I was that person who didn’t think postpartum depression existed. I truly thought that after you had a baby you’re [just] going to be over tired, and you would be fine. I thought this until I had my son, Knox.
My husband and I tried for 9 months to conceive. I still remember the excitement and nervousness I had when I saw that little positive symbol. My pregnancy was a breeze. I was honestly that pregnant lady that every other pregnant woman didn’t like (haha). Because I had no sickness, nothing. I was just happy and pregnant.
October 5, 2016 my beautiful 8 pound and 4 oz baby boy entered into this world, and my life changed.
We got to come home on the 7th, and that’s when everything changed. I remember that I was really anxious. I felt very overwhelmed about being home with my new little family. I knew I was tired, but this was just different. I honestly don’t remember the first 3 months of my son’s life, because I was so out of it and so tired. It was awful.
What I think started my ppd was that I was unable to breastfeed my son, because I couldn’t produce enough milk. I was so hard on myself, and I couldn’t let it go. There’s so much “mom shaming” if you feed your baby formula. I had myself convinced everyone would judge me because I fed him formula. I was so worried my family would judge me because I couldn’t feed him the “right” way. But my sweet husband, Terry, kept telling me that it was okay that I couldn’t and that my baby just needed to be fed. I even went to a lactation specialist and she even told me it would be hard to breastfeed him because he was such a big baby and I was (in her words) a “petite woman and it would be hard to keep up with him.” When I heard that, things went downhill even more.
I had very bad anxiety all the time. I felt like I had to prove to my and my husbands family that I was a good mom. I think what brought out a lot of my sadness was I felt like I was forgotten about. Everyone cared about Knox, but not me. I had very few people ask me (and mean it) how was I doing. That’s so important to do for a new mother. Ask them how THEY’RE doing and actually care. The mother matters too, we need to remember that.
I had very high expectations for myself. I was going to be the best mom. I was going to have my body back so fast after Knox was born. I was going to have a clean house. And I was going to go to work and be happy like I use to be. I was going to be that “Pinterest Mom” you see online who has her crap together. Wow, was I wrong. I unfortunately learned that you have lower your standards. And quickly.
I remember my son was around 4 months old and my husband and I had a pretty big argument about me snapping at him. I was so hateful to him. I remember him asking me what was wrong with me? Why am I so angry? Why don’t I want to hold Knox? And all I could say was “I’m just not happy. I’m not happy with my life. And I don’t know why.” I thought to myself all the time: “Why am I not happy with my wonderful family? Is this what my life is going to be like now? Why am I not obsessed with my little boy and loving on him all the time?” We both didn’t really know what was wrong with me. I went to my moms house a few days later and cried to her about it. I told her I wasn’t happy and that Terry and I kept arguing. I think what helped me was my mom asked me if Terry was doing something specifically that had made me so unhappy. And then it hit me, I couldn’t tell her a single thing he had done because he hadn’t done anything wrong! That’s when I thought “this has to be something with my hormones, something mental. Because before October 5th I was happily married. Terry never did anything wrong and neither did Knox.”
We realized a big part that was messing me up was my birth control. It made me insane. I thankfully got off of it when Knox was 5 months old, and it was like a weight had been lifted. I felt like me. It truly felt like my rain cloud that had been over me for the last 4-5 months had vanished. And it was an amazing feeling.
Terry is who got me through my PPD. He pushed me to get through it. He helped me with Knox. He was there for me to lean on, cry on. He made me feel beautiful every day. He told me it was going to be okay. He never gave up on me because he knew this sad person that was here at the moment wasn’t his wife.
What PPD has taught me is to ask for help more. That was one of my problems…I refused to ask for help. My mentality was “I’m his mom and I’m not going to push him off on others so I can sleep.” Well, that’s wrong. Ask for help! Your family wants to help. You can’t be a good mom if you’re not taking care of yourself. And I wasn’t. When I got my hormones leveled out, I realized no one was judging me. No one was bashing me. It was all me. It was me who put this anxiety on me. I realized I am a good mom. I know that I was made to be a mom. That was one of the first things I told Terry when we started dating was “I don’t know what I’ll do for a job but I just want to be a mom.” To this day I stand true to that. If my husband and my son are happy, I’m good. They are my world.
PPD is real. It’s scary. It’s awful. But you can get through it. But you have to reach out to your loved ones and be encouraged by them. Don’t judge another mother because you may have not gone through it. Encourage one another that [we are] good moms. We’re too hard on ourselves. You’re going to have bad days, but the good days outweigh the bad. I may not be a “Pinterest mom” and I may not always have my crap together, but I have a whole lot of love in my messy house. I’m married to my best friend, and we have the best little boy ever. Everything I went through in the beginning of motherhood has made me a stronger mother. Giving birth is easy, but there’s no epidural for motherhood.