Feeling proud right now! Haven’t finished my first cup of coffee this morning, but I made my family a hearty Sunday breakfast. Of course, Phoenix takes all the items and makes a toddler mish-mash. It doesn’t look appetizing, but…eh. This is all a learning process for him; even if this momma ends up doing some extra cleaning.
On a more serious note…..
Making breakfast for my family today seems like a ridiculous thing to feel proud of, but if you knew my journey, you would know why this is a great sign. For a couple of weeks, Spirit/God has been calling me to write about a personal subject: my experience with Post-Partum Depression and after weeks of searching for inspiration, the “light bulb” went off this morning while cooking.
So here is my attempt at translating my experience into words. Please remember that everything that I write in this post is simply my experience and thoughts on PPD. Post-partum depression is different for everyone and can present in a million ways. But these are my views and how it felt for me.
Hello Darkness my old friend…
I can close my eyes and hear that song playing in my head, while having a visual of Princess Poppy singing. Total mom moment. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this video:
Now all jokes aside. I remember that moment when I felt the darkness set in. Oddly enough, it is an old friend that I didn’t think I would ever see again. My first experience with post-partum depression happened 14 years ago, with the birth of my daughter. I don’t know if anyone else has the same opinion, but for some reason recuperating from PPD after my daughter was much easier than with my son. I’m not even sure if there is a scientific explanation to corroborate that, but that is my first hand observation.
With my son, I realized that something big had shifted in my mind. Everything went dark. With my daughter, I was sad but nothing like what I was experiencing this time around. I was doing what I thought were all the right things. This was my third birth and I thought I knew how to care for a baby. I was eating healthy, breastfeeding, reading to my son, baby wearing and taking care of the rest of my family. It was supposed to be a time of happiness, but I wasn’t feeling happy. I was feeling really overwhelmed and sad. Like I could’nt handle it. I felt that everything I did to care for my son was wrong. I started feeling like a stranger in my own body. Trying to take care of my baby, my family, life, my depression, felt like I was drowning.
Why couldn’t I see anything possitive about my life?
Why did I feel lonely in a world full of people?
Why wasn’t I overjoyed to be a mom again?
Why was I feeling so lost?
There were a million stressful sittuations happening in our life at that time. Things big enough to send anyone spiraling down a black hole. Were all of those sittuations to blame for my PPD? Possibly. Could it have been the hormone changes, battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum during pregnancy, the pitucin, the epidural? Your guess is as good as mine. The thing about my experience, is that there was not just one thing that happened, or one moment that changed everything. It was everything. All I knew was that I was loosing myself and I couldn’t wait until I felt like my normal self again.
This is the thing, during post-partum depression, our inner sun goes dim. This beautiful ball of golden happy energy gets covered by grey shadowy clouds (sadness, confusion and hopelessness) and dark birds (intrusive thoughts). I experienced days of deep sadness, confusion, anger and endless negative thoughts. I felt that I was the worst mother and wife in the planet. I had days where I gave it my all to everyone and everything, but still felt misserable, like a failure and empty inside. Some days, the intrusive thoughts had me convinced that the world was working against me or that the world would be better off without me. I was ashamed of who I had become.
At my darkest point, I didn’t hear my inner hero/guardian angel anymore. All I heard were the “dark birds”. What’s worse is that in my confusion and hopelessness, I started to believe these intrusive thoughts and I almost lost my life because of it. I never thought that I could reach such a level of hopelessness. But I did and even for that I am thankful. Sometimes I think that perhaps it had to get to that point for me to get serious about getting help. Going to weekly therapy and learning my daily activity limits, has helped me tremendously. Making time to quiet the mind and take care of my needs has been invaluable.
Back to cooking breakfast….
Today I woke up with an intense feeling of taking care of my family. It’s something I haven’t felt in a long time. You know, that feeling of showing your love through cooking. For me, nourishing my family is an act of love. As I was cooking, my husband walks into the kitchen and in total disbelief says “OK, where is my wife and what have you done with her?”.
haha! Isn’t that funny?! Wow! I can’t believe that I found that funny! 6 months ago, I would’ve been offended by that comment. I would’ve felt horrible about myself and probably started an argument over what I would’ve perceived as insensitive words. But I didn’t. I actually found it funny! I just hugged and kissed my amazing husband because in that moment I knew that he loves me, he missed me and he was being playful with me. That great moment in the kitchen with my husband is the inspiration for writing this post. Thank you, Babe!
The Inner Hero Returns…
The other day I was playing with my children. I was laughing like a kid again and this time I actually noticed it. It was like my inner hero was telling me “Ding ding ding ding! Look, look you are laughing!”. I literally stopped playing and said out loud “OMG, I’m laughing again!”. The girls gave me the biggest hugs EVER in support ♡
It has taken 3 years to hear my inner hero again, to laugh without faking it, to feel joy again, to feel good, 3 years for my body to remember what happiness feels like.
Every day I feel the clouds part a little more and I feel my inner sun shine a little brighter. I’m so thankful for my family and how wonderful they have been during this difficult time. Our relationships have grown and deepened. Today, my outlook on life is brighter. Almost 3 years after giving birth to our beautiful child, I can say that I’ve survived the worse of post-partum depression. I’ve reached the shores of the other side; changed, humbled, spiritually aware and loving life again.
There are no words to describe how hard this has all been, but if there’s one thing that has become really really clear to me is that after this experience I will be changed forever. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I have returned to being my old self. Instead, with the love and support of my family, I’ve emerged a better, stronger, wiser version of myself.
To anyone that is battling port-partum depression or depression, know this: Getting help as soon as you notice something is off after giving birth, is supremely important. It’s little by little, day by day, hour by hour, that this battle is won. When people say the sun will shine again after the dark dark storm of post-partum depression/depression, they’re not lying. Ask for help, tell a friend, a family member or your partner. Call your doctor. The inner hero does return. The inner sun will shine again. It may take some time and finding the right treament, but it will get better. It’s depression that deceives us and tells us that all is gone and hopeless, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Today you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless, but with the right help, you will begin to reach moments of clarity, maybe over cooking breakfast or playing with your kids 🙂
For more information on Post-Partum Depression: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/
For more information on suicide prevention: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/
For more information on Hyperemesis Gravidarum: http://www.hyperemesis.org/