Every once in a while I get a message that reminds me of why I started this blog, and what its core purpose is. I am here, 100%, to remind and reassure other moms that they are NOT ALONE. Motherhood is NOT a competition, not a race, and not something that should be judged by anyone else. We all do our best, and through this blog I hoped to create somewhat of a “sisterhood” where other mamas felt safe and secure and GOOD ENOUGH.
I got a message last night from an old high school friend that brought me to tears. She just wanted me to know that she read the blog, and that she was grateful for it. She said that it made her feel human, and normal, and just like that I had yet another reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Despite feeling better these days, I still have my moments. I feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I feel like I can NEVER catch up with anything and some days I feel like my kids are literally plotting together to send me to a mental institution. Doesn’t it always seem like they all gang up on you at the same time? If the baby doesn’t sleep all night it also just “COINCIDENTALLY” happens to be the day that my two year old has epic temper tantrums and my eight year old wakes up with the attitude of a high schooler. It’s exhausting.
But like I always say, I know I’m not alone. Whether other moms admit it or not, I know they have those days too. Another one of my best friends said something that cracked me up the other day.. we were texting back and forth about how neither of us had showered (it was like 4pm) and how we both REALLY needed to clean the kitchen. She said that we should start a website, something like an “Anti-Martha Stewart” where moms can submit photos of them looking their worst – LOL – or show off their disgusting kitchen or piles of laundry. AWESOME! Haha.. let’s just all be REAL about what motherhood truly is. I know that a lot of my time is spent vacuuming, cooking, folding, scrubbing and dusting, but there are also MANY days when my time is spent on the couch in my pjs. Sometimes I just can’t DO IT anymore and I mentally check out. When the kids nap, sometimes I use that time to clean or fold laundry, and other times I drink coffee and watch the original 90210 on Netflix!! That’s right – I said it. The old adage about stay-at-home moms sitting on the couch and eating “bon bons”? Well.. sometimes it’s true. Secret’s out!
I found out this morning that a couple I know has split up. First of all, I have to say how surprised I am to be 35 years old and have SO many friends who have separated or divorced. I’ve been in three bridal parties myself where the marriage is no longer, and it breaks my heart. Secondly, this particular split hits home for me because this couple was married just a few weeks after we were, at the same beautiful resort. They also have a very young child, and it’s all just so sad. My husband has become quite enlightened since my Postpartum diagnosis, and he and I talked this morning about what could have possibly gone wrong. We both understand now that it doesn’t always have to be something definitive and finite like cheating, sometimes the first few years of marriage and parenthood can just be too much of a strain and I guess sometimes it just breaks you. I know that we’ve been there, and it hasn’t always been easy. I hope that we are strong enough to make it through these insane years with young kids and no sleep and money struggles, but I also know that there are no guarantees in life.
I do believe that *some* marriages could be saved with more PPD awareness. When a woman is suffering with such depression and anxiety and it goes undiagnosed how can a marriage survive? At the very least it’s certainly not going to be a happy home while she is struggling. There is a lot of truth to the whole “Happy wife, happy life” motto. I believe that women are the heart of the home, as archaic as that may sound. It’s just hard wired into us, and when the heart of a home is falling apart there is sure to be a domino effect. I was in that exact scenario, and as soon as I broke down and admitted to my husband that I needed help, I learned that I was lucky enough to be married to a man that was going to make sure I got the support that I needed.
Postpartum (or any other) depression is not something that you can just wake up from, or snap out of. It’s an illness that needs to be diagnosed and treated. My quality of life has improved IMMENSELY since I faced my problems and even more so since I went public with them.
If you are struggling, please talk to someone – even me! If you are sad, or lost, or feeling like you cannot dig yourself out of the hole you are in, please get help. You might even have feelings of harming yourself – or your kids – and if you don’t find support you could find yourself dealing with some horrific consequences. When I went to my doctor initially, I admitted that while I never had thoughts of hurting my kids, I HAD thought about harming myself. I told him how scared that made me, and he pointed out that it was GOOD that I was scared by those thoughts! He said that it would be quite worrisome if I wasn’t afraid, and he was right. I hope that if anyone reading this is having those kinds of dark thoughts will take a moment to consider that. Do these thoughts frighten you? I hope they do.. but if they don’t, then you’re in even more dire need of help and support. Please talk to someone – anyone – and do what you need to do to get better.
The dark clouds DO pass, but you have to do your part and make a conscious decision to take your life back. Every time I start to slip or feel helpless, I look at this picture and I literally feel a warmth spread over me. I live for these faces:
Here are some resources and support for PPD sufferers:
If you want to talk to me further about my experiences or if you just need someone to vent to, let me know in the comments or message me on my Facebook page so we can connect.