I wanted to get a little personal this week, but before I get started I want to put a trigger warning on this post. This will be about Postpartum Depression.
What is postpartum depression and why does no one feel like they can talk about it?
The dictionary defines PPD as; depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
I think that’s a nice way to sum it up without going too deep. Unfortunately, that definition just barely touches the surface. Most women have been made to feel that there’s something wrong with them if they have feelings have sadness, overwhelm, anxiety, and anger following childbirth but the reality is we all go through hormonal changes but the varying degrees are what can separate our journeys.
Mine started a few days into being a mother, my counselor had warned me that the first 72 hrs post birth is when the biggest hormonal shift happens. I listened and I thought I was prepared. I had left the hospital 24hrs after a 13hr birthing process where I was only at the hospital for about 5hr and 41min of all of that. I was lucky enough to have had my husband home for the first week of being parents where we basically locked out the world besides my awesome mom who brought us baby goodies and let us take showers. Those 6 days at home we slept (okay, he slept), watched way too much TV, and loved on our newborn son. Seven days went by and it was time for my husband to go back to work, I definitely again thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. At all. I spent the next 3 weeks in my bathrobe and pajamas basically 24 hrs a day trying to nurse only to discover my sons latch just wasn’t going to work for us. I switched to pumping full time, feeling even more like I had lost all control of my body and myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful that my body was able to provide for my son for the 9 weeks it did before I got sick. But here’s the deal, postpartum for me was sneaky. It was full of isolating, crying, and thinking I HAD to do it all.
Being a brand-spankin’-new mom, wife (less than a yr), and entrepreneur meant that I felt like I had to have the clean house since I was staying home, the perfect child, and I hoped my business would be successful. Besides a healthy child none of this happened. I showered maybe 2x a week, my house looked like a bomb went off, I was hating my body on the regular because I had gained (a healthy amount) weight and my body looked foreign to me, all I wanted to do was sleep and the crying baby really got under my skin (I always take care of little man, don’t worry), and most of all I was doubting our choice to get pregnant in the first place. My husband, bless his heart, had no idea how to help me and still doesn’t. He tries so hard to do the dishes and help when asked but most days its even hard to look at him, but he doesn’t know that. But that’s the thing, postpartum depression looks like so many different things for different people. Personally, like I mentioned it was isolating… which meant I had to force myself out the house and to stop bingeing on netflix drama series crap. It was crying… over nothing and everything. I remember sitting on the couch talking to my son about how great he was going to be and how he could do anything when he grows up and bam, it hit, the tears and I KNEW PPD was in my world now. I let it take over. It took over my relationship with my son, my husband, friends, and even my business.
About two weeks ago I read this article about the 100 days of darkness, basically the 1st 100 days postpartum and it talked about how big the adjustment is and how dark it is for most mothers. Nothing magic happens on day 101 but as baby adjusts, life balances, and as time progresses the darkness lifts. I believe it. We are about 120 days into this parenthood thing and the fog is lifting. I’m starting to get some consistent sleep, business is beginning to flourish, and my relationship with my husband still sucks… but that too shall get better, I think we need a date night eventually.
For those who have battled out PPD and succeed, I applaud you. This is a hard cycle to go through and most you battled it for months and maybe even years.
For those of you who are where I am, in the midst of PPD and the side effects of it that bleed into every aspect of your life, we are stronger than the PPD and this too shall pass.