Post-partum depression was a fear of mine, when I was pregnant, as I have suffered from depression before in the past so I assumed I was at a higher risk. My biggest fear was I would get depression & not want my baby. That is not what happened with me but I will tell you my story.. or at least the parts I am ready to talk about. I feel it is SO important that we DO talk about it. I personally like to know I am not alone. I want others to know they are not alone.
After I had Amina shit was really hard. Amina was going through some issues with her tummy and her skin starting about a week into her life here on earth. She would cry and cry and cry for hours at a time sometimes. She would not nap, unless I was holding her. She woke up every 1-2 hours at night, take HOURS to even fall asleep. I was breastfeeding around the clock, but probably more for soothing than feeding. We struggled a lot with breastfeeding. She would constantly unlatch, we saw doctors & lactation consultants. All saying everything was “okay”, just needed to work on our latch. We did end up finding out she had allergies months later. But anyway that will be another post. Amina cried ALOT, if I set her down she would SCREAM. Pablo was acting out because I feel I was not giving him the attention he needed, poor guy & I was severely depressed at this point, but hadn’t realized it yet. I was crying a lot. I was miserable. I was very angry. Which I had no idea was a part of PPD(it is called “post-partum rage”). I was yelling a lot. I did not like who I was. I was also extremely anxious & always on edge. I did not want to leave my house. I did not want to do anything. I did not want to see anyone. Post-partum is hard enough as it is on it’s own; the bleeding, recovery, exhaustion, new baby needing you constantly. But this time I definitely felt something was off because I was just not myself at all.
I would sometimes lock myself in the bathroom and sit on the floor & just cry. I felt so alone. I felt isolated. I felt like I was a failure of a mother. My kids were both screaming. What was I doing wrong. I felt defeated. I felt like I was losing control of my life, my life was a mess. I could barely keep it together. I had no motivation to do anything. I barely wanted to leave my bed.
It did not help that when I looked into the mirror I did not recognize who was staring back at me. I saw a someone with black circles and sunken in sad eyes. I saw an exhausted mother who really needed a break. A hug. Some sleep. I saw a mother who had carried two babies back to back and had a protruding belly now. Loose skin. Stretch marks. Hairy legs and armpits. Stains on her clothes. I saw someone who felt like she was drowning & had lost herself.
I ended up asking my mom to help out, which by the way is really hard for me. As I have always been stubborn and wanting to do everything myself. We had considered hiring a nanny instead but in the end I decided I felt more comfortable with my mom being with me those days at home helping rather than a stranger and thank goodness she was able to. She came in to help me with the kids four days a week for about 2 months. My partner also helped me out with Pablo when he could. Took him out, would wake up with him & put him to sleep at night(this was really difficult for me because he was my first baby and I missed him so much and felt so guilty, plus I did not know if dad was doing everything “right”).
I worked on myself by taking my supplements(I researched which supplements to take for PPD), making sure I got outside everyday at least once a day(actually my partner encouraged this because I had become such a hermit I did not wanna leave my house). I would use CBD oil sometimes if I really felt down or anxious. Also talking about my feelings openly with friends and family helps me.
At times I am still angry, mainly when I feel out of control or overwhelmed. I have bad days and good days. I am still noticing when it’s becoming to be too much I need to make some time for myself. Even if it’s just letting Pablo watch some tv while I relax a bit, because you know what? Sometimes we need that time & if we don’t have the extra set of hands to help then do what you gotta do. I am so grateful my family is helping out and they watch the kids every 2 weeks for a few hours while I can do my own thing. It is GOLDEN. The time alone is honestly so good. I love my children so so much, but I also realize I can still love them and love myself too, and give myself time for me. Motherhood is so HARD. This journey of post-partum is DAMN HARD & I feel like nobody prepares you for this part of motherhood.
I am figuring out what works for me and so far, I have found these to be helpful:
– Daily walks
– Healthy balanced diet
– CBD Oil
– Making time for myself/childcare for “me time”
– Accepting help
– Not isolating myself
– Taking vitamins (especially: fish oil, iron, vitamin d)
– Supportive partner/family
Obviously if you have severe PPD and feel suicidal you should consult your care provider right away.
I am still working on myself daily. It is a job to keep it up. I think now it is a matter of feeling “myself” again and just finding myself again after becoming a mother. Adjusting to my new life with TWO little ones & accepting my new body etc. We are given these amazing little beings that we love more than anything but we still have to remember in order to be the best mother we can be to them, we have to take care of OURSELVES first. Sometimes that may seem or feel selfish. But I promise it is not. So if you need to get a baby sitter once or twice a week so you can go do something by yourself or have a date night with your partner, that is okay. Don’t feel guilty. I am slowly learning that it is OKAY. I am slowly taking more time for myself. I am also still learning to fully love my new body. I do love and appreciate my body for what it has done. It has grown, carried & nourished my two healthy, children; for that I am grateful.