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Postpartum Feelings of Regret

You've had a brand new baby, or maybe you have a newly toddling toddler. Congratulations! Yet, maybe you aren't so excited about it.

Life is different now, whether it's your first child, second, or in my case, it was numbers four and five. Those life changes come with a number of different thoughts and feelings that we could never anticipate. Postpartum depression can really do a number on us when it has its claws dug in. It can instigate some thoughts and feelings that we would never expect to consider after the joyous arrival of our children.

Feeling regret and sadness after having a child

I regret a lot of things in life, like many of us do. Naturally with regret comes some sadness (this often passes quickly) about how I wish things could've been instead of how they are. One wouldn't expect to feel any sense of regret after having a child, whether that child was planned or not. Most of us go through our pregnancies looking forward to the child/children coming. We just can't wait to meet their cute squishy little faces.

About 6 months after I had my twins, I began to have feelings of regret. I felt the sadness as usual, but oh ho the shame I felt! How could I regret such perfect little beings? They completed our family and made us whole. I love them with my whole heart. Yet, the regret still laid there in my heart like a heavy stone.

Postpartum depression: it's OK to feel regret

I laid in bed and cried so many nights as my children slept because I couldn't get past the feeling of intense regret that festered inside me. I let it sit and stew and the shame would just become so overwhelming that it would leak out of my eyes as tears. Finally, one day while I was sobbing and babbling out my feelings to my partner I admitted to the regret.

I expected my partner to be horrified that I would want to consider going back to a life without the twins, but instead, he embraced me and told me it was OK.

It doesn't mean I don't love them

Lord, the relief I felt after having said it out loud and not being condemned for it was immeasurable. Do I sometimes wish life was like it was before the twins arrived? Yes, I do.

Looking back, it seemed like life was easier (twins are tough). But does that mean that I would do anything to change the life that I live right now? No. I can love my children with my whole heart and still sometimes wonder what life would look like if things had happened differently.

Life is different now, and that's OK

My first 3 babies were all unexpected blessings, so when I told my partner I wanted to try for 1 more to complete our family, we never expected 1 to become 2. I was scared and excited at the same time. My PPD set in pretty quickly this go-round and all the feelings and thoughts that came along with it began to creep in.

Along with all those feelings came regret and shame. As I mentioned above it took me admitting it out loud before I was able to actually process the shame of it out of my system.

Don't hold PPD emotions in

Don't feel like you must hold on to it if you're feeling the same way. We don't have to let these feelings fester and take over our hearts.

If you’re struggling in a similar situation, about any hard emotions, I recommend trying something similar to what I experienced. Whether that's talking to someone (a partner, friend, loved one, or a doctor) or even just writing it out in the pages of a journal.

Be kind to yourself

Quite often if we physically get it out of our heads then the feelings/thoughts that like to creep in on us at our darkest moments might stop, even if it just for a moment.

Sometimes just having that pause, that moment to take a breath and realize that it's going to be OK is what we need to get us through the rest of our day. Then maybe the next day we have to repeat the process. You know what? That's OK!

Postpartum depression is a beast

We're only human. There will be days where all we can do is survive to the next and there will be days where we feel like we can conquer the world.

Postpartum depression is a strange and vile creature that will do it's best to overwhelm us. Spit out what the PPD tries to make you feel and make the creature just a little bit smaller for a moment. You're allowed to be OK.

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