When I had Owen, I went through some pretty dark times. I was only 21 when he was born, my friends were all still going out every weekend. I felt extremely alone. I was in a different stage of my life than most of my friends, making it hard to find many people to relate to. I honestly thought that was the reason I was so depressed.
I was so sure when I had my second child, Harper, that I wouldn’t get postpartum depression again. I started this blog as a way to keep my mind busy and to give me purpose outside of being a Mom. I planned to keep as busy as possible and to surround myself with positive people, as if all these things would somehow mean that I somehow wouldn’t get postpartum depression. They say “baby blues” lasts for about two weeks, I was totally convinced that was all it was. I would cry uncontrollably, feel like the worst mom, get super irritable. I tried to talk myself out of the feelings, and was so scared to see if they would last past the two week mark. After the two weeks passed, my feelings subsided a bit. I was so relieved, I thought it was over. But as Harper got fussy, I got worse. She would cry uncontrollably, and I felt like I couldn’t handle it anymore. I would cry the second she started to cry, and have anxiety attacks because I was unable to calm her down. I was mentally and physically so exhausted. People would try to give advice and it would infuriate me to no end, so I secluded myself, which in hindsight may not have been the best, but the thought of someone coming over and trying to tell me how to calm her down while she was screaming gave me such anxiety.
I was trying so many things to calm her down and nothing would work. It seemed that every time she was awake she was angry and crying, she was only calm when she slept. Around 6 weeks was when it was the absolute worst, she cried SO MUCH. Every evening from 8-11 she was so miserable. It broke my heart hearing her cry like that, I didn’t think I could take it anymore. Everyday I would dread the evenings because it meant hearing her scream for hours. I asked my doctor what was wrong with her around her two month check-up. I started crying when I was describing how Harper was acting to him, that day I felt so broken, so exhausted and like a complete zombie. It was probably the darkest place my mind ever has been. I explained to him how I’ve been feeling, I felt so defeated saying the words “I’m pretty sure I have postpartum depression”. I thought I did everything possible to avoid it. I thought I was stronger and knew better from my past experience with it. He told me that it wasn’t my fault, it happens, it’s common and I’m not alone, he prescribed me anti-depressants and I was on my way.
After Harper was 9 weeks she was way calmer, she still has fussy times, but they are shortened to 15 minutes instead of 3 hours. She smiles, and is awake without crying. I thought the stage of her being fussy would never end, as much as people say it will, when you’re in it, it is absolute hell. My mood has improved, there are still days where I’m not myself, but I am not as bad as I was from Harper being 6-9 weeks. I still feel tons of guilt, even though I know I shouldn’t, for not being the Mom I wanted to be for the first two months of Harper being alive, and for not being the Mom Owen needed during this transition of him being a big brother. I wish I could have been better, but unfortunately some things are out of our control, and I did the best I could. I may not be fully myself yet, but I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am for the friends and family that have stuck by me, that told me it would all be ok when I snapped at them and wasn’t myself. Mental health is something out of our control. Personally, I find the one of the hardest things to is have to act like I’m all okay. New moms have a lot of pressure as it is, and if you are going though postpartum depression, it is almost easier to seclude yourself so you don’t have to explain why you are the way that you are. I mainly talk to the people I know will comfort me, who will bring up my mood, and who just accept me at what feels like my worst time. If someone reading this is going through something similar, please know that as much as it feels like it will never end, it will get better. Make sure you talk to your doctor to discuss the right course of action for you, and do what’s best for you. Take care of yourself, watch funny shows, take bubble baths, do anything you can to bring up your mood even just a tiny bit.
I always want to be as open as I can be, and if you are that person reading this that has felt the way I explained, know you aren’t alone, myself and 15% of new moms have gone through this, and it will get better. If you are someone who can’t relate, and were just curious as to what postpartum depression has been like for me, just make sure you are a little extra kind to new Moms. You never know what’s going on in their head, things may seem perfect from the pictures on Instagram, they may seem okay, but you never really know how they are feeling.