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Postpartum Letdown

For my beloved wife Jeannie and myself, the births of our kids were the happiest moments of our lives. I think it’s safe to assume that most people feel the same way. So why do I see so many mothers bursting into tears at the two-week visit for no apparent reason? Let’s face it: Having a baby is self-inflicted physical and psychological abuse. They suck on you, they keep you awake, they play with your nerves, they sleep when you want them to play, they cry when you think they should be happy, and the more you want to make them happy, the crankier they get.

A couple of years ago, I was amused to read that scientists are actively searching for the hormonal substance in the mother’s brain that helps her tolerate all that abuse, because without it, mankind would have ceased to exist long ago. Imagine how many uses people would find for that substance if it were synthesized!

Seriously, having a baby is draining, both emotionally and physically, and before you adjust fully to your new life, you might experience a letdown moment (sometimes known as postpartum depression), typically after a week or two. If you feel spent, tired, and weepy, you could also feel guilty that you don’t feel happy and fulfilled. You are all of those things, but you’re also very tired. My advice is to sleep when Lucy sleeps, lay off work for a while, take time to chill out, and only think from one day to the next. Accept that Lucy is having her own letdown as well; she was much cozier inside you, and she needs a couple of weeks to adapt to her new environment. Be like her: Cry if you need to. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll reach that light of joy and contentment very soon.

Having said that, mothers who tend toward depression will experience a rougher bout of postpartum letdown. If this describes you, talk to your doctor about taking or resuming medications.