What you didn’t tell me about the postpartum period is how my hormones would send me on such a roller coaster that the old lady in line at the pharmacy could make me cry within thirty seconds, as she inched closer and tried to breathe on my newborn during a pandemic.
What you didn’t tell me is how I would lose my sense of self in both good and bad ways, how I would go a bit crazy. How I would dance and hula hoop on the sun-kissed deck at 6am before the baby woke up, how I would cry with joy and swelling emotion as I listened to a favorite song. How I would experience a manic episode starting a week after the baby was born.
You didn’t tell me that I would be awake at 1am with inspiration flowing, jotting down idea after idea, trying not to wake my spouse in bed with the light. That I would be shopping online at 3am, researching coupon codes and handy household items such as a pot lid holder.
You didn’t tell me that during my mania I would realize at my core that I needed to quit my job, that it was making me unhappy and sapping my creative energy. That I would brainstorm dozens of different career possibilities including inventor, blogger, and house organizing consultant.
You didn’t tell me that I would be so uncharacteristically friendly and talkative that even the Sprint customer service representative and the staff at the emergency room would become delightful conversation partners.
You didn’t tell me I would be so irritable that I would push away anyone who tried to tell me how to take care of myself and my body, how I would nearly burn bridges with loved ones. That I would get annoyed at the midwife office when they asked me if I was seeing my psychiatrist regularly.
What you didn’t tell me is that months into my recovery, the emotional wounds of the postpartum period would still sting. That I would cry when the doctor claimed I had psychotic symptoms or when my spouse recalled the ways I was not present for my family during this time. That I would feel like less of a mother for missing some of the key moments during his first month of life.
You didn’t tell me that this would be the most carefree I had ever felt in my life, despite the insomnia and impulsive behavior that came along with it. That I would giggle in the bathtub, that I would move my body without inhibition, and that I would feel – for the first time in my life – absent of worry and anxiety about what was to come next. That I would recall this time period with conflicted feelings yet deep down, I would long for that sun-kissed sweet feeling of freedom as my hips swayed through the morning air.
Postpartum Mood Disorder/Postpartum Bipolar