09 November 2014

Baby Blues: An Annoyingly Misleading Term

I still feel sad multiple times every day for my friend who lost her beautiful baby daughter. I know she thought it would be old news for many after a few weeks, and maybe that is true. But it is not old news to me. Every time I drive past her house, and often when I just look at my little ones, I try to imagine the heaviness of her grief. I am sure I fail, because I think that kind of grief can only be understood by experience.

One of the things on my mind is isolation. I always feel very isolated for the first six months to a year of a baby's life. It's funny, because some might wonder how a woman with four children and a loving and attentive husband could ever feel isolated at all. People use the term "Baby Blues," which I find annoying, because it makes it sound cute, and less serious and painful than it actually is.

I have a few thoughts, after my extensive analysis. I host a book group and attend my local quilt guild, which activities help me feel connected to a community twice a month. I have an assignment at church, which can keep me connected to my faith community. I can call, text, or email my family and friends to stay connected to them. I have lunch and a scheduled play date with friends every week, and sometimes have other play dates as well.

But when I have a baby, while doing all of those things, there is often a large part of my brain that is not connected to anything except The Baby. He is underneath all of my thoughts, often fussing in the background, ready to interrupt anything I do at a moments notice. I love him, and I want him, and I enjoy him as much as possible.

I feel the blues around me, waiting to settle in. I wave them away with my quilting, my play dates, my exercise, my books. Sometimes I fail, and I feel alone. I feel disconnected from everyone: from Alex, from the kids, from my friends, and even from myself. In the past I have been addicted to blogging. Now, I check Facebook too many times in the hopes that someone has something to say to entertain me or help me connect with humanity in a meaningful way. 

Recently I talked to a good therapist, and she immediately put her finger on my problem. Through our session, we talked about so many things, and I felt 100 times better when I was done. I think the biggest realization I had was that I can change my modes of operation to improve my situation. I am the captain of my own fate. I am the master of my own destiny. And if I am tired of feeling isolated, I need to reach out. I have been doing so, and it is already helping so much that I even feel like blogging again. 

I guess this post is a way for me to make it public. I am working at stopping being such a lazy extrovert. Let's play.


Holly said...

I read the washington post article you linked to previously and I cried. I can't imagine the suffering she feels. I'm holding my own baby right now and the thought that I could lose him is very depressing. My next door neighbor died six months ago and I still feel grief over that. It is hard to see people suffer and be powerless to change the cause of their sorrow.
I'm glad you were able to talk to someone. I'd love to talk too if you want...

Alison said...

You are the coolest, such good stuff. Thank you for everything you write!

Mary said...

Hi, old friend! I haven't read your blog in ages so I was catching up a bit. Congratulations on a new little one. I, too, feel very discombobulated after a baby. My baby is three now and I feel like I'm finally coming out of the fog.