I feel urged to finally share this with you. I’ve had several of these posts drafted and I couldn’t bring myself to hit “publish,” until I recently saw a post about PPD.
In the past few years moms are just starting to open up about their mental health. The effects of postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, or baby blues can sneak up on new and expecting moms. These disorders are common, although they can range from super mild to very severe. When you feel abnormally irritable, fatigued, unmotivated, weepy, and anxious that can be scary.
When my baby boy had turned 6 months old, something in me changed. Maybe it all happened earlier, but I didn’t notice until my symptoms got more extreme and didn’t go away. I wasn’t sleeping well, even with a peaceful house at night. I began to get more irritated and yell at the older kids more. I started feeling defeated after each day. Laundry was always piled high, making a nutritious dinner seemed so difficult, and I had to keep the older ones busy in between nursing the baby. It all just felt like too much. I started to cry a lot. I didn’t even know why. I just felt overwhelmed with emotion a lot!
My husband believed I just wasn’t happy any more. And one day I blurted out in raw tears, “I feel like I’m drowning! I can’t keep up with everything and I can’t even catch a breath!” And it hit me, that maybe this wasn’t a “normal” feeling. I kept wondering if I should get help. After that, emotional breakdown, he encouraged me to see our family doctor, he let me sleep in more, and started chipping in more.
Gradually I started to take care of myself better. I began asking for more help. I began praying with more intent. I thought more about my health (instead of just my family’s for once). I started to do a little bit more for myself. Small things, like buy new makeup or listen to good music. I began going on more walks to clear my head. I fought to be more positive. I began talking with friends and family more, even if it wasn’t about this (which I wasn’t ready to talk about with anyone). And I started to pull myself up and away from those big ugly tears. Gradually, I started to feel better.
I single-handedly forced myself to rise from defeat. And that was the bravest, most strong I’ve ever had to be.
Yes, I still yell at my kids, but I’m not as snappy. I do have some gentlemen to raise. Yes, sometimes I still have a hard time asking for help. Yes, sometimes I still don’t feel motivated enough to do anything. Parenthood is just tough, regardless of your circumstances. But, I am able to smile again and laugh with my family. I’m able to sit down during nap time and be unproductive with little guilt. I allow myself to have a good cry in prayer, rather than alone. And I keep telling myself, “I am enough.” I listen to Lauren Daigle and worship with music. I make my favorite meals for dinner. I do the things I enjoy like writing and photography.
Being a mom (no matter how many babies you have) is overwhelming. No one will tell you how hard it was for them. Not really. And that makes it a little more tough. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, life can be even more isolating. That statement sounds kind of weird, but believe me, when you just need someone to listen to and understand you, that person isn’t going to be your little kid.
It sucks when you’re living this life that you always knew you wanted since you were a little girl, yet, not in the way you always imagined. No, motherhood itself isn’t a disappointment, but rather the loneliness in motherhood. The days when you’re trying so hard, but could use more help. The days when you NEED another human being to understand you. But instead, you just keep going and going as if everything is okay. Holding in your feelings and emotions. That’s the worst!
Overall, being a Mom is literally one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I have three little boys who climb up on my lap and let me hold them. I’m their whole world. They want me and my attention. And they love me. And all of our little moments are so special to me. I wonder how I got so lucky to have these little guys in my life.
But I also know that I wasn’t the only one to struggle the same battles. Whether it was a collective stress of life events (which we’ll talk about another day) or just in it’s own timing, the baby blues once defined me. And I didn’t even totally see that at the time.
For those of you struggling with baby blues (or other postpartum disorders), know that you aren’t alone. And there are so many others who understand you well, people who may not talk about it with anyone. Make friends with other moms. And find someone to talk to about it. Get the sleep you need, eat fuel foods, get some sunshine, focus on all the good in your life, pray, and without hesitation go see your doctor. If not for yourself, do it for those precious kids of yours.
One day this will be part of your past. Keep your head up and don’t let those terrible feelings define you. This isn’t all of you, nor will it always feel like that.
Breathe. It’s going to be okay.
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