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30th Oct 2012

“Allow Yourself Some Tears”- Evanne Ní Chuilinn on Battling the Baby Blues, and Why it’s OK to Cry

"Hormones are unpredictable, all powerful, and an unfortunate part of our journey." RTÉ presenter Evanne Ní Chuilinn says it's ok to cry... everyone does it.


When the wee man was just 3 weeks old, he got acne.

Every inch of his face was covered in angry boils and pimples, and there was nothing we could do, except wait. Wait for my hormones to leave his body. For my part, we weren’t home from hospital a wet week when the switch flipped. I lost the plot over how much broccoli should have been put in the steamer for dinner. I lambasted the big man for “doing it wrong” as he prepared his son’s first bath at home. Worse still, I called him “clueless”, IN FRONT OF HIS MOTHER! My dear friends, hormones are evil.  

I didn’t notice anything during the early months of pregnancy, but as my due date approached, I was a blubbering fool. I would cry at the drop of a hat. During the Olympics, there was an ad on TV about all the Mums who helped raise today’s Olympians. I had to switch it off. Every time it came on. 

We’ve talked about baby brain and baby weight, but we haven’t addressed the minefield that is, baby blues. Brought on by those blasted hormones, it is definitely the least enjoyable part of becoming a new Mum. And I’m not making light of the issue – far from it. Not unlike many mental health issues, the baby blues or postnatal depression is a bit of a taboo subject. 

Granted, getting into an argument about how much broccoli I want for dinner is totally ridiculous. But the reason behind my irrationality and hyper emotional state during that first week home from the hospital was quite serious. I remember crying for a couple of days, but if you asked me now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you why. I cried when the big man was at work, and the little man was asleep in my arms. If you had met me then, or if you were one of my many visitors during that time, you’d never have known. I was supposed to be happy. I was supposed to be buoyed by this incredible journey I, and we, were taking as a family. Sobbing over spilt milk, literally, was not ok. It was not part of the ‘happy’ bubble we were supposed to be in.

We were happy. We are happy. And of course, I was overjoyed by the arrival of Séimí. But when your body is overflowing with hormones, and you don’t quite know how to get a long sleeved vest onto an 8 pound pile of delicate flesh and bone, and said pile is projectile vomiting every second meal, the bubble pops momentarily, and it’s ok to get overwhelmed. 

I was lucky, (and so was himself), that this unstable period lasted just a couple of days. Others are not so lucky. I am so conscious now of how a baby’s arrival can affect young women like me, that it’s the first thing I think about when a friend or acquaintance welcomes their first born into the family. I have always been obsessed with babies, I have always said I’d love a huge family, and I’d have scoffed at the notion of being depressed or down when you have just been blessed with the one thing you wanted in life. But hormones are unpredictable, all powerful, and an unfortunate part of our journey.

We need to know that it is ok to have a little sob when we just can’t handle another visitor. You have been up all night, and not for the exciting reasons that supported your insomnia last year. Your little one has an eye infection and it’s a bank holiday Monday. You can’t find the public health nurse’s phone number. Your car seat isn’t clicking in properly and it’s bucketing down with rain. The bin man didn’t collect the bin. You forgot to put out the bin. Whatever triggers your tears today, shed them safe in the knowledge that the girl three doors down, whose name you don’t know, but whose baby is a week older than yours, is sobbing uncontrollably because she can’t find the remote control and she really needs to watch Dr. Phil during this nap time. PND or even a brief dose of the baby blues is a fact of life, and it’s ok. Don’t support the taboo, live in the moment, allow yourself some tears, and until the feeling subsides, steal a few bonus cuddles from that precious bundle of yours upstairs.


We’re all in the same boat, friends. 

Chat next week.


E xxx