Anyone want to talk about some postpartum depression?!
Room goes silent. Crickets start chirping. A random tumbleweed blows by even though we’re indoors.
When our oldest son, M, was born, I felt so unbelievably lost. I was in a fog and felt completely in over my head.
Not long after I gave birth to him, I got a severe infection that led to sepsis. I ended up in the hospital with IV antibiotics and eventually had to get surgery. While all this was happening, we were remodeling our house and my husband was living close to work while baby and I stayed with my mom.
When the doc hands us the brochure about postpartum depression, what does it tell us about prevention?
- Don’t make changes in your living situation
- Make sure you have continuous support
- Get sleep
- Make time for self-care
Guess who didn’t do so hot on maintaining that to-do list.
Once we were settled in our home and M was around 3 months old, my husband started traveling for work. Nothing says “recipe for disaster” like a lonely, young, new mother with severe depression.
It took around a year and a half for me to feel like myself again. Those 18 months were filled with crying on the kitchen floor, guilt, pain, and being completely neurotic when it came to the baby’s schedule (while he would eat every three hours on the dot, I would forget to feed myself for days at a time). Looking back on it, I still don’t know how my husband dealt with the load of a new baby, work, and a wife who didn’t know which way was up. Thank goodness for that man.
Alright, so now that I’ve gotten the rough part out of the way, I’m going to tell you a secret.
Postpartum depression didn’t win.
If you feel like the exhaustion and guilt are permanent, I absolutely get it. I truly believed I would be trapped in that darkness forever. Hopelessness was my state of being.
We found our rhythm, and our lives carried on. I started working out. Eventually I graduated from nursing school and began work as an RN. We had more babies. I started taking an antidepressant. Things finally felt OK. Things are currently OK.
While I still feel the pain of general MDD (major depressive disorder), I can at least view my life with clarity and appreciate the beauty in our day-to-day moments.
So know this.
There is absolutely hope. There is zero shame in seeking help through medicine, therapy, prayer – whatever it is that you need. Take care of you, mama. Learn how to love you. Because you are valuable and important, and you are the definition of beauty. Wear that messy bun and spit up stain with pride. I promise this is temporary.