I know, it’s been radio silent here, but I promise it’s with good reason.
About a month ago, I realized that I was going through a little bout of post partum depression. I remember sitting in my glider in the middle of the night, nursing Owen at 3am and crying. I didn’t know why I was crying, but I knew that I was just so, so sad. I thought to myself, “I wonder if Owen is drinking in my sadness through my milk.” And the next thing I did was to research the signs of PPD.
The thing is, I never thought that what I felt could be classified as PPD. I didn’t feel awful everyday, and I was meeting my children’s needs, the household needs, and I wasn’t sobbing at every moment. I still find good jokes funny, and am able to crack a few of my own, as well. But I did realize that my anxiety level was much higher, and that I rarely felt…..happy. I was operating under a haze. While I was going through my everyday motions, I felt like I was just existing, but not living them. Every positive emotion felt duller, and every negative emotion was heightened. Sometimes, the desire to scream or cry was just right there, waiting to spill over all day.
To be honest, I feel like it happened overnight, and I believe the cause is a change in my hormones. I remember being really positive and happy for the first 2.5 months after Owen was born, but something changed in my body chemistry to make that positivity go away. I remember it coinciding with the start of my post partum hair loss, and also hormonal acne. About a week after that started, I began to feel a shift in my mood.
I think I held off from telling anyone or seeking help for a little while because I felt like a fraud, and I also felt extremely guilty. I thought that someone as fortunate as myself who has some childcare help, and a husband who is helpful and ever present meant that me being unhappy was because I was spoiled. I also felt that because I wasn’t having a bad day, everyday, that I was just being overdramatic: I couldn’t have PPD, I probably was just in a really bad mood.
But those bad moods and bad days just wouldn’t go away.
I’ve started to see a therapist and working out again because I want to get better, fast. I’m really sick of not being able to fully enjoy the beautiful family that I know that I have. I know that this is a temporary state, and I’ll bounce back when my hormones find a new normal, but I’m getting pretty impatient. The thing is, the household mood kind of revolves around “Mom”, doesn’t it? If Mom is happy, the kids are happy, and dad is happy…..it’s all just… better.
I guess the reason why I’m writing this is because I wanted the new mamas out there to know that sometimes PPD isn’t what you thought it would be. Post Partum Depression doesn’t always mean that you can’t get out of bed, that you can’t smile, or care for your family. It doesn’t have to be that extreme. If you don’t feel right – talk about it. See if other people notice that you’ve been acting off. Read. Chat with other moms. Learn more about the way you’re feeling.
There really isn’t a great way to end this post other than to say this: You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. My husband always says this to me, and you know what, it’s true. So I’m going to start taking better care of myself, and mama, if you’re sad and reading this – I hope you will too.