By definition, Postpartum depression is a depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
Being a new mother, I can remember the exact day, December 30, 2020, I was battling. I had been struggling with a pain that had no definitive name at the time. As I began motherhood, pushing through for weeks, I instinctively knew something was wrong. What ‘they don't tell you about postpartum depression is that there is a thin line between the effects of becoming a new mother and simply when your body is trying to tell you that you are not OK. Though I was aware of walking a tightrope, this is something I had to find out the hard way. I spent countless hours searching on Google, looking on Instagram, adding myself to groups on Facebook, and yet there was no one to tell me for sure if I was dealing with postpartum depression. Through these short few months, now I realize this is a very sensitive and sidestepped topic. For some reason, women will talk about pregnancy, all the aspects of giving birth but when it came to your mental health after bringing the baby home the advice starts to get very slim. After doing my research, with limited success, I just decided to “get shit done” and figure things out as I always have. If you truly know me you already know I don’t tend to ask for or need help and I get things done no matter what, but we all need help sometimes and this was my turn. I was exhausted at the end of the day, which seemed normal, but the inability to fall asleep, consistent panic attacks, crying for no reason, an intense rollercoaster of emotions, overwhelmed. Taking care of my son seemed to become overwhelming but didn't want anybody to take him. I felt his absence would have caused more harm than good as a new mother.
I know some of you are wondering “Where my boyfriend at the time/father of my son was?. Well, that’s a story for another time but let’s just say we were rocky for a long time and the rollercoaster of our relationship was causing more pain than happiness, so I had to walk away. So here I am a single mom with a 7-month-old, living with my mother & trying to put all the pieces together of my new life.
Becoming a new mother in the midst of COVID-19 also contributed to my stress. This is something no one was prepared for, so bringing a child into this world during this time was baffling. Everything I imagined motherhood to be, was now impossible. Having a newborn during this time looked like a doctor’s visit by myself, no visitors, working from home, and the constant fear of getting Covid and giving it to my baby. I can’t say that it was all bad though. I was able to have more time at home with my son, and it forced me to put more energy into myself. I’m thankful I was able to invest in self but the feeling of being alone, when you need people the most is one of the worst things I experienced. I know my friends and family love me but due to personal lives and this pandemic, I didn’t feel like I had the support I needed. Not putting the blame on them because I also did not tell people what I had going on. I had painfully ended a friendship of more than two decades with someone who I considered my best friend for years. It truly was a time of sudden endings and new beginnings. Everyone talks about relationships ending but breaking up with a friend was just as hard if not harder. My entire life was changing, things were falling apart, I had people depending on me, & how dare I complain because “becoming a new mom is a blessing and the best thing that could happen to me.” Be that it may, becoming a new mom during this time was also stressful, hard, and overwhelming.
Fast forward and here I am flourishing and whatnot. I had to stand up and accept the situation I was in while wanting more and doing more at the same time. I started going to therapy, which helped a lot more than I thought it would. I started meditating, writing in my journal, and practicing some serious self-care. I am joyful to say I am now in my own place, my son is happy and healthy, ya girl is making moves and although I still have more to do LIFE IS GOOD! I say all this to say ladies don’t do like me. Although I am in a better place now, I made things a lot harder on myself than I needed to. I took steps forward, back, to the side, and back and forth again before I actually did the things, I’m going to tell you to do right now.
If you feel like something is wrong talk to a doctor, your family, your friends. Ask questions, seek therapy, take the medication do whatever you need to do because PPD is more common than we think, and you don’t have to struggle.
Take time out for yourself. You deserve it!
Listen to what your mind and body are trying to tell you.
Make lists and prioritize the things that need to be done. Don’t over work yourself.
Don’t ever feel guilty for saying no or raising your child how you want to.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Take the time to allow yourself to make mistakes and learn. All of this is new for you. You may have had a life before the baby down pack but baby this is different.
Being a good mommy doesn’t mean you are perfect.
Finally, BREATHE YOU GOT THIS MOMMA!