It’s time to start talking about it. Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety are real, moms can feel alone, isolated, angry or not like themselves without being labeled bad or selfish. YOU are NOT a bad mom! Let me say that louder for those in the back, YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM, YOU ARE NOT SELFISH, YOU ARE HUMAN!!
It took me a few months to realize what was happening, I found myself struggling daily with so much anger, frustration, worry and anxiety. My second son was born in January, during flu season, so right off the bat I was determined not to let anyone near him until he was at least a month old. Our pediatrician had already burned the image in my brain of having a newborn subjected to a spinal tap, which is apparently an automatic if you take a newborn in with a high fever. Soon after, coronavirus shut down our society, George Floyd was murdered and people started rioting and burning down cities, we had been shut in the house for months… It shook me to my core.
I’m a pretty stubborn person, it takes a lot for me to accept help, admit to a problem, or even accept it for myself. That’s probably where my children get their extreme stubbornness… I had been exclusively breastfeeding my baby for a few months, sleeping with him on my breast every single night, and getting absolutely zero time where a child wasn’t with me or literally on top of me. As you can imagine, the day finally came where I snapped. I melted down, and had an anxiety attack. It had been after a long strand of sleepless nights, I was trying unsuccessfully to get my children to nap. I had the baby laying next to me breastfeeding and my two year old next to him holding my hand…no, holding my hand isn’t a good description, my toddler has an obsession with pinching my knuckles and fiddling with hands, he absolutely won’t stop and it’s become something he does incessantly, especially to fall asleep. Lately the feeling of a child sucking on my boob at the same time as my toddler pinching and messing with my hands has caused me extreme frustration, it gets every nerve in my hands, arms, back and legs tingling uncomfortably. How such a simple thing can make a person come unglued, I do not know.
Regardless, as I lay there exhausted, drifting in and out of sleep with my kids refusing to nap…this terrible feeling started coming over me. Even now it’s hard to describe and fills me with shame. It felt like a heavy fog, I couldn’t catch my breath, I wanted the kids away from me. I NEEDED the kids away from me. This feeling instantly scared me. I screamed for my husband to help me and to take the kids away. I ran into the bathroom hyperventilating and shaking. I sat in there for a good 30 minutes crying, yelling, cussing and desperately trying to breath (I think I scared the daylights out of everyone in my household). When I started coming out of it, I turned the shower on as hot as I could handle and just sat in there allowing the water to burn my skin. Allowing the guilt and shame to wash over me, and realizing I couldn’t continue like this. I NEEDED help, I NEEDED more than 2 hours of sleep, I NEEDED someone else to take my kids sometimes, and I NEEDED some selfcare!
Since that moment I reached out to my doctor and got some great advice that didn’t include medication. She suggested simple things I could do to help relieve my anxiety. Such as going outside for a walk a couple days a week, stretching everyday even if it’s just for 10 minutes, taking vitamin D supplements, figuring out how to sleep, (this was a big one, as sleep deprivation can make your mind and body go through some crazy things) and doing something for myself that I enjoyed before having kids. Now, that’s not to say medication isn’t the answer for some, It just wasn’t for me at that point in my journey and I wanted to try any natural approach I could first. Sometimes you need medication, and that’s ok too. Remember, you have so many hormones surging through your body after giving birth, so many new responsibilities and challenges. Motherhood is the hardest challenge you will ever face. Go easy on yourself mama, do what you need to do to get through it and don’t ever let another person judge you.
It’s time for PPD and PPA to become normalized,
it’s time for women to stop feeling shame and guilt over needing selfcare and time alone. It’s my prayer that through sharing my stories and experiences, other women will feel comfortable to do the same. Mama, share your stories with me! Follow my journey and get engaged with other women and moms, below the link to my Facebook group if you wanna stay connected, feel free to share your stories or use this group to reach out for help, or advice, or anything you feel like putting out there! And stay tuned for some of the things I’ve been doing to help myself come out of the fog and start feeling like me again!