her hand during this transitional period of her life.
I read “Tiptoeing’s” comments about the practice of ghosting (leaving a social gathering without saying goodbye) with some amusement. My wife is the distant opposite, having the obsessive need to say goodbye to everyone, each goodbye inevitably involving a hug and a new conversation about anything and everything, a ritual I personally find to be annoying, if not exasperating. I’ve learned that when she tells me she’s ready to go, I might as well pour myself one for the road and get comfortable because I know we have another 15 minutes to maybe an hour, depending upon the size of the gathering, before we’re actually out the door. If she could learn to limit the goodbyes to the hosts, as you suggest, I’d be a happy camper. But I’m not holding my breath. — Short on Patience in
Funny — although if your wife’s long goodbyes have you pouring one (or two) for the road, I hope she’s the one driving.
It sounds as if your friend has postpartum depression. Roughly 15 percent of new mothers suffer from this disorder.