Here is an entry from my journal in July, 2016. I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety for about four months, and although it wasn’t as long as some amazing mama’s deal with it, it was still very overwhelming. Can you relate to this?
“Not just a hard time. Not just a bad day.
Not something that goes away with a good cry or a bowl of ice cream.
Not something that you can just “pick yourself up” and walk away from.
Feeling like a small piece of matter, occupying space in the world.
Wishing your husband had a better wife. Longing for an appetite. Always seeking another distraction.
Constant fear and worry that something bad will happen to your child.
Hoping you’ll wake up from this dream to feeling normal again.
Loneliness; even when there are people around.
The ability to put on a happy face with a group of people, but crying later because you feel like none of them would understand if you told them.
Someone says, “Let me know if I can help.” and on the inside you’re pleading, but don’t know what you need. So you just sit there, and you say nothing.
Feeling crazy. Crying without a purpose. Spiraling thoughts.
Clinging to “good moments” because you know they will pass quickly.
Feeling that the only person you’re connected to in this whole world, is your baby.”
Reading this gives me all sort of feelings. I don’t remember that person. I don’t even feel like I can relate to those feelings right now, but when I wrote them, they were consuming. Others who aren’t experiencing this may not relate to you either, but that doesn’t mean what you’re going through is not real.
Postpartum depression/anxiety is something I was required to become acquainted with. It wasn’t my favorite trial, but I conquered it. Unlike other things, I couldn’t conquer it all at once. I couldn’t take an antibiotic or get a surgery to make it stop. And I couldn’t run away from it. But little by little I chipped away at this wall I was climbing over.
I couldn’t wake up from it because it wasn’t a dream, but what I could do, was: Let my husband hold me. Snuggle my baby. Pray often. And I could remember that I’d conquered harder things; I’d faced bigger fears, I’d climbed bigger mountains, and this was no exception.
If you’re reading this, and you’re in the thick of postpartum depression or anxiety, I want you to know some things:
I want you to know that you are a good mom, and a good person. You are not crazy! Your body is experiencing a sudden lack, and not coping with it properly.
I want you to know that it will go away, eventually.
And most importantly, it’s okay to seek professional or medical treatment. In fact, I highly recommend it.
I want you to know that you’re worthy of being happy. And you will be happy again.
I know that you feel angry sometimes. I know you wonder if you’re forgotten, forsaken, or if you’re even loved by a higher power. I know that you crave freedom from this.
Seek help and rely on whatever power brings you strength. Go outside. Talk to someone. Turn on music, and try really hard to sing along. Smell your baby. Eat good food. Write in your journal.
Try your best to love yourself because you are worth loving. In fact, you’ve just given birth to someone who loves you more than you’ve ever been loved on this earth. Remember that.
And lastly, fight hard, even if the fight is long.
It’s not “just a hard time”, but it IS just a period of time. A time that will pass, and something you will conquer.
Whoever you are, I love you. And many, many other people do too.
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