Disclaimer: I'm fine.
This shiz is hard. Like running a marathon after pulling an all-nighter studying for organic chemistry after you broke up with your first love hard. (See what I did there...physical, mental, emotional exhaustion...)
I think something happens at about seven weeks post-partum...something not nice. I was blind sided by how I've felt the last week+, but then, a few sleepless nights later, I remembered this happening about this same time with the girls. So now, I have a theory.
Step 1: It all starts at the six week post-partum check-up. You have an expectation and that expectation is not fulfilled. You expect that the doctor is going to come in applauding and with deep admiration in her eyes. After all, the last time she saw you, she witnessed you survive child birth. You expect something like, "That was the worst labor I have ever attended, you for sure had the longest, strongest, worst labor and then birthed the biggest baby ever...YOU ARE THE WOMAN!" Nothing doin'. You get normal small talk, maybe she comments that you look nice, but of course you do...it's the first time you've left the house in six weeks and you have on make-up! Then comes the exam. Twenty seconds later, after the least thorough check up you've ever had, she says, "Everything looks great, you can return to your normal routines." Come again??? You lay there thinking, "There is no way anything looks great or that anything will ever be normal again...you were there, surely you remember the terrible thing that happened to me six weeks ago...please?? What???" And this lack of justification begins a nasty downward spiral.
Step 2: Your hormones go nuts. About the time you think you've avoided the 'baby blues' all together, suddenly you can't ask your husband to turn down the TV without bawling about it. And your hair starts to fall out. And your face can't decide if you should look like a dry, wrinkly old woman, or a greasy, pimply teenager. Also, those 'I'm so happy, and he's so cute' endorphins have made their exit...now you're just surviving and he's just the guy who keeps waking you up. Hormones.
Step 3: Momma's tired. You still get 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep max. Add to those very short nights, ever lengthening days as baby is now awake more during the day. He's awake, but still kinda just a blob. He doesn't want to look at a toy, or lay on the floor and watch his sisters play. Nope, he wants to be held... preferably while you're standing and doing a steady, but gentle bounce.
Step 4: You get sick. With the girls it was an unexplained fever for a few days. This time it's mastitis. My theory here is that your body needs you to take it easy for a few days, so it just figuratively pushes you down like a mean bully in between classes in high school.
Step 5: Pride rears it's ugly head. You could ask for help. You could call a friend or mom or babysitter. You could let the house go and just order supper and make your husband pick it up on his way home...but you don't. Because it should be getting easier, not harder. Everyone expects that you've made it through the worst part, so to call now would be to admit defeat. Stupid you.
Steps 1-5 are my theory on why weeks 6-9 are harder than weeks 0-3. And, like I said, I had forgotten (and it has only been 18 months!!). So, dear blog reading friends, while it may not be true for everyone, what if it is for your friend? When you drop off dinner for her on her second day home with her sweet newborn set an alarm in your phone to come back over in 6 weeks. Then, don't call, just show up. Let her cry for a while ('cause she will), make her eat something ('cause she hasn't), then make her go lay down and you bounce that chunky monkey that was once her tiny newborn.
Happy it's week 9!