|4 Days Old Versus 4 Months Old|
I never blogged much about my experience with PPD, and I feel that this was a mistake. More moms need to talk about it, blog about it, share it, so that those of us that suffer it don't feel so alone. I went through it, maybe you did to? Or you know someone who did? At any rate it is very common and totally NORMAL. But in the moment it feels AWFUL.
In the beginning I had what is commonly referred to as the baby blues. I felt numb. Inside and out, just numb. It would hit me about twice a day, once in the afternoon and always the strongest around 8pm every night. I would go from feeling like I was on top of the world holding my baby girl, to completely and utterly overwhelmed. I felt shocked, numb, RAW! Everything was too much, sounds were too loud, lights were to bright, flavors were to strong...and the demands of my precious baby girl felt like a impossible task. There were times where I would look at Claire and just cry. Cry because I just felt like I wasn't enough, would never be enough, didn't love her enough, and therefore didn't deserve her.
I didn't waste anytime getting myself to my psychologist (yup I have a head shrink on file) who assured me that what I was experiencing was "just the baby blues" and was purely related to a normal massive drop in hormones. It would pass after a few weeks and I was told to rest lots, hydrate often, and try to enjoy the moments in between "episodes" as best I could.
You know what, it was the SMARTEST thing I did. Hearing what I knew was true, but feared all the same, from a professional made me feel SO much better. Sure enough each week that went by the cloud lifted. My vision cleared. I learned how to read Claire, how to anticipate her needs, I realized I WAS enough. She did love me and need me, and that it was OK to feel overwhelmed. I learned to ask for help, to take naps, and to breathe.
Fast forward a few months down the road and I started to get that feeling again. It creeped up on me ever so slowly, with my husband noticing signs before I even did. One day out of the blue I started getting panic attacks and became afraid of being left alone with Claire. I was so overwhelmed and I COULD NOT stop crying. I am not exaggerating, I couldn't stop. It was like there was an ocean of tears inside of me. Once again I found myself in an unexpected place except this time it was far worse, it was a much more powerful feeling and it left me exhausted. I feared that this was something more then just the baby blues and got in to see my Dr right away, and it is a good thing I did. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.
I am a firm believer of body wisdom, listen to your gut! Your body will tell you when something just isn't right. I knew from my previous experience with the baby blues that I needed help in order to get through this. I was diagnosed as having postpartum depression and given the help I needed to get me through the days. And thank God that help exists!
I simply want to share this because I wish I had read more on it while I was pregnant. I thought I wouldn't have to worry about any of this, that I would be too happy. But I was wrong. SO WRONG! The baby blues/postpartum depression is not fun, but many of us do go through this. You will feel so raw and numb, and it will scare you. BUT IT WILL PASS. Talk to a professional, a nurse, a counselor, or just talk to a loved one. Do not bottle it up inside, and as it was said to me....enjoy those moments in between 'episodes'. Do not despair, love yourself and know that you now possess something that will love you for life unconditionally. Your child. This is such a taboo subject in society, like you are a failure as a mother if this happens to you...BUT YOU ARE NOT! I am not! It happens to many women and when those of us who suffer keep silent all we do is justify the taboo and alienate ourselves from the help of our peers.
I also learned a lot from this experience. It is really easy as a new mom to get caught up in perfection. To want to maintain everything the way it was before in your home and your life....but nothing will ever be the same again. And the sooner you realize that and except it the sooner you can heal. On that note I simply cannot blog and craft to the extent that I once was now with Claire. Well, I could but I would go mad. And it is just not worth it. So you may not see me as often anymore, but what you will see is more meaningful heartfelt posts, when I want to post!