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'My Happiness Came After Tears and Snot'

First-Time Mom Overcomes Emotional Struggles

First, let me say that I love my daughter and I love being a mother. However, no one prepared me for the emotional roller-coaster of new motherhood. Not that anyone really could have helped me. I had to go through it, but it was a surprise nonetheless.

Before I get ahead of myself though, let me start at the beginning. Obviously the "blood and sweat" part of motherhood comes during labor - painful, yes, but not the end of the world. For me, the recovery from the birth was the more painful part (OK, OK, I had an epidural during labor?). Labor was really short (yea!) but with that came a lot of tearing (boo-hoo). I was quite uncomfortable when I got home. I had been lucky enough to remain very active throughout my pregnancy, so being out of commission for a while was tough, especially when the way I typically deal with stress is to exercise. Needless to say, I was really bad off. The slow recovery, being virtually inactive and stuck inside, learning how to be a mother, breastfeed, and soothe a crying baby, and enduring sleep-deprived days and nights, all added to the tears, tears, tears part of new motherhood. I cried every day for about two weeks. I can't really say why, but every afternoon the tears would come. They didn't last long, but crying became the only predictable part of my day. After those two weeks, the tears were less frequent. The initial turning point came after Katherine's two-week doctor's visit revealed that she had gained 1 1/2 pounds after leaving the hospital. I relaxed a lot after that; at least I was feeding her OK, but the tears didn't go away entirely. All the uncertainties of being a new parent continued to feed into my emotional state. I had heard about postpartum depression, but I didn't anticipate how difficult regular emotional instability could be.

My dear husband would reassure me that my "hormones" were out of whack and it was perfectly normal to be a basket case. Although I knew he was right, it was still difficult for me to deal with. However, after a little while, my emotionally labile state got to be a bit of a joke with my husband and I. He would call to see if it was "tears and snot" day. That always made me laugh, even if I when I was blue!
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