Yuck. There is no easy way to start this. With such a recent diagnosis, it’s all still very new to me and I’m only just beginning on this journey; however, I know how I’ve been feeling these last few weeks and if there is anyone else out there, who can relate, I just want them to know that they are not alone.. I’m currently suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. Crazy, right?
My story is a little different than others that you may hear about. I’ve never questioned if I want my baby, nor have I hated becoming a mother. I don’t feel like having my son has meant that my life is over and I don’t long for my old life, like other moms have experienced. In fact, for me, I’ve felt like being a mother is the only thing I know how to do right anymore. Looking into my sons eyes is the only reassurance I can find that makes me feel as though I’m going to be okay at the end of the day and some days, the only time I smile, is when he smiles too.
This chapter of my life is supposed to be the best one yet. I’m supposed to be the happiest I’ve ever been and to a certain point I am, but then out of now where, I cry. You know, those tears that just keep coming and don’t stop? Kind of like a water hydrant that just won’t shut off. My mind races in a million different directions and trying to figure it out is like looking at a road map of the United States with no real destination.
“He is so perfect. How did I get so lucky?” “Look at his smile, I want to cling to these moments forever.” “Forever. Will I get forever with him?” “We’ve experienced so much loss, is he our ‘forever’ now?” “What if something happens to me and no one notices until he’s been alone for hours and he’s hungry?” “What if we wreck and I get stuck and can’t save him?” “What if I forget to tell him how much I love him before bed and I’m never given another chance to tell him again?” “What if he gets sick and I ignore the signs until it’s too late. Even a cold could really harm an infant.” “He’s here, he’s perfect. What happens next?”
Scary, right? And to think, they get worse. I’m so overprotective of my baby because I literally can’t control my fears of losing him. I know every mother worries, so I didn’t question my sanity at first. But then, I realized that I can’t manage these thoughts. I can’t grasp the reigns of my fears and make them stop. With these overwhelming emotions comes frustration. I thought mood swings were normal, as my body gets back to my pre-pregnancy ways, but I lash out and I’m irritable and more often than not, I can’t explain why. I chalked it up as “sleep deprivation” and I would try to justify the anger and bitterness by saying that it was just due to the lack of sleep and that all moms feel some of this pain.
I knew how to function. I could get myself dressed and ready to face the day, as if I were ‘normal’. I’d gotten so good at just “getting by” and I learned how to hide my darkness- for the most part, IF I wanted to. But I knew in my heart that something was not right. I was hesitant to talk about it. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, but I knew that I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I was afraid that if I didn’t admit it, I would never get through it and find myself again.
Today there is a sense of hope and a new freedom in my brain. It is hard to explain, but it’s like a weight has has been lifted off of my shoulders. Taking the first step and talking to my doctor has already helped me tremendously. It was hard to receive this diagnosis, in fact, her telling me I have PPD/PPA made everything that I’ve been going through that much more real. Even still, her guidance has brought some relief and belief that someday I’ll have control again, though this journey is a long one and it has only just begun for me.
For ALL my mamas, whether you’ve been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety or not, here’s some tips that I recently received that I want to share with you all. After all, I think we could all use a reminder to just slow down and breathe:
• Don’t over schedule yourself.
• Take more naps. Sleep when baby sleeps.
• Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ more often.
• Turn off your phone or computer and relax in silence.
• Try yoga, read a book, take a mental break whenever you feel stressed out.
• Talk to someone, vent, cry, do whatever it is that helps you, but be sure to just let it all out.
• Don’t feel obligated. This is your child, your life.
Most importantly, please know that you are not alone. If you’re suffering, stressed, overwhelmed, or worried, or maybe you’re just in need of a friend, don’t hesitate to message, call, or text me. Never be afraid to ask for support. Motherhood is challenging and everyone parents using their own rule book, but you do not have to do it alone.