The struggle is very real. So, why don't we talk about it more?
Why am I sitting here behind a computer feeling alone, feeling afraid, feeling insane that I'm going to try and put my feelings on paper (digital paper, mind you). Postpartum depression. This weird cloud that sits over you in a time of your life that should be so blissful. Why me? I'm confused. I'm lost. This precious thing I wished for so, so long has changed me and I don't know who I am anymore.
I'm going to sit here and write through my shaking hands. I'm going to get this out. I want to free these feelings and I want to connect with you. I feel you behind the screen. I read your DM's saying, "Me too, girl!" and "Ugh. I'm right there with you. You're doing amazing!" You sweet mamas are doing amazing, too. If you're struggling with postpartum depression, please note before reading on that everyone struggles differently. No matter what you're dealing with, I'm praying for you. I am no professional and what you're going to read is merely my thoughts on paper. Things that go through my mind daily. Questions, confusion, worry... All between some of the happiest days of my life. Postpartum depression is weird like that.
I'm working on myself, for myself.
From the Beginning
I have a history of anxiety and depression. More so, anxiety than anything. About halfway through my pregnancy is when my mind started to wonder if postpartum depression was going to affect me. Writing that out makes me feel like a weirdo, but I think I was trying to be self-aware. From time to time, I would come across articles and read through stories or facts around postpartum depression. It's such a crazy thing and affects everyone so differently. Motherhood as a whole is kind of like that. You really have zero control over anything. Getting pregnant, pregnancy, birth, and beyond. Not knowing how you're going to be on the other side of it isn't something many people focus on. Why would you? You have a sweet gift on his/her way.
Now, sitting here 9 months postpartum it's interesting looking back on what my views were then. I remember saying, "Even if I do have it, I'm sure it can't be any different then what I've felt before... And besides, I'll have a sweet baby!".
It's obvious that bringing a child into the world is going to bring a whole lot of change. It's not obvious on the change that happens within you after pregnancy. Growing a human is the most insane, unreal beautiful thing. Like, what? It blows my mind what our bodies can do. Just sitting here thinking about what my beautiful, strong, poor, amazing body went through is a crazy thought.
What I can't really comprehend is the change that happened in my mind, my soul, and my heart.
For those of you new around here, the birth plan Kirby and I had set in place didn't happen. Our natural birth at a birthing center went from zero to a hundred, real quick. It's interesting reading Addison's birth story today. I can still so vividly remember so many scenes, faces and conversations from those first few days. What sits here gnawing at me over and over again... I can't remember the moment Addison came into this world.
I can't recall the first noise he made or how loud his cry was because I was knocked out. It's difficult thinking about the excitement my family had of his arrival because I don't feel like I was there. I didn't get to hold my baby and stare into his eyes right after going through the most pain in my life. Instead, I sat coming to, wondering what happened, looking at family sitting around me excited and scared.
Seeing images of others getting those moments kills me. I'm jealous. I'm brought right back to that negative feeling of being let down. My dreams of what birth was going to be were shattered and ripped from me. I sit here bawling as I write this... It kills me that I don't really remember the day my son was born. Of course I remember every single moment leading up to it... and then black. I have small moments of Kirby turning the corner with our baby and telling me it's a boy. I remember the feeling of his body being laid on my chest. We did it, I thought. He's here, I'm here... We're here.
I loved reading the end of his birth story. I was so strong only 2 short weeks after having my life flipped upside down. I still am. Please know that I am thankful for every damn thing that happened to me. Addison is here and he arrived exactly how he was supposed to. Wrapping my heart around that isn't the issue... It's wrapping my brain around the fact that those moments will never happen with Addi & I. That's what shatters my heart time and time again.
Of course, my postpartum depression isn't just because of a crazy birth, but that's a huge thing I feel looming over me. I know it holds a lot of power and I know working through my feelings is one step in overcoming these thoughts, worries and the feeling of disconnect from myself. As Addison's 1st birthday gets closer these feelings around his birth have become a frequent thought. I'm not sure if it's because my sweet baby is almost one or because I'm coming up on the day that was absolutely insane and unreal beautiful all at once. A day I look at sometimes feeling sorrow for how things happened. Questioning what I could have done differently and beating myself up for decisions I made.
I don't want to get into the depths of some of those dark feelings of guilt, blame and so many other things. Maybe another post, maybe not.
I sit here struggling how to start this paragraph. Where am I in my postpartum depression now? I'm still here - But I'm progressing. I'm going through ups and downs filled with questions, laughter, worry and lots of tears. Kirby Richard is a God sent. To be totally honest, today was a bad day (which brings me to this post...). For 9 months I have been trying to figure out how to solve the problem. How to "fix" my mind or how to get back to feeling like me.
"I'll focus on my work more, I just need time to do it and feel that passion again."
"Let's go on a date night, I just need to get out more & connect with you a little."
"How about I go to the mall or get my nails done? I probably just need to do something I know I love."
Enough. I've had ENOUGH. I'm sick of making excuses. The problem is me. I've lost a big part of me through transitioning to motherhood. I focus all of my time on raising my son, making sure the house & our life are in order, and growing my business. I've lost a will to take time out for myself. I can't fix the problem until I stop. Like, literally slow down & stop. This is all very much a work in progress that I'm sure I will continue to share through my daily Instagram stories and social posts.
Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can.
I'm not looking for pity or anyone to be concerned with how I'm doing. I am good. Focusing on me, my God and my little family. I'm happy and living a great life. I'm writing this and being as raw as I can be because this is an issue so many women are struggling with. Please don't feel the need to reach out and check in on me. What you can do from this post is act! Reach out to a new mama and go sit with her. Think twice before judging a mama and the life she is portraying. Someone dealing with postpartum depression is much closer to you than you know. Be the light you're looking for.
I truly cherish this little spot I hold on the web. I am hear listening, feeling and sending love out to anyone needing it.