While I was at home with a baby and my friends were enjoying there youth, not only was I was having really bad FOMO (fear of missing out) but I was struggling to balance work and motherhood. If it wasn’t for my mom friends I would have went through severe depression.
Having friends that have experienced similar issues makes what your going through much easier to talk about. Sometimes we share all the good and happy news but don’t like to talk about the ugly side of motherhood. The side that causes your hormones to rage in ways you never knew. I experienced extreme sadness, anxiety and self doubt after my third child and was diagnosed with postpartum depression.
For months I was embarrassed to share my real thoughts because I didn’t want to claim postpartum depression because then that would make it real. That would mean I had a problem. I researched as much as I could and learned about all the symptoms, most of which I had except the suicidal thoughts.
I was still in denial. Everyone says it’s normal to have postpartum after you’ve had a kid, even your doctor but I felt embarrassed. Instead of dealing with it I tried to over compensate. I tried to look and act like everything was fine. Like life was peaches and cream and I couldn’t complain but I was totally lying. I was unraveling to the point where I couldn’t even hold it in any longer.
My man was working 14 hour days which left me to tend to all three kids alone, my daughter was experiencing bullying, my sons grades were failing and I was having mom guilt for going back to work.
I was constantly worried and anxious.
I was worried about relying on Kiddie Commute (basically a kid Uber) to pick up my daughter from school because I couldn’t. My babysitter was diagnosed with cancer and I didn’t trust any one but her to watch my son which triggered my anxiety even more.
My job was a toxic environment and I was on the verge of loosing my job. The stress of figuring out how to get back to normalcy with my team after maternity leave was proving to be harder than I expected in the mist of putting my baby first and taking sick days when needed.
I felt like I was getting pulled in two different directions. I wasn’t even sure if work was even for me anymore because I felt like I had lost my mojo because I came back and there were so many changes. I had so much self doubt and it was a real sucky feeling to feel not good enough.
Then to top it off, breastfeeding and pumping was taking over my life and the joy I once had to be able to provide my milk slowly became agony. I remember spilling milk one day and crying ugly Kim Kardashian tears because of it. Or the time I forgot one little piece and couldn’t get the breast pump to work so I could only pump one breast at each lactation break so I had to spend the majority of the day in pain.
The whole breastpumping process was becoming to much. People always urge you to breastfeed because breast is best for your baby but they never tell you how much time is spent actually doing it. I wonder if when doctors and lacation specialistis push you to breastfeed if they even consider if it’s good you.
I mean it’s free and all and that’s great but is it worth it when you feel like your slowly loosing your mind over it. I knew all the health benefits that breastfeeding provided but was feeling like I couldn’t go the whole year like I wanted because I was so over it. I was so close to giving up (BTW I’m still hanging in there and baby Kalvin is 8 months, I can’t believe it).
I was just in a season of suffering.
Some days I cried spontaneously. There were times I couldn’t even sleep because I couldn’t stop crying. I had little or no appetite. My thoughts were constantly racing. All I could think was why did I even have another child? Why is it just one thing after another? Why would God put all this on my plate for me to suffer?
I knew I had to be put on this earth to do more than just settle with the way my life was going. I was running on fumes and at my breaking point.
I just remember one day thinking I need help. I need my happy back. Once I decided to be truthful about my feelings I opened up to a friend and she said pray. So I prayed. I prayed for strength to open up and seek help because I felt like my body was going haywire.
I just didn’t feel like myself.
My confidence was going down. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. Life just seemed harder than usual. I grew so negative and irritable and since I wasn’t expressing myself and was internalizing everything I started lashing out from frustration which was making everything worst.
When I’d have an outburst of emotion my family would throw postpartum depression up in my face and that made me angry and more ashamed.
The day I told my doctor was such a relief.
I hadn’t planned on it so I was hesitant at first but once I started talking I couldn’t stop. I put everything on the table and just hearing myself talk honestly about the list of things that were a domino affect on my emotions made me feel like how could I not be depressed?
I finally felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. For a second I felt like I was going crazy. My doctor made me feel safe and comfortable enough to share my true thoughts. He recommended that I take some time off work and that I enroll in a postpartum group to be around other moms experiencing postpartum depression. I’m not into making new friends but the support groups were really encouraging. Knowing I wasn’t alone reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for feeling the way I was.
He also prescribed me an antidepressant to help with my depression that he said wouldn’t interfere with my breastfeeding but I was scared to take it. Instead, I did his other recommendations which were to get more rest and do more things that I enjoy. For me what also helped was talking to non judgmental friends and reducing the stress in my life.
One of the ways I reduced my stress was by working on changing my thought process. It was hard but I had to in order to feel better. Instead of stressing about the things I couldn’t control I decided to pick one thing a day that gave me a reason to be grateful and there’s always something to be grateful for. My three little ones are my whys. They are the reasons I decided to get help for my depression.
Now my symptoms are improving.
Postpartum depression is nothing like what I imagined it to be like. I thought I didn’t have it because I didn’t want to kill myself or my baby. What I learned is that there are many other symptoms that you can have to be diagnosed with it. It’s quite common and it’s not your fault.
The more you talk about it the more you’ll find how common it is and that there’s help available. Also, the sooner you get help, the sooner you’ll be equipped to cope with depression and enjoy your new baby and beautiful family.
I’m super grateful for my newest edition. Babies are a blessing! He’s exactly what I needed I just didn’t see for awhile. If your struggling like I was don’t hesitate to get help. I wish I would have got some help sooner.
Take your brave face off, put your pride to the side and get the love and support you need. I share my story not only to spread awareness but so that anyone going through hard times will remember that if you can get through it you can get through anything momma!
-From a mom with ppd