Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
It’s taken me awhile, almost 5 months to be exact, to write this down on paper. To accept something that I didn’t want to accept, and that it’s ok that I am a new mom and I have severe postpartum depression and anxiety. And I’m posting a portion of my story for a specific reason. To normalize that PPD/PPA is very real for mothers and that it’s ok to talk about it. I want to continue to be transparent and relatable to those around me. I’m choosing to share because I care about myself and others in the same situation.
When people ask me, “Isn’t having a baby the most joyful and exciting time?” While I wish I could say yes, the reality is that the birth of my first child triggered other feelings and symptoms. Ones that I didn’t expect. These first 5 months have been extreme highs and lows emotionally. I can say that I haven’t been myself depending on the day, depending on the situation. Almost a feeling of being lost within myself.
For those that don't know what PPD/PPA is...
Postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, but may begin earlier ― during pregnancy ― or later — up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include:
Depressed mood or severe mood swings
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Withdrawing from family and friends
Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Intense irritability and anger
Fear that you're not a good mother
Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
Severe anxiety and panic attacks
Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
I was secretly hoping it was just the “baby blues” and I thought I was going to be fine discussing my feelings at 6 weeks postpartum, but when months passed and symptoms weren’t subsiding, I knew. I’ve known depression and anxiety all too well and I didn’t want that to be a part of my motherhood story, thus I failed to accept it. And I partially blamed myself, which is a typical lie PPD/PPA mothers tell themselves. It’s been hard for me to admit this because I wanted a baby so bad and yet I feel like I can’t be the best mom I was meant to be. You're going through a tough transition already and I think PPD/PPA can muddy the waters. Luckily I've established some healthy practices to aid in recovery so that I can take care of myself and my little Bo Bo.
Things that have helped me during this time:
TALKING ABOUT IT (with friends, with family, with my husband, with a counselor)
Carving out self-care time
Prayer and quiet time
TONS OF GRACE
Surrounding yourself with support & encouragement, a supportive partner has made a huge impact for me & other mommas that have been through it before
Taking breaks from social media if it triggers negative feelings (I took January off from all social media)
All of these things have helped me through a REALLY tough period of motherhood. Everyone is different and has different needs, but one thing that is common for many mothers is having someone to talk to about it. I know that I’m doing my best as a mom and that my son loves me. I also know that mental health may always affect me in some way. Some seasons of life will be harder than others. My story continues and I’m appreciating that I’m still resilient and moving forward in my journey.