Dear New Mom: On the Day you Understand Shaken Baby Syndrome
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My husband had been back at work for a week. My mom and sister had left 3 days ago. The first two days we had survived. Someone had brought us meals and I had taken a ton of naps with the babies nested on either side. It was going pretty swell.
There was no meal arriving tonight. I smiled bravely and went into the kitchen to put something together with the remaining leftovers. I was starving.
It was witching hour. That tenuous time between 3-6pm where wires get crossed in every baby I have ever met and no-solution screaming ensues.
Both girls started crying just as I put something on the stove to warm. I kicked one in the swing whose batteries had already died while bouncing the other. They screamed louder.
I went to the kitchen to warm their bottles. Realized I had burnt whatever I was heating to the bottom of the pan. I started to cry a little as I got the bottles warmed. They screamed louder.
Fumbling with lukewarm bottles and two floppy babies under 6 pounds, I finally got them on my giant twin nursing pilllow to feed them both. They fought the bottles and They Screamed Louder.
Then I screamed too.
And suddenly I understood shaken baby syndrome.
I put both babies in the crib screaming and went outside to pace in the driveway for the next 10 minutes until my husband got home to help me out.
Dear New Mama,
I’m sorry for giving you whiplash with last week’s hilarious email followed up with this week’s serious email (go back and read the last one now if you need to!). But I need you to hear this.
You are not the only one who understands the shame and sorrow associated with the feeling of wanting to shake your little one. Almost every new mama has (or will) feel this feeling at least one time.
But the painful truth is that new motherhood is not all roses and sunshine. Raising a little one will be one of the hardest things you have ever done.
New motherhood the first time around is especially vulnerable. The sleeplessness. The hormones. The pain from birth. The pain from nursing. The complete loss of any illusion that you were ever in control of your life. The wondering if all you will ever be now is “just a mom.”
It may be normal to feel like you want to shake your baby every once in awhile, but if the story I described above is your daily life: you may need to seek some help for Postpartum Mood Disorders. I so wish I had sought help. I needed it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you’re never going to get a handle on this new life you’re living, click here to read the symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorders in Plain Mama English and find out how and where to get some help before your 6 week appointment.
You are not alone. You don’t have to do this alone. Get help if you need it emotionally… or if you’re just having a rough day.
You are not alone.
Cheering for you,