This is a post that I have struggled writing. I have started and stopped so many times. I don't usually get into deeply personal topics on this blog. But postpartum depression has been such a taboo topic in our country and I think it's time to change that. More women are shedding light on this subject and sharing their stories. This is mine.
There was a very dark period in my life recently. Something broke inside me after I gave birth to my fifth child almost a year ago. There were some personal reasons that attributed to it, but I will not disclose what on a public forum. I confided in a few people who I am close to about what was going on at the time. Opening up to my midwives were probably the first helpful step in a slow recovery process.
The postpartum depression hit immediately following Ellia's birth. The first personal situation happened just hours after she was born. I remember that day I had retreated to bed and chose to ignore what had happened. As the early postpartum days went by, I realized I had this terrible fear of being alone. I couldn't function. All I could do was nurse my baby, take some pictures of her and the kids, and sleep. I would sit in my bed rocking her and just cry my eyes out wondering what in the world my problem was. I couldn't get a grip. All I could do was cry.
Then came moments of panic where I couldn't bare the thought of my husband going back to work. I cried when I thought of him missing out on this precious time in our lives. I couldn't explain to him that I felt so isolated and that I felt like no one in the world cared. So when he did go back to work, I would make sure some one was at the house with me, whether it was a friend or family member. I was terrified of being alone. I didn't realize that my panic at the thought of being alone was a huge sign of postpartum depression.
As the weeks went on, my intrusive thoughts were more unbearable. I was really starting to think that I was worthless. There were times I just wanted to run away. And then the guilt of that made the postpartum depression even worse. I would think to myself, "why am I feeling this way? I love my children. I take care of them. I am a GOOD mother."
Finally, when my baby was around four or five months old, I attended a birth conference. At that conference, there was a session on postpartum depression and anxiety. I cried during several of the points the speaker made, because I could relate to so many of them. I just couldn't bring myself out of this black cloud that consumed my life.
At some point, I grew weary of being so depressed. Of not wanting to socialize. It was beginning to tear my marriage apart. So around seven months postpartum, I decided to take back control of my life. I made an appointment with my midwife to discuss that I was still struggling with the depression and anxiety, along with an entire host of health issues.
Going forward, we made a plan to get me healthy again physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She encouraged me to make these decisions for myself, not just for my family. It was in that decision I made that I remembered my value. I have previously overcome domestic abuse and I am a rape survivor. I've come too far to give up now.
While I can admit that my moods aren't perfect, I am doing so much better. Our current life situation has been a bit frustrating, so that continues to affect my recovery. I smile, laugh, and enjoy my family again. I regularly visit with family and friends. The joy that was dampened inside of me has been renewed. I am still taking steps forward and getting better week by week.
I often post on Instagram about my progress in taking my health back. I have been adapting to a gluten free lifestyle, on a weight loss journey, and working on a positive state of mine. Follow me on Instagram @newandnaturalmom.