I know I haven’t shared the birth story but long story short, delivery was long and rough and left me feeling very very beat up. My experience and recovery played a big role in my ppd. Everyone’s experience is different and today I’m sharing mine.
After we got past the breastfeeding hump I thought we were out of the woods. We were not. By week two (which conveniently lined up with K’s 36 hour trip to Chicago) I realized that the “baby blues” were full blown depression. I’m going to be super honest here and tell you how I felt at my lowest low.
The strongest feelings were loneliness and regret. I mourned the freedom and life I’d lost. I felt like a prisoner to my life. My days were the same over & over and my nights were long and lonely. My body wasn’t working correctly and everything hurt. I had a two week driving ban so I couldn’t leave the house on my own- with or without M. I didn’t really want any visitors but I hated being alone. I felt like motherhood wasn’t meant for me & I was failing. I told K that I “hated” this. I thought we made a mistake by having a child.
I know that my attitude and emotions rubbed off on K and stressed him out. He was balancing work (including my workload) and my mental & physical health and M’s wellbeing and his own health and lack of sleep. I knew I was draining him & ruining his newborn days, too. He was extremely concerned about my mental state. My parents were, too.
Two weeks after M arrived I called my doctor and, between sobs, choked out my symptoms to a very kind nurse. They had me in the following day and we worked out a plan and prescription. A few days later I felt like a whole new human.
With my driving restricts lifted (and K back home) I felt a little more confident to leave the house with M. And I realized that I have people who WANT to watch her and help me- so occasionally I can go out without her, too. I started to see her as a human- MY human; not just a baby or a life sentence or an anchor. I kissed her face more and sang to her and smiled at her gassy grins- even at 2am. A fog lifted and I realized that I am a mom and M is my heart in human form and these days will not last forever- for better or worse.
My mom and K saw the change in me as soon as it happened. We’ve been doing pretty great since then. Things aren’t always easy and I still feel like I’m working on a bond with M since we got a delayed start, but I am so grateful that we took action as soon as the ppd set in.
A few things I want to note…
Medication and mindfulness (and sleep) worked for me and I’m very grateful for that. I know this treatment plan might not work for everyone. It’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling and what you need. Talk to professionals as soon as you notice something is going on.
ALSO- I personally believe that it’s completely normal to mourn the life you “lost.” Having a baby is a HUGE change and it’s almost impossible to fully grasp what it will do to your present and future. In addition to the regret & sadness, I had no happiness or excitement about our future with M- and that was my glaring red flag. Stress, sadness, regret, and frustration are normal… but complete hopelessness is not. If something feels wrong, it is wrong. Don’t ignore it.
I am not a natural caregiver. Motherhood is not something that came fast or easy for me. Every day feels a little better and I gain more confidence. Some moms are naturals and some are more like me- and I think either way is great. Like all self care mantras, if you don’t take care of yourself and feel good you won’t be able to take care of others- and that includes your own child.
Family & friends have been so supportive and wonderful- including blog friends. We’re doing really well right now. M is sleeping a little better & our routine is a little more consistent; two things I desperately needed to happen. I know every day is different and new, but having the mental clarity to tackle it has been key. Hopefully this helps someone else and I can be a shoulder for women and future moms to lean on ♥