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Filtering by Category: Health

POSTPARTUM DIARIES

Katherine Romrell

[5 Weeks Postpartum]

 

Hi!
So i've thought about what to write for this post longggggg and hardddd. To this day this is one of the hardest and most intimate posts I have ever written. Before we get into the deets, I need to give my husband a shout out. I don't know if you can tell, but … I’m pretty awkward at the beginning of this shoot. I was so nervous about photographing my PP body but boy did my hubs cheer me on and made me laugh!

 

Today I want to open up about two tricky subjects! Weight and PPD!

 

FIRST, THE WEIGHT

I am currently 6 weeks PP. 
Before pregnancy, I weighed somewhere about 109 lbs. The last week of pregnancy (Week 39) I weighed 156 lbs.  During my postpartum stay at the hospital, I went up to 162 lbs because of a weeks worth of IV fluids.  So I gained a total of 44-51 lbs! I am currently weighing 131 lbs. 


Why am I talking about weight?
After THIS post and THIS post on Instagram, I received lots of sweet compliments and how great I was already looking after having a baby. Ironically this made me feel a little bad. Not because of the compliments --Those are always nice! But because I felt like I wasn't living in the same universe. What was going in my head did not reflect what I looked like on the outside. AT ALL. I think that it’s important to shed light on the behind the scenes of PPD, because maybe I’m not the only one being hard on themselves behind closed doors. I want to clarify that in those pictures, I am wearing a waist trainer underwear and it definitely helps that my Agnes & Dora leggings are form-fitting and tucking my PP bump.

I know what it feels like to feel like a stranger inside your body! I cried everyday during our week-long stay at the hospital when it was shower time! I would just stand naked in front of the mirror and wondered how I was going to get my body back! I would love to take the high road and say how I don't care that I gained weight and that my new found curves make me feel more like a woman. Nope. Weight has been a contributing factor to my PPD and If you feel this way, you are not alone!

 

SECOND, POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Everyone tells you that the beginning of motherhood is hard and it's an adjustment but that you JUST LOVE being a mom either way ! I did not feel like that right away. In fact, no one said just how HARD it was going to be at the beginning of it all.  I wish someone would've talked more about the hard part so that I didn't feel crazy or like a bad person and a bad mom.

I'll cut to the chase. I did not feel like hurting  my baby. However, I did feel like...

  • I had zero routine which drove me insane.  Nothing went as planned. 

  • I did not feel that magical connection I felt with my baby when we were at the Hospital.

  • I felt like I was not cut out to be a mom.

  • Leo was better off with a different family.

  • I wanted to disappear and hide from the world.

  • I was scared of anything and everything.

  • I felt like I was a crazy person in a white room with no windows or doors.

  • I LOATHED my body!

  • I felt like I was not in my own body because of pain, weight, and recovery.

  • Though my husband is not just help, but a great dad and super supportive, I felt alone.  

  • There was times I thought about jumping in Front of a moving car because I felt like I wasn't good enough to be a mom or a wife and that I was going crazy.  

At one point, I felt sooo manic, I told Chris; “I don’t know how but, I feel like we’re gonna end up in the news”.
At that point, my husband said it was time to get help for PPD! Smart move, babe!

 

THE GUILT…

With anxiety and PPD overload, My OCD was out of control! I felt really scared to talk to anyone about this, specially because in my culture, (Venezuela), depression, anxiety, and OCD are all things that aren't in the realm of possibilities unless you're psycho-killer-crazy. 

The worst was getting asked; "Don't you just love being a mom?" "Yes!" …But no.
How can I explain?! I never not loved Leo. From the minute our little boy came into this world, I have been obsessed with him and have loved and adored him. But no, I did not LOVE being a mom the at first. Cue the guilt. And when I explained my experience, I would get the typical follow up question "But wasn't he so worth it?"..... My son is worth more than you will EVER know but NO I would not want to go through our horrible labor experience and those crazy weeks ever again. Baby Romrell #2 has been postponed for Summer 2026.

Hating my labor, my new body, and my new mom experience had nothing to do with my love for my son but it seemed like a lot of people didn't know how to separate the two.  This just made me resent myself even more. 

I also felt guilt because of all of the negative thoughts going through my head.
I’d been waiting to be a mom for so long (previous marriage included). My ex husband and I tried for years nut both struggled with infertility. Him, for his own reasons which I won’t disclose out of respect for him. And me, because of endometriosis. So how dare I feel anything but grateful that this moment finally came. This went on in my head for too long and the crying continued everyday (EVERYDAY) for weeks! How did Chris not leave me? 

I know that the way my labor & delivery went down probably put me at a bad start. I labored for almost 30 hours, plus had an unexpected and very unwanted C-Section, plus a few panic attacks before and after surgery, plus a major cold afterwards (Read about my labor HERE). Then there’s that major hormone drop after giving birth. And top it all off, once we got home, I got a UTI and Mastitis TWICE. Add a colic-acid-reflux newborn baby to the mix.....We barely got sleep!  Don’t know how we’re all still here.

At times I felt so overwhelmed that I would forget to eat. And trying to find time to do that between nursing, and pumping made it even harder to eat.
I used to make fun of moms that would say that! Like..... HOW do you forget to eat? 
But t's true! You do! Serves me right for thinking that.

We are living proof that lack of sleep and lack of eating makes you crazy. I have found my phone in odd places like the laundry hamper, the pantry, and my favorite... the dishwasher! One day, Chris came back from work and left our car running for 8+ hours! Now I know how parents accidentally leave their babies in the car! ITS BECAUSE OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION.

 

THINGS TO KNOW

  • Postpartum can start as soon as pregnancy!!!! Like before you give birth!

  • Reality of being a mom will most likely not kick in until you leave the hospital and are no longer surrounded by the help of doctors and nurses around the clock.

  • If you feel PPD after 8 weeks, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have chronic depression, it could just mean that you still have a hormone imbalance.

  • PPD is more common than you think!

  • PPD doesn’t always mean you want to harm your baby.

 

CONCLUSION: IT DOES GET BETTER!

For those of you going through a similar experience to mine and reading this, I want to end this on a good note for you. It does get better!

My husband studied Psychology, so I like to think that he knows a thing or two. It really helped that he was educated on how the body and mind work, and it also helps when you are able to recognize that your emotions are heightened because of your hormones. That DOES NOT mean that what you're feeling is not real, nor that you are crazy, nor that your feelings shouldn't be validated because you're "hormonal". They are very real. Whether or not your feelings and behavior would be different without the extra hormones, what you are feeling now is real to you and that is okay! I know, you normally wouldn't be easily bugged, on edge, or cry-me-a-river super sensitive at all times. It's all because of your hormone imbalance due to giving birth and part of your body regulating itself after stocking up on sooooo many hormones to help cook a baby. 

Mom life truly is so sweet! You may not feel like it right away and THAT IS 100% OKAY AND UNDERSTANDABLE. Don't let ANYONE tell you differently. I WILL punch them for you. It might take you weeks or even the whole first year! I can't say that my PPD has absolutely gone away but after getting help, I have started to feel a little bit more like my old self again and started to feel like we can all survive this. I feel like that beautiful connection with Leo back when we were the hospital has come back and growing bigger and stronger everyday! And little milestones like leaving the house for the first time on your own and with baby are things to be proud of all the way!

From here on out, we are new women. There is real empowerment to being a mom and you should own it. Don't let ANYONE make you feel inappropriate, inadequate, or wrong about your choices and your parenting style.  So long as your child is healthy and you are sane, that is ALL that matters. 

I am so grateful for such a loving husband who already surpassed my expectations of being a dad! I am thankful he educated himself on PPD before the baby came and has been supportive and understanding of my crazy. I am truly grateful for supportive friends who let me open up and not judge me, because this is vital to help you come out of that PPD cave. And I am eternally grateful  for all the love and help we have received from everyone through this new journey!