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On Newborn Sleep

Postpartum Blues Toolkit

Postpartum Blues Toolkit | RISING*SHINING

I wrote most of this post shortly after Maeve arrived when I was experiencing the evening blues that I'll describe here. I'm happy to report that around two weeks postpartum I started to feel my emotions even out and I'm not experiencing bluesy evenings any more.

Since giving birth to Maeve I’ve found myself having a particular feeling: I feel really nostalgic for now. Can you relate to that feeling? Is there a word for it?

What I’m feeling isn’t postpartum depression — I don’t have feelings of anxiety, wanting to withdraw, or other indicative symptoms — although I’m open with Chris about how I’m feeling so he’s aware in case that changes. I think it's a bit of postpartum blues. But it’s almost like I feel so happy and so in love with Maeve that I feel sad sometimes if that makes any sense.

This feeling tends to come on in the late afternoon as the light gets golden. That’s always the time of day when, if I’m feeling worried or sad, those feelings will come out, like the Sunday blues. As the end of the day is imminent I feel a little sad that each day with Maeve is over — even though I have a whole new day with her to look forward to! I so clearly remember feeling this same way with Dashiell.

But when I wake up in the morning, I find the wistful feelings gone and instead I only feel happy and content (if a bit tired). I look forward to the coffee that Chris will make me and spending the day with Maeve.

I remember feeling this way after Dash was born in an even bigger way. The changing late afternoon light seems to trigger the feelings and because Dash was also born in early April the light is the same which might make the feeling of nostalgia even stronger. I think it transports me back to what it was like to have my first baby. When I had Dashiell, getting used to the overwhelming love I felt for my baby took a while. It made me feel so vulnerable. I also found myself feeling a deep empathy and sadness for all the babies born who aren’t loved and adored – an empathy I had before becoming a mother but one I've carried in an even deeper way since.

Since I've felt this way before I know that in a few weeks the feelings will likely fade. In the meantime it helps to talk about it to Chris, my mom, sister, or friends. I’m also glad I can meet with my counselor virtually during this time.

I thought what could be helpful too is for me to have a postpartum blues toolkit of sorts: a list of easy, comforting things I can do when I feel bluesy. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

+ Tell Chris how I'm feeling. I always feel lighter after talking about my emotions and Chris is the best listener.

+ Looking forward to turning on our backyard lights each night. I love how cheerful our backyard looks lit up with string lights.

+ Make a cup of Dandy Blend (an herbal, no caffeine coffee alternative). I drink mine with half and half.

+ Call my mom, sister, or a friend.

+ Stretch

+ Go for a walk. Although it can be tricky to time depending on Maeve's schedule and with the rising temperatures.

+ Plan to get breakfast or coffee takeout the next morning. Having something specific to look forward the next day can help.

+ Light a candle.

+ Read a book while nursing in the evening instead of scrolling on my phone.

+ Instead of lamenting the day that is over think about the sweet moments the next day will hold.

As I wrote at the beginning of the post I'm not experiencing regular bluesy evenings any more. But bluesy evenings can come around from time to time even when I'm not postpartum so I can imagine I'll find this list helpful in the future as well.