Postpartum Depletion by Noreen Heffernan



I think the hardest thing about having a baby is everything.

I really do.

Between the pregnancy, the morning sickness, the giving birth, the recovering, the range of emotions, and the new, more voluptuous body, I just don’t know why or how everyone does it so dang much?!

Speaking of range of emotions, my husband wouldn’t drive with me to Starbucks the other day and I could cry tears of pain for 30 minutes straight based on that alone: like someone took my favorite pair of shoes. I didn’t. But, I could. I could also cry as I pump in the corner of my house, sitting on the floor, looking at my iPhone. If someone took a picture, it could be considered a low moment. This so called “low moment” happens 4-5 times a day. And it doesn’t happen quietly or without judgement. When my pump is on, it yells at me. I swear it says emphatically, “Let it go, let it go, let it go” over and over again.

I’m trying pump! Jeez.

On the flip side, I will laugh so hard that I fall on the floor at times. At any other time, this could be construed as crazy, but it’s not. Thank goodness I just gave birth. That’s my out. I think I have about 6 months of this “out.” I’m more than half-way. I actually feel like the postpartum emotions peek around 3 months. I think I read that. I’m definitely reading too many articles about it all. I blame Facebook. They keep putting articles about breastfeeding and postpartum on my page. How do they know? Yesterday I convinced myself that I have “postpartum depletion.” Basically, I’m too tired to go to the gym. It must be that. Yes, I have that. Thanks Australia. I think you can find any article to support how you are feeling at any given moment. I’m a new mom and I’m tired. Postpartum depletion. Done.

I’m also trying to embrace this new body. It’s funny because I feel depleted but I don’t look it. I look very well fed. I know I’ll get back to the slimmer me, but I am old enough and much wiser than I was before, to know…it just doesn’t happen overnight. At least not for me. I’m looking at you Beyoncé…

I’m having trouble doing a sit up, still. I’m more hunched over than usual, from holding the baby. I can hear my mom in the background of my thoughts, “Stand up straight. Be proud of those tatas.” She didn’t say that exactly, but she always tells me to embrace them. A DD never hurt anyone. I agree, to an extent. They never hurt anyone except me as I’m pumping and nursing the days away.

I used to be able to do my barre classes without a problem, but now it is like I’m the new kid in class. We are talking 4 months post C-section. I’m a nursing mom so I’m telling myself and everyone who will listen that nursing moms need to keep extra weight on themselves. You know, like bears hibernating in the winter. I am a summer bear confused about logistics, keeping this weight on to ensure I have enough milk for my baby during these hot months, and to keep me modest. It actually turns out that I can feed an entire nation. I’m thinking it is the Oreos. When I complain to my husband that I can’t get these last 10 pounds off, he says, “Maybe instead of a whole sleeve of Oreos, you should try one or two.” “You are supposed to tell me I don’t need to lose any weight,” I respond. And around and around we go.

But, I have a beautiful baby. I say that without the slightest hint of anything but pure and utter love. She is the best thing to happen to me, this me; the older, wiser me. The me that understands the path that I’m on; one that involves continuous self-sacrifice with a drop of self-love. The one with no postpartum depletion in sight. I know I’ll get to that other place. I know what I have to do to get there. But I can also be aware of the struggle that it brings. There will always be dribbles and drabbles of struggle in heavy, drowning rainstorms. Meaning, when something is pouring love and happiness, it will get you wet. There is always a downside during an upswing. But I know where I’m going; I’m moving up up up. I’m grateful for that, right now, in my life and at this time. The Oreos, my lacking sit-up, and my self-diagnosed postpartum depletion have nothing on where I am, where I’m going and eventually where I will end up.

~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies.

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