* If you know (or are) a new mom with this or other bizarre behavior, let family and friends know that there is help, that the babies are doing fine, but that professional intervention is required (some resources at the bottom). Postpartum mood disorders are temporal and treatable, it's not the new mom's fault and she needs love and reassurance. This is some of the behavior I observed recently in a closed and beloved friend.
If you really want to suffer and have an endless terrible time caring for your newborn, follow these steps:
- Avoid any links - Being connected to your baby makes things easier, babies get comforted really fast, go to sleep very fast, even for naps, and communicate their problems really fast, if you keep avoiding any connecting activities, you'll stress out every feeding, every diaper change, every little accident, it will all become a tragedy, it will keep you restless at night because you just won't know if the baby is OK. Breast-feeding is a no no, babywearing...forget about it (you can always claim that babies have to "open their legs widely and yours simply can't" or any other really nonsense one. Also, change diapers every hour, peed or not, so that you'll miss signs about it as well and never will know when it is really necessary to do it.
- Always think the worst - I can assure you that this logic is going to take you to the ER at least on one occasion, so you'd better be prepared and have a nice health insurance that doesn't raise a flag after the third visit, or use different policies to not get caught. If your baby falls from the bed, it is most likely a concussion, it most likely hit the baby in the soft spot and if it's your baby, then that's the most delicate thing in the entire planet. Run to the pediatrician with a cold because, you know, it can become pneumonia. And when your baby finally sleeps through the night, think that this time it's something really really bad. That will take your stressometer up to the roof.
- Stay away from the convenience - Make sure you have the leakiest smelliest diapers you can find, so that you can complain about them openly, don't get any baby gear that will help you cope with your day to day activities, vanish good finger food and replace it with candies, if your baby likes a toy and feels happy with it, always lose it and forget it. If you get out, don't bring a diaper bag or means to feed the baby, that will force whomever you are to bring you back home and create unnecessary drama that you can later brag about with your mom or your spouse.
- Run away - Your spouse is useless, he's never understanding, he wants to help but he's working all day long and he doesn't know how to take care of YOUR baby. Time to pack, leave to your mom's house and say "see you in a month". Running from your responsibilities always solves the problems, they just stay behind. This works better if your folks live far away, because plane tickets are expensive to change or cancel. Everybody will be on the alert because the baby is having problems, you'll have your beloved ones so worried about the baby, they won't see that the problem is with someone else. You can always go to a friend's house or a sibling if your folks are not available, but remember, the farther away, the better.
- Listen to your mother - After all, our moms raised us and we turned out fine, right? They are way wiser than the baby doctors, new investigations and findings and they love us. So, if she says put cognac on the gums, listen to her. All those myths and rules that you have to follow are going to make taking care of a baby even harder and are going to make your gut instinct even more silent. Babies have to be bathed daily, head first, and at least half an hour after eating, with special soap, never in the shower and with your eyes blinded because the sight of the mother can bring new germs to the baby. If the baby poops a lot, there must be something wrong, if the baby doesn't poop at all in the day, time to go to the ER, allow her to take the baby off your hands, that for sure will keep the link between you two decreasing.
- Never rest - You never know when the baby pees, stops breathing or may have a tear out, it is impossible to predict. That means you cannot rest. Forget about eating or sleeping, you have to watch the baby 24/7 to make sure nothing will happen. Don't take care of yourself, nor allow any other person to take care of the baby while you take a bath, if the baby is sleeping, watch every single breath, something weird may happen, she may breathe funny, her eyes may roll a little, she may do something you had not seen before and that is a priceless opportunity for drama.
- Resist disconfirmations - If you see a problem and anybody else, even the whole world, tells you there's nothing to be afraid of, distrust them and look for a second, third and fifth opinion, if those also agree, then look for a sixth or act upon your fears anyway. Nothing better than this to call for drama and attract attention. If there's an outbreak on Carseatitus, your baby must definitely have it, so go to the pediatrician and have the baby tested, if it comes negative, don't get alleviated, most likely there was a mistake, or the disease doesn't appear in analysis yet, so come back in 2 weeks, just to make sure, and always ask the doctor if there is anything else that can be done, ask for a specialist and a referral and make every single medical test under the sun, then come back to the PCP and tell him that it was diagnosed, even if not the case.
- Cry - Nothing as effective to manipulate your close loved ones than with tears. It doesn't matter if the baby is fine, do it anyway, anytime, anywhere.
- Be Judgmental - Anything less than perfection is not accepted, neither with your kids nor with others, and what you do is what is correct, so why is it that nobody else does it? Call it out, judge, be nasty, tell other moms all the things that are wrong with their kids, be tactless and rude. Doing things differently may mean that what you do is wrong and you can't take that. Plus, it will scare your friends away so that they can't see what is lying underneath. And you'll be alone and miserable, just your favorite place.
If you or someone around you needs help, here are some immediate websites that will direct you to the appropriate channels: