Here’s the truth about postpartum depression and a look into my own personal story of how I struggled. More importantly, I’m sharing what I did to get me out of the fog made all the difference.
First of all, I have not always been so brave. Up until I became a mom, I was still trying to figure myself out. Kevin and I had Kourtney and we became parents. After giving birth I thought I would just get it, I didn’t. I was so sad and felt like a failure every day. I was successfully breastfeeding and that alone seemed like the biggest accomplishment for me, I didn’t want to change anything because I was afraid I would mess things up.
So I nursed Koko exclusively for 18 months. She never took a bottle and she never had formula… I broke down several times, I was so lonely and looking back I cringe at the memory of how depressed I was. I was walking around in a literal fog for over a year. I was so stressed I convinced myself that having another baby right away would get it over with quickly, meaning the hard newborn phases, breastfeeding, sleep loss, etc. Oh yeah, Kourtney was a terrible sleeper, she would wake up 4 or 5 times a night every night and I was exclusively breastfeeding…. I am not against breastfeeding, but looking back I realize how hard it made my motherhood journey and I resent it for that. Would I have been happier? Maybe, probably not… anyways, I was convinced that having another baby was a good idea. Kevin went along with what I was saying, so I must have sounded convincing. We started trying and were not really taking it seriously because I was breastfeeding.
Some time in the summer of 2016 I got pregnant. We were concerned for a few weeks because my HCG level was not increasing as it should and I had some bleeding. My body still thought I was pregnant and I was devastated that it was not a viable pregnancy. My body rejected the miso pills and I ended up having a DNC. I drove myself, and stopped at the market for some groceries before I went home… I remember vividly how I felt. For the next several weeks I was in a dark hole. I do not really remember what the day to day looked like, but I was so sad and angry over the loss. I gave up and was just going to do the best I could to enjoy what we had. Time passed and I was just coping.
I got pregnant only 3 months after our loss. It stemmed like a way for god to wake my ass up since we weren’t trying again. I mean at that point, I was at the lowest of all lows. I had beautiful healthy Koko with me but I was so insecure as mom I could not even enjoy her. The lord works in mysterious ways. I now believe that the miscarriage was gods way of saying look I am not going to give you another baby until you are able to enjoy the process.
When I realized this one day I swear I went to Kevin and told him I realized I had PPD and I broke down over how hard it was over the last year. Scared to death and after everything we had been through, Kevin couldn’t bare to see me that low again and I don’t think I was strong enough to handle it anymore.
My pregnancy wasn’t the best…ok, it was not good at all. My veins were enormous, to the point where doctors were concerned. My delivery was not fun either. This time though I was experienced in c-section recovery and I hit the ground running totally determined to be a better person this time! I actually really did try and get up off the surgical table before I was stitched… lol. Everyone laughed then too. When I was discharged I requested medication for PPD.
I started right away and struggled with Kalvin nursing because he was tongue tied. I exclusively pumped for awhile. 6-8 months! It was hell. Imagine me home alone with 3 dogs. a 1 year old and a newborn…. trying to pump. oh lord. The medication helped though and I was actually feeling like a normal person for once. It wasn’t until I started to feel normal again that I was BRAVE enough to publicly talk about it. I really feel like I am morally obligated to talk to women about my experience.
When you are lost in the fog you don’t even know you were in it, till you are out of it.
Taking a stand against it by taking medication makes me BRAVE. I will bravely admit that I am still on medication now, and I do not plan to stop taking it until my toddlers are no longer toddlers… I vowed to get healthier and have made my fitness and self care a priority. No matter if Kevin gripes or not. I take the time for me. I need it… I need to be me. Its not punishment for being a stay at home mom, its a reward yes, but there are only so many sacrifices someone should make to stay home. Surviving PPD I found myself again. I remembered the things that made me laugh, the things that I liked to do for fun, and I remembered how it felt to just feel good!
Find peace with simple acts of self care
I always complained about how I never had time for myself. When I had my second baby I really had no time for myself, so I had to create time. I would take a longer shower, put on makeup while the kids played, or pay a babysitter so that I could just leave the house alone.
Talk to someone you trust
The hardest thing about going through PPD is talking to anyone about how you are feeling. When you are going through PPD you are not going to wake up one day and realize that your depressed. Talk to someone you trust, tell them the signs of PPD and tell them that you need their genuine help to look out for warning signs and give them permission to encourage you to get help from a doctor.
I knew what PPD was, I read the warnings and I assumed I would be okay to help myself if I needed to. WRONG. The way I felt when I had PPD paralyzed me. I was so insecure, in denial, and lost I would not admit anything was wrong, I was so busy trying to put on a front that I was okay.
My second pregnancy gave me a valid reason to point out to my husband that I had PPD and that I needed HELP making the decision to get HELP. We came up with a plan together and an agreement about me taking prescriptions. It was important that Kevin and I come up with this plan before I had Kalvin. One thing I learned the first time going through PPD was that something about it made it impossible for me to admit anything.
Do what makes you HAPPY
People naturally judge each other. A new mom is judged so hard and so is everything else she touches. My advice, adapt the IDGAF attitude and ignore it. Do what makes you happy. When you have a baby you wont really know how to do this and you will make excuses about more important things to be doing. You need to just put all duties aside, realize that this is a chapter in your life that you need to weather, and part of weathering this storm is surviving by making yourself happy. For me, I needed to get out of the house, and I needed to be alone. I ended up having to hire a babysitter to help me with the kids so I could get a break.
Talking to my husband and making a plan together before I gave birth was definitely the biggest reason why I got help quick my second time. I was not ashamed to admit I had PPD. I actually felt BRAVE for fighting back. I didn’t get brave enough to publicly start talking about my story until I started sharing how amazing I felt. I know I feel great because I survived PPD and I am so proud of myself.