I pride myself in being a very open individual, it must be because I am a mother. All modesty goes out the door when someone is shining a light on your downstairs waiting for you to push out a human being. I go to the bathroom with the door open and walk in front of windows in my underwear. Although, there is one thing I have not shared with many, I am not sure why. Maybe I felt ashamed, maybe I just felt like by navigating through it alone I could get through it. As always, I want to relate to other parents. So here goes nothin. I have postpartum anxiety and depression. I had it after sass was born, and was also diagnosed again after our little man was born.
I tried to tiptoe around it this time. Doing all of the “right” things. I went on an incredibly low dose of anxiety medication to try to avoid, what was ultimately the inevitable. I was determined to continue my breastfeeding journey longer than I had with our daughter. I took time off work and slowly increased my hours as to not get overwhelmed with life as a mother of two and a hectic sales environment, but to my dismay at around 4 or 5 months postpartum the all too familiar feelings came back. I never had feelings of hatred or harm towards either my children or myself, I just felt lost. I had a constant worry over the uncontrollable which ultimately lead to a spiral into a depression. I don’t want pity. Please don’t look down on me as I try to help others up. I am not broken.
On average, 15% of women are diagnosed with a postpartum illness. That is just those that are diagnosed, there are far more who go without a diagnosis. I always tell myself, if I were diagnosed with diabetes or an infection of some sort, I would not go untreated. The same goes for a postpartum illness as well. There was no prevention for me, as I had hoped and tried so desperately to plan. Our son slept great as a newborn (not so much now), I had all the help in the world from my amazing husband. I truly had everything, but I just felt like I was navigating through a fog. Every day was a struggle to not cry or snap at someone. The once healthy and active lifestyle I loved so much just seemed too daunting to continue.
So here I am, exposed. I am fine. I am okay. I am doing great. There are some days where I still fall into a discouraging slump. I worry about anything and everything and then internalize it and it just all snowballs. Other times I will go days, even weeks without even noticing. It will be an ongoing battle for a little while I am sure, but I am proud. I am a proud wife. I am a proud mother. I am a proud daughter, sister, friend. I am happy and ya know what, it does get better. Always remember to take care of you and know that you are not alone.