Updated: Mar 9, 2020
It’s a little nerve-racking to share this publicly. But, I hope that as I do, it will allow other women to open up and get help, or share their story or maybe even realize what is going on with them.
There are so many women that suffer from postpartum depression, but many don't know it; including me 3 years ago. I felt like there was something wrong with me, but I didn't know what it was. Though the conversations about depression have expanded and improved, I feel like we haven't even skimmed the surface on postpartum depression. That is why I felt like it was necessary to add my voice and experience to that of others.
I'm an abstract thinker. My emotions are more commonly connected to pictures and images rather than words. Hence, it can be difficult for me to express myself, especially regarding more serious topics like postpartum depression. When I decided to write this blog post, I knew that I needed to use photos to help me convey my deep thoughts and feelings.
A little background on me, I’m a very happy person by nature! That is why I feel like this blog post is so necessary.
In 2013, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child and everything was great!
I seriously had the easiest pregnancy in the world! I worked full time and didn't go on maternity leave until my due date. My beautiful daughter, Brooklyn, was born two days later, at a healthy weight of 9 lb 2 oz.
Like every new mom, I was excited and tired. But, what I didn't expect was what happened next. After Brooklyn was born I began to stay indoors more and stopped talking to my friends as much. For those that knew me before having Brooklyn, that is not my typical behavior. I am extremely social and happy! But, I found myself becoming more and more depressed and closed off. At this point, no one had told me about postpartum depression and I had no idea what signs to look for or what to expect after giving birth.
When Brooklyn was 4 months old, we moved to California for three months for my husband's internship. The company he worked for put us in a cute apartment on the second floor, with a balcony that overlooked a beautiful garden with a fountain. I would often take Brooklyn out on the balcony to watch birds fly around and take baths in the fountain. We loved it!
One day I walked out on the balcony with Brooklyn, and I remember having the thoughts to just throw her over.
The thought scared me so bad I ran inside, set Brooklyn in her crib, and sat on the floor, and cried.
I don't know how long I was on the floor crying, but it felt like forever.
I didn’t reach out. I was afraid if ANYONE knew what was going on they would take my baby. So, I suffered like this for about 19 months all alone.
Not even my husband knew.
During my suffering, I decided to draw a picture to try to express how I was feeling. I drew a picture of a mother holding her precious newborn baby with darkness surrounding her. This is exactly how I felt; completely enclosed by darkness.
When I decided to share my story, I knew I needed to photograph the picture I drew a few years ago. Let me tell you, this was extremely emotional for me. I could not keep back the tears while editing this photo.
Every time I look at this photo, it takes me back 3 and 1/2 years ago when I was experiencing all of this.
I just remember holding my sweet, heaven-sent daughter, and feeling like my mind and my body had become paralyzed by darkness.
I felt unable to love this precious gift the way I thought I should be loving her. I became numb to her cries - numb to the world.
Sometimes at night when she would wake up, I would rock her to sleep with tears running down my face.
As I would lay her down in her crib, I would usually whisper, "I'm so sorry. I'll try to be a better mom tomorrow."
I felt like a horrible mother. I felt sad all the time, and I felt very alone.
I got pregnant a second time, and I had postpartum all throughout my second pregnancy. I still did not know I had postpartum depression.
I hated who I was becoming.
I was depressed and sad all the time. I forced myself to get out of the house and take Brooklyn on walks in the park.
I felt so guilty all the time. I felt like a horrible mom, and I knew that my depression was having an effect on my daughter. Even though she was less then two years old at the time, she would look at me and watch me as I battled my own thoughts and feelings. I felt so much love and strength from her, she helped me more then she'll ever know.
About one week before my second child was born, my doctor asked if I had been struggling with depression. I nervously answered, 'yes'. The next words out of his mouth shocked me.
"Okay, cool. That's normal. It's called postpartum depression."
WHAT?! It's normal? And, it has a name?!
I wish I could tell you that my depression went away after that moment, but it didn't.
Honestly, I still have it now!
But, I found relief knowing that I wasn't going insane and I wasn't alone. Now my husband knows and he could help me. As I walked out of the doctor's office that day, I finally felt hope.
WHAT I AM DOING FOR MY POSTPARTUM
Obviously, everyone is different. Some women have severe postpartum depression and some have light postpartum depression. Some women can use natural methods to help their depression, but others might need medication.
I wish there was a blanket answer that I could give you, but there isn't one. All I can do is bring awareness and tell you my journey. I am still trying to find a solution for me honestly. I’ve tried natural methods, medication and I haven’t found anything yet that works for me, and I honestly still struggle with my postpartum depression on a daily basis and I wanted to share with you 2 things that help me get through the day, be a mom of 3 kids, and run my business.
1. Give yourself GRACE
Give yourself grace to have a down day or a down moment. That doesn’t make you bad, or a failure, your business isn’t going to disintegrate, your children aren’t going to be ruined. Give yourself some permission to take a day off and then give yourself grace and love.
2. Change Your Story Last year I was talking with my therapist and I was having like a hard few months with my depression and I told her
“I just feel like a HORRIBLE MOTHER! Some days the most I can do is sit them in front of a movie with a snack or lunch because I don’t want them seeing me cry in the other room. I’ve fed them nothing but frozen dinners for a week!
And I went on and on about the reasons I’m such a bad mom. She said "WOW!" I was like "I KNOW! I’m so bad!" She said “No. I meant WOW. You’re depressed and yet you still get up and feed your children! And then not only that you make sure they are watching a movie they love so that they can have fun and not watch you cry. What an amazing woman you are.”
The EXACT thing I told myself was horrible she said was amazing.
If you are struggling with Postpartum Depression, know that you aren't alone. If you need help, reach out. There are so many people around you who care about you and want to help you. And girl, I hope and pray you can find the solution that works for you!
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