A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step..

Ahhhh the “postpartum post”.

I wasn’t going to write it so soon, but the mood has struck and I actually feel like blogging even more than I feel like watching Bachelor Pad right now!  (That’s a LOT!)

I have three kids, and to be honest I think I was suffering after the birth of my second, but I didn’t realize it and I was trying so hard to hold it together that I never stopped to look in the mirror.  (In more ways than one, I’m sure.. I was a hot mess.)  To be honest, I think that deep down I knew something wasn’t right.  I would be taken over by feelings of such DESPAIR, it’s almost indescribable.  I have thankfully never thought of harming my beautiful children – I know that some women experience this and it must be terrifying – but if I am being brutally honest I cannot say the same for myself.  I have had dark moments where I was absolutely certain that my sweet babies’ lives would be better if I wasn’t in them.

I was diagnosed with PPD about 6 weeks ago, and the day that it all came to a head was the absolute lowest point of my life.  The house was a mess, the kids were miserable, my patience was GONE and I somehow found myself sitting on the floor with the baby, crying for my husband and telling him that I knew something was very, very wrong.  Bless his heart, he took the next day off work so I could see my doctor and that is the day I like to consider the beginning of a very positive phase of my life.

Finally admitting not only to someone else, but to MYSELF, that I needed help truly was liberating.  Having someone tell me that it was okay, that I am okay, was reassuring.

The best way that I can describe PPD (for me, I’m sure everyone’s experience is very different) is that it’s like I can SEE my happiness.. it’s just above me, floating there, but I can’t touch it, or taste it, or experience it.  It’s like I’m covered in a film or a layer that I can’t shake off, and it prevents me from tapping into all the joy and laughter that I’ve always known.

I didn’t want to share any of this with anyone.  I told my husband and my parents, and I planned to leave it at that.  It’s funny how my first instinct was to say, “Please don’t tell anyone.. I don’t want anyone to know!”  Why did I feel so ashamed?  I’ve never been a private person, I’m happy to share stories and details and I enjoy the closeness to my friends and family that it brings by doing so… but there is a stigma attached to PPD, to being depressed in general I think, and I was afraid to let people see this side of me.

I think that being a mother is a very wonderful and rewarding but strange position to be in.  As much as we lean on other moms for support, they can also be our biggest critics.  We marvel at the “super mom” and condemn the frazzled one.  We praise the ones who seem to just have it SO together, and we shake our heads and gossip about the ones whose kids are out of control or who live in their sweat pants.  I’m as guilty as anyone else, I admit.  But when my initial reaction to my diagnosis was to keep it a secret, I knew that I would be perpetuating this IMAGE that we all seem to want to put forth.  On Facebook, Twitter, to our friends and family… how many people do you see on Facebook who seem to have the PERFECT life?  Perfect marriage!  Perfect children!  Perfect home!  I realized that I was projecting the same image and I wanted to be more real than that.

I LOVE MY FAMILY.  I love my husband.  He is my best friend.  He makes me laugh and when I think of my golden years, I see us sitting on a porch watching a sunset, and that makes me happy.  I love my kids.  Ask anyone, they are some of the sweetest, kindest, funniest, loving children around and I am so lucky to have them.  I love my life.  I am blessed.  I am loved.  I have a home, and people who care about me.  I have laughter and support and I know that I will never be alone.  But no one’s life is perfect.  My husband and I fight; I lose my temper and yell when I shouldn’t.  I don’t clean the bathtub as often as I should, and I am really good about doing the laundry, I just don’t usually get around to FOLDING it.

More than anything, I want someone else to find comfort in this blog.  I want someone else to know that how they’re feeling is OKAY and that they will be alright.  It is okay to be imperfect.  It is okay to be scared, or overwhelmed.  Being a mother is HARD, and being a stay at home mom is so much more difficult that many people realize.  I have to make a concerted effort to stay connected, not only with friends and interests but with myself.  My entire identity is wrapped up in being a wife and mother, and sometimes it really does just need to be about ME.

I guess that’s what brought me here!  This is my escape – a place where I can be the truest version of myself and I look forward to not only sharing my journey, but learning about others’ as well.

: )
B

Comments

  1. Caitie says

    I love you MaryBeth. Thank you for posting this. You are an amazing, strong,smart, caring, honest person and I am so grateful to have you in my life.

    • Jenn says

      Great message you are sending….I cannot agree with everything you said enough! I am about to have #3 and just recently starting seeing a womens health clinic @ my hospital. I have bad anxiety and lately it just seems like everything is just too much to handle…..family drama (mother, inlaws etc…..) It has all been making me shut down. Scary thing before baby even comes……glad to see I am not alone:)) It is very true I find even since being married everyone acts like marriage kids etc…is perfect….come on…..it is so hard!! Sure I love my hubby and my kids more then anything but it is hard….and it is ok to say that….so many people act like everything is perfect…..so annoying. Thank you for your message.

      • says

        thanks so much for writing, I’m sorry for what you’re experiencing but I’m so glad you found someone you can relate to.. glad it was me! It’s terrifying to feel so anxious and isolated and alone. As much as we loves our husbands it’s just one of those things that you can’t fully understand unless you’ve been there. I hope that everything goes smoothly for you from here on in, and I’m so happy you went to see someone. Please let me know how your delivery goes, I wish you all the best! xo B

  2. Teresa says

    I am reading this and have tears in my eyes. MB that took a lot of courage and strength to write. I have never even met ur children but I can see from pictures the love they have in their eyes for their mamma. I have always said that being a stay at home mom is the hardest job ever. As much as I love kids I don’t know if I one day could do it myself. It is the biggest responsibility in life that there is. Thank you for having the courage to write this. To me this blog is not only about ppd but also about the struggles of everyday life we all face. The struggles come in many forms and for you it’s this way. I hope that people read this and even if u can help one person you have done a great deed!!

  3. Jenn says

    In reading this I am reminded of the dark first year of my son’s life. I am very proud of you for bringing this forward. I never would have had the courage to do so.

  4. Kelli says

    Beautifully written! I believe most women go through some type of of ppd after having babies. I swear it just makes us all normal! You are a wonderful Mama and truly do have amazing children! Not everyone can be a stay at home Mom, it is tough in a lot of ways and in my opinion the most rewarding job out there. Keep doing your thing, all Moms do their thing differently, doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s “their” way! Love you Mama B!

  5. A says

    Thank you for posting this. I don’t know if I had PPD, but for months after my daughter was born I was guaranteed to have at least one crying fit. These fits would come out of nowhere, just a flood of tears. I never wanted to harm my baby, but I was super paranoid that something or someone would. Every horror story I had ever heard would play vividly in my head. I tried to mention it casually (maybe too casually) at my 6 week appointment, but it was brushed off as baby blues. It is such a hard thing to talk about, but so important to.

  6. Mandy says

    WOW! Mama, you are one courageous lady! This post brought tears to my eyes and you should be so very proud of yourself for having written such an amazing piece. I have many friends who have suffered PPD and it’s super important to bring awareness to it. Thanks to people like you, it will finally become ‘normal’ and not a ‘stigma’. Recognizing it will only make you stronger!
    No woman, no cry! You rock sister!!!!! xoxo

    • says

      Aw Mandy thanks again.. I just needed to put it out there and hopefully someone feels better after reading it! : )

  7. Stef says

    Very, very, very rewarding to tell this story. I too had the same kinda of PPD, almost identical to yours, it was more about me than the babies. =) Sometimes I think I still go through it so a routine is really important for me <3 But thank you, thank you, thank you !!

    • says

      I’m happy to share my story and hopefully reach out to other moms who have been there or are there now. Thanks for reading..
      : )

      • lisa says

        Thank you for sharing. The way you described how you felt is EXACTLY how I felt. Only I described it more negative. Like a dark cloud surrounding my head and just out of reach was my happiness and the sun. I felt some day I could reach my arms up and shove the cloud. Other days it engulfed me and I could barely breathe. Medicine and therapy helped so much. No one should be ashamed of these feelings or for seeking help or needing medicine.

      • says

        Thank you Lisa.. So well put.
        I agree, women should talk about this and never be ashamed.
        Thank you for writing.
        : )

    • says

      Thank YOU for reading and leaving such kind words. There are so many of us struggling and it’s so nice to have support. I am the same, I need structure and routine I find it so helpful!
      I hope you’re feeling great these days, thanks again for reading.
      : )
      B

  8. Katrien says

    4 kids, 1 husband with AVC, full-time stress job

    Hello,

    Thanks to speaking out, you have a lot of courage. I’ve been diagnosed with postnatal depression and burn-out syndrom. My husband made a motorbike incident 6 years ago, been in coma and almost died. It took him 6 years to be a little bit better. We have 4 kids aged 10/7/3 years and 15 months.
    Despite birth controll I fell pregnant of number 4, i denied the pregnancy untill 6months.
    When I returned on my job of customer service responsable, my boss been give me the double of clients to take care of. One day I cracked and couldn’t do nothing any more. I couldn’t make the sandwiches for the school, my husband drove me to the hospital where they diagnosed postnatal depression and burn-out stage 8. This was 5 months ago. There are times that my baby cries, ALL my patience is gone, often I just don’t understand what the children say to me. I always been a very strong person inside, but know it’s like that person doesn’t exist any more, I just don’t found myself back and i am scared.

    I understand you and feel the same things like you: i also understand my happiness but it seems to be out of reach…..

    The children are very sad because they don’t usually see me ‘falling apart’ on that level.
    It’s like something snapped in my head.

    The road to be better is very long and hard, but keep believing in yourself, it’s not a shame, you are not the only one. Thanks God I never been harm the children, when i feel it’s too much for me, I ask to a person to stay with me, sometimes i am scared to be alone.

    Hope i’ve been support you in any way with my reply,

    don’t forget: no matter how dark look the clouds, the sun will shine again!

    Love,

    Katrien

  9. says

    Katrien, thank you so much for writing. I’m glad you could relate to my story but I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through, I can’t imagine your struggle. I think it’s so important to ask for help when we need it and to be there for each other as moms.
    I hope you will keep reading and sharing your thoughts with me, thank you for your support.
    B

  10. Katrien says

    Hello B,

    Thank you so much for your comforting reply, it made my day!
    You are right, it is important to be able to ask for help when needed, it feels good to know i am not the only person in the world with this problem.

    I just discovered your blog today thanks to your tweet on Leann Rimes’ twitter.
    And you bett I’ll keep reading your blog and share my thoughts, today was the first day in a very long time that I felt so good….Sorry for any spelling mistakes but English is not my native tongue, I live in Belgium (Europe)
    Now I have to say goodbye, as the kids just got home from the school (and i think they are busy scratching out each other’s eyes for the playstation)

    Love,

    Katrien

  11. Aubree says

    Oh my goodness, I just finished reading this and I can’t stop crying! I was diagnosed with ppd after my 2nd daughter was born, a little over 2 years ago. My entire life was affected by this disease. I had to leave my teaching job, dye to an insurmountable amount of stress it brought on, and this of course has led to an odd string of jobs, finance problems and I still struggle with it, on a daily basis. I have a great husband, two lovely daughters, and friends and family that love me, but no one understands my depression and the ever-changing levels. I have tried meds, a participate in therapy, but I can’t shake it some days. I wish that there more women out there talking about this and how it affects us for a LONG time. Thank your for posting your truth, I am very glad that I found it as well, perhaps I can be more truthful as well.
    Best,
    Aubree

    • says

      Oh Aubree I’m so sorry… it can be absolutely all encompassing can’t it? Please don’t give up, you are NOT alone. It was very hard for me to muster up the courage to share the story but I KNEW that there were other moms out there that needed to be reached. This blog has had over 3000 views since I started it just a week ago and I’m getting messages from all around the world! I know I did the right thing. This is a journey that we can all help each other through, and I’m so happy that you found me. I hope that you can surround yourself with supportive and loving people, it makes all the difference. Just accept the tough days when they come and know that this too shall pass, I really believe that.
      xo B

  12. says

    Thanks for being so honest! It’s refreshing. I can relate too. I too wrote a similiar post shortly after my little one was born. I wrote it for the same reasons, hoping to help another momma out there. Sometimes we fear sharing our TRUE feelings about motherhood. It IS INDEED magical and I consider myself SO LUCKY to be a part of this tribe. That being said, it is also hard, challenging, sometimes loney and scary (not to mention anxious). I love my little family too- and am so thankful for it- but sometimes I just want “me” time and to take a long bath or spend an evening watching TV with my husband without fearing my little bear cub will start screaming and need me for something.

  13. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I just this past week had to admit that I am suffering from PPD, and you are so right, admitting it to yourself can be the hardest part. And I love your description of it as being able see your happiness but not actually experience it, it’s so accurate! Speaking out about this issue will hopefully help more moms feel comfortable coming forward and getting help, and reaizing that it’s not a failure to experience this.

    http://mommyandmephotoproject.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/a-hard-truth/

    • says

      Thank you Heather.. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but you sure aren’t alone! I hope that you have supportive people surrounding you. It’s hard for others to realize how awful and out of your control things can be.
      Please stick around and keep me posted!
      MBxo

  14. Alexandra says

    Thank you for sharing. I have been an OB nurse for 15 years and a full-time nursing instructor for 3. In addition to the fun labor and delivery/nursery “stuff”, I have a short list of VERY important topics that I cover with my students. Postpartum depression is only surpassed by fetal safety in labor and the risk for hemorrhage after delivery. It is a topic that is not discussed enough! Postpartum depression can happen anytime in the first 1 to 2 years! No woman should have to suffer. Education about risk reduction (stress, lack of sleep can contribute) as well as the signs and symptoms should be a priority for every nurse and physician. If we all keep talking and sharing, we can help others get the help they need!

    • says

      Thank you Alexandra! I agree.. talking about it is so important and women need to understand that it’s going to be okay. That’s why I decided to share my experiences… thanks so much for reading.
      MB

  15. says

    Everything you say is so true! Whilst I have passed through and survived PND 3yrs on I’m dealing with infant loss but you are right in saying this will help many. I’m sorry this has hit your family and hope overtime you will grasp a hold on happiness again

    • Mary Beth says

      I’m so sorry, Mary… I can’t imagine what you’re going through. You will be in my thoughts and I am so happy that you found a bit of support here.
      MB

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