I love my husband. I love my children. I love being a mother. I love drinking too much coffee and singing way too loud. I love funny movies and trash television. I love a good bubble bath and mint chocolate chip ice cream (sometimes together).
I do not love postpartum depression.
I have had seasonal depression and generalized anxiety for my whole life, through lots of therapy and training I have learned how to manage it most of the time - but postpartum depression is something completely different. I had my first run-in with PPD after having our daughter. I was so worried about how to be a good mom, compounded with the pediatrician telling me that my "milk wasn't cutting it" at only two days after birth; I was a mess. I woke Bonnie up every hour and a half to feed her for the first month, and rarely ever put her down because I was scared that she would somehow implode if I did. Most nights I slept in our recliner with her because I was too tired to keep going back and forth between the bedrooms. At my postpartum checkups, they asked me "do you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby?" and "can you still laugh at things?" - and my answers where "no, I would never!" and "of course I can!" But they never asked me the questions that I needed to hear; "do you have an all-consuming fear of killing your child accidentally?" or "do you feel like you are slowly drowning because you'll never be good enough?"
I didn't say anything to anyone because I just thought that it was normal to be overwhelmed at first, but that I would figure it out soon enough. I continued to "be strong" and take care of our baby, finish my degree, and be a source of solace for my husband who hated his job; coming home everyday completely drained and devoid of the ability to commiserate. He needed me to support him emotionally. She needed me to do everything for her - literally. And I was suffering through nights of literally almost no sleep, increasingly frequent panic attacks, and terrifying bouts of anxiety-driven paranoia about my abilities as a mother to keep my child alive, much less happy.
What I needed was someone to tell me that it was going to be okay. To take my burdens from me and let me breathe without the self-made weight upon my shoulders. I eventually sought counseling for Christopher and I, where I told him for the first time how much I was truly struggling. Through that process we thankfully worked on ourselves both separately and together - and now we are better for it.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I birthed the most beautiful baby boy in the world - it's a fact, don't fight me on it. My pregnancy had been long and hard, his delivery was traumatic while going through it - both physically and emotionally, and now I had this (beautiful) little baby who depended on me for everything; just like his much more demanding older sister. During the first couple of weeks I felt great! We had family here, then my church family came and dropped off food the next week; I was taken care of!
And then one Monday it was just me and two kids - I was ALONE. Very alone.
I found that the energy I had when there was someone else here with me was gone, and I was lonely; I fantasized about just going to the grocery store, or church! I had no drive to cook real meals, so Bonnie often had some toddler meal pouches, Cheerios, and fruit for her meals; this fueled my self-hate and thoughts that I am indeed a bad mom. I resented the fact that I was contained to my home and that my body wasn't just mine but instead belonged to my newborn who nursed 24/7; or his sister who NEEDED my lap. I cried over anything and everything.
I could feel the darkness creeping back into my life; taking my joy and replacing it with doubt and self hate. I knew that this time I couldn't do it alone - I couldn't be strong and save face.
So I became weak. I cried my eyes out on my husband's shoulder because I wasn't "okay." I made an appointment with a doctor because I NEED professional help. I reached out to my family members because I can't do it alone. I gave myself grace for my transformed body, my crying, my lack of real pants, and my need to go run errands by myself when Christopher comes home at night.
I gave it to God to carry, because I cannot carry it alone.
I wrote this post because this blog is my catharsis; my place to unload my hurts and happiness alike. I'm writing to y'all and to myself, so we all know that I am not okay - but that's okay because I'm allowed to be weak sometimes.
Thanks for reading my rants and rambles... And if you are also feeling down these days, please let me pray for you! Please speak your pain and let people know. Please be weak with me.