One year. 365 days. 4 seasons. Time has come full circle.
Last year at this time, I was just beginning to open my eyes to postpartum depression. For some reason, I had been suffering for years, but had just started reading the symptoms. And it all made sense. It all came together one day while looking online what had happened to me. and when I spoke to my Dr. she agreed. She told me I had suffered a major depressive episode and anxiety after childbirth. Major depressive episode? That’s not possible. I went to work everyday, took care of the house and kids, I wasn’t laying in bed all day crying.
Then I learned, that is NOT what PPD is. Not even CLOSE. Really?
The trouble I had falling asleep, and staying asleep? That is part of PPD. The sound of hearing the baby crying constantly? That’s part of PPD. The loss of appetite and intense irritability? PPD. The difficulty concentrating? I couldnt even make a simple grocery list! You got it, PPD. The overwhelming feeling…PPD. The not feeling like I was a good mom…PPD. Unable to leave the house alone with the baby? PPD. Lack of patience….pure RAGE, feeling disconnected from everyone else, not bonding with my baby. PPD Then we go deeper…thoughts of harming your baby…PPD, Thoughts of harming yourself…PPD. Thoughts of running away. That was me at my worst. Hallucinations…PPD. R hand tremor from anxiety..PPD
That was survival mode. I had no clue what else would come of it. See, when your in it, you just want to get out. You don’t think of the repercussions after. So now I’m left with…guilt and regret. I never enjoyed my baby. I dreaded taking care of her. I dreaded when she would wake up and need to be fed and changed. I missed out on so many great things and I live with that every day. It hurts more than actually living through the hell I went through. It cuts deep to my soul and I’ll live with the scars forever.
So, have some understanding for the mom with the 3 kids at the grocery store, chasing them around. Have sympathy for the mom with the crying baby in the target checkout line. What about that mom changing her baby in the stroller, because there is not a changing table around? But most important, look at that mommy, with the new baby…and when someone tells her how lucky she is, a dull look falls over her face; yet she still musters up a smile and says thank you. I can tell you exactly what she’s thinking, because Ive been her. And I love her, and I respect the hell out of her. She’s braver than you’ll ever know. She fights monsters all day long to take care of that little baby. And she pulls herself together more often than not.
Something else you don’t expect. PTSD. Yes, when you live though something like this, it’ll come back to haunt you. My first daughter was born May 4, 2012. This would be a happy time for most people, not for me. My Daughter turned 5 this year and I had to hold myself together on her birthday. The spring, the days getting longer, the way the sun rises and sets all reminds me. It reminds me of those first days..her first days. How lost I felt, how exhausted I was. I remember sitting on the couch at 4 in the morning, the sun was rising and thinking….holy shit Ive been up all night? Because I had been. Breastfeeding and pumping, changing, pumping, breastfeeding. By the time you settle back down, the baby is up again. Those days were hell, and I wont go back, ever. I wont be that girl. But those times sit on my heart, they make it heavy.
So let me say….enjoy your baby. They smell so delicious. They’ll cry and keep you up all night. Enjoy it. Enjoy their first smile, soak it all in. When they first laugh, when they’re sick and just want to be cuddled. They’re first roll, first time crawling, walking, first words. Don’t give it up for anything. They’ll be amazed at so many little things, stop and enjoy it with them.
Trust yourself. Your feelings matter. Dont ever let anyone make you feel crazy because your not. If it matters to you, it’s important. Trust yourself, believe in yourself. You got this mama.