the six week appointment.

Six weeks is not a lot of time. I mean most people don't even announce their pregnancies at Week 6. But at six weeks many of us had to go in for that dreaded check-up. I made this appointment not fully understanding what it entailed. What I thought was the baby blues was full blown postpartum depression, though at the time I had no clue that I was suffering from it.

I had my appointment and quickly became apparent to my OB that I was having a very rough transition into motherhood. I remember a Medical Assistant walking into my room because Calvin was screaming his head off and she asked if I needed formula for my baby. I told her that I had been waiting for over 20 minutes and that he was gassy from just being fed and asked if they could hurry up. My doctor walked in and I had tears from pure exhaustion, frustration, and confusion as to what all my crazy hormones were doing.

She recommended I go on anti-depressant medicine. I of course declined, hoping that my feelings of being a bad mom and not loving my baby (along with a whole other list of emotional issues) would go away. That didn't happen. On my way home I wondered who it was that thought six short weeks would be enough time to get back to normal again!? Most newborns I know go through a "wonder week" and growth spurt at six weeks and for some, like myself, it can be overwhelming.

She checked my third degree tear, noted that it had healed, and then told me I was "good to go". What did she mean by "good to go"!? Like leave the office and see you next year or good to go as in good to exercise or good to go as in how I got into this situation in the first place (cough)?

I asked for clarification and learned that since I was all healed up, I had the green light to go ahead on all of the aboveAt six weeks I was still healing emotionally from the marathon of birthing out a child and with getting used to my new normal. I had not had more than 3 hours of sleep at a time and with a frequently nursing baby I had no time to myself. Most days I looked forward to being able to shower alone for 10 minutes and to just have that time to feel like my old self again. The thought of being able to workout (minus walks) or to do anything intimate was so far from my mind.

To be honest, I probably treated Nick like I was the only one going through so many changes at the time. In six weeks time he also had to adjust to having a new baby, a new lifestyle, a wife with a new role, and the fact that we had a baby sleeping in our room. The idea of sharing your wife both emotionally and physically must be hard for someone who is not directly going through all the internal and external changes. I still had a lot of "mush" (that's what I like to call it; it's what it is, isn't it?) on my stomach and had just stopped bleeding from birth. I did not feel sexy and I didn't feel like a wife. Nick is always very gentle with me with his words and although he encouraged me in telling me I still looked beautiful and that I was doing a good job at balancing being a wife and mom I knew I had neglected many of my old ways because of my new demands. 

One of the few times Calvin liked cuddling with me as a newborn.

One of the few times Calvin liked cuddling with me as a newborn.

Six weeks for me was not enough time. So with Max I made my appointment nine weeks out to avoid the added pressure. Surprisingly I felt pretty good at around seven weeks and never went to my visit, oops! I do think that going on dates with your spouse whenever possible is extremely beneficial in keeping the spark alive after being parents. The times when Nick and I were able to get away and regroup as a couple helped our marriage significantly, especially during those weeks where I was in much pain emotionally and physically.

I wish that there was as book that explained to men what it could be like for a mom post-birth. Every mom has a different experience but having some type of a HEADS UP!!!! WARNING! WARNING! could be helpful for both parents. Maybe if the guys knew what cues to look for or what questions to ask moms, help would be more readily available to those who need it. The changes that happen, the pain experienced, and the amount of time it takes to get back to normal again are vastly different. Perhaps if at the the last appointment before birth doctors/nurses/midwives warned both mom and dad about what to expect, some of the shock could be cushioned? At least for me, having a talk like this could have helped me navigate some of the thoughts and feelings I had. Since Nick knew what to look for the second time around he was very helpful in making sure I felt supported and got the help I needed (but as I have said before I only had the baby blues with Max for a very short period of time, thank you placenta encapsulation!). 

Do you feel like the postpartum visits are way too early? Did you feel emotionally and physically ready to be intimate with your spouse after your appointment? Was it easy for you to be honest with your doctor or midwife about the emotions you were feeling?