Postpartum Depression: The Secret We're No Longer Keeping
Hey Mommy, You Deserve to Be Happy
"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I can hear him yelling through the laundry room door. The tears fall down my face and land on my chest like a wave covering me in the ocean. I can not breathe. Thoughts are racing through my head, and the mom's guilt weighs heavy on my heart. I stood there, unable to move and paralyzed in my stance. I knew this moment was necessary. I was getting to the point of literally tossing the child out with the bathwater. Why you might ask, am I barricaded in the laundry room? The answer is simple yet overwhelmingly complicated---postpartum depression.
According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression can be mistaken for baby blues first. However, the signs and symptoms are significantly more intense and last longer. In addition, postpartum depression interferes with your ability to care for your baby and makes day-to-day tasks feel impossible. Postpartum symptoms can begin the first few weeks after giving birth. However, some women suffer postpartum during pregnancy, and others don't experience symptoms until a year or more after giving birth.
My postpartum depression hits me in waves. Just like the ocean, sometimes the waves roll into shore softly, and other times they come in with such force they knock me down. I move in and out of emotions, leaving me feeling like there's a tsunami brewing inside of me. I am scared, frustrated, and unsure of what to do next.
Postpartum depression can play tricks with your mind. For example, I convinced myself that because my son is almost three, and I am so far from childbirth, this "phase" should have left me by now. But, here is the truth, PPD is not a phase, and it does not go away overnight. I am learning that PPD can last for an extended period. It nags you relentlessly, like a cough in your throat you can't get out.
As a woman dealing with PPD, I have discovered that it is not a topic women want to discuss. We shy away from the "weakness" that surrounds the condition; we are supposed to be superwomen, after all. I have decided not to stay silent. I have found peace and comfort in using my voice. Women who suffer from PPD are constantly riding the rollercoaster of emotions. I am here to say; there is freedom in expression.
I would love to offer suggestions to other women fighting through depression the way I am. While I am not a doctor and my advice is not the be-all-end-all, here are some things I have found to help me in this process.
Seeking Help for Postpartum Depression
I highly recommend you share what you're feeling with your physician. I didn't have a name for what I was experiencing, but I knew something wasn't right. So I decided to consult with my doctor, and they knew right away what was wrong. I was able to get help with medication and medical advice.
Find Something Just for You
Ok, mommies. You need an outlet that is just for you. I am not talking about a "baby and me" class. You have to find something that stirs up your passion. Find a way to get alone time at least once a week. For example, I love to create planners, so at least once a week, I take the time to work on new layouts or new ideas on binding.
Find Your Tribe
It would help if you had a safe place. But, through this process, my most significant support has come from my best friend. I honestly don't know what I would do without her. She offers a listening ear, prayers when needed, sound advice, a hug, and so much more.
Honor Your Feelings
You will go through so many emotions. I strongly recommend you learn how to take the moments when you need them. If you feel like crying or screaming, or cussing, find a space (for me, it's the laundry room) and let it all out. Take that moment. There are several times during the week when I have to do just that. I make sure my son is safe and in his room where everything is childproof, and I step into the hallway and take a moment. This timeout is not just for me but for him as well. After this moment, I feel recharged, settled and calm. After that moment, I can give him a better version of myself and be a better mother overall.
So, sister of mine, I am screaming from the rooftops, you are not alone! If you are suffering or feeling ashamed to admit you are struggling, I hope this article gives you the strength to seek the help you need. And again, I will say this a million times; YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Written by Tasha Cofer Published on Raising a Champion Blog 12/8/21