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.