I promised y’all when I started this blog that I would always be honest. This is something that I really feel like I need to share with you Mama’s out there. My experience with Postpartum depression was a somewhat secret season of my life that only those closest to me knew about.
I hope you find this encouraging if you are going through the same thing and just need a friend that understands. I have recently talked to several other new Moms who were really struggling with depression but not telling anyone how they felt inside and this makes it ten times worse. So please read on.
I had a perfect textbook pregnancy. I felt great up until the last few weeks of pregnancy when I started to get really swollen and just plain tired of being pregnant. I had always heard of a lot of women getting the “baby blues,” and I had read the sheet of information from my doctor office about it, but I still did not do much research on it. I wish I would have informed myself more looking back, but truly you can’t fully prepare yourself for it. I had a pretty smooth delivery considering what most people go through, and I seemed fine after she was born until we got home. We were only in the hospital for two days and during those two days I obviously did not sleep a lot nor did I eat a lot. So we arrive home and I am just feeling really overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, and I did not have an appetite. I started crying that night after becoming so frustrated with trying to breastfeed and feeling guilty about not being able to breastfeed our baby girl and switching her to formula. That is when it all began.
I cried constantly for days on end and had a lot of anxiety and “mom guilt” over the craziest things. I worried about anything and everything. I cried even more because I didn’t understand what was wrong with me or why I was so sad. I just had a perfectly healthy baby, and I have a wonderful life so what’s my deal? Cue the guilty feelings and beating myself up and that resulted in me being a huge mess. Thankfully, my husband was off for three days with me when we came home and he was so wonderful (still is) and really took the reins for those three days while I tried to get myself together. He fed our baby, changed her, and cooked most of our meals. I would wake up and dread the next day, because I knew it was one day closer to him going back to work and I would be by myself with the baby during the day.
This continued for a couple of weeks and then I felt like I was starting to snap out of it and return back to my normal self. I was becoming more confident in taking care of our baby and trying not to worry about random impending doom. Then just like before, I started feeling really depressed again and all I wanted to do was sleep, lay on the couch, and eat. It was at that point that I realized I had crossed over from having the “baby blues” to Postpartum depression. I did not want to go anywhere, see anyone, or even put on decent clothes. I could not get excited about anything and I really lost my joy during that time. That was one of the hardest parts because I have always been a really happy person. I finally decided to talk to my mother in law about it, because I knew she had experienced it with her firstborn. I can’t even explain how much she helped me and how much it helped me to simply talk about it without feeling guilty. Here is the advice she gave me along with things I did that truly helped me, and I hope they help you too.
- Keep your mind in check.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
I knew that I couldn’t let my mind run away with me, because hormones will cause you to feel kind of nutty at times. For nine months your hormones are very high and then suddenly after you have the baby they make their descent quite quickly. So I had to keep my mind focused on the fact that it was only my hormones and God would get me through it. I was not crazy or a bad mom for having such a hard time after having a baby, and I had to constantly reassure myself of those two statements. Keep your mind centered on Christ and the fact that you are doing a great job even though you feel like a hot mess that has no clue what she is doing.
2. Eating & Exercise
I started going to the park in the mornings and pushing the baby around in her stroller. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins and they naturally make you feel a lot better emotionally and physically so that was a win in itself. I also started drinking more water and trying to eat healthier throughout the day. Those two together made a huge difference in my mood and I know it helped me get past some of the depression. It also gave me more energy to do chores around the house again and keep my mind off of the sadness and anxiety. I have really learned in the past year that what you eat and do not eat plays a huge role in your mood and how you feel. It sounds so elementary, but I never fully understood that concept until recently.
3. Communicating with your person
We all have that person we confide in whether it be our husband, mom, Sister, best friend, etc. Grab your person and tell them exactly how you are feeling at the current moment and what you need to do about it. An important part of getting over your depression is giving your “person” updates everyday on how you are feeling. I would talk to my husband everyday and be honest about how many times I cried or how I was feeling that day. This was a great way to vent and get it off of my chest each day. If I needed to have a cry I would do it and then be done with crying. I would express my worries, fears, and everything else inside to my husband and he would help me work through them all. Seriously, make sure you marry the right man because you will need a rock solid guy to support you. I am so blessed to have him.
I prayed a lot during this time, and I am thankful that I went through that season. God really showed me a lot during that time and changed me as a person. I am thankful that I can encourage you if you are going through the same thing. God can get you through anything so just trust in HIM! It will get better and it won’t last forever!
Finally, somewhere between July and August I woke up and was back to my normal happy self. It was like a switch had turned off and I was suddenly me again. I stopped crying all the time and was finally over the depression. I have been completely fine since that day and haven’t had any more problems with depression. It lasted for several tough months, but thankfully did not last for longer than it did. I know that God was the number one reason I made it through along with my wonderful, supportive family praying for me.
*Disclaimer: I know that sometimes women get beyond depressed and do have to take depression medicine for a short period of time. I did not want to take medication because I am a firm believer in trying the natural methods first, but I do know that it sometimes goes way beyond that and medical attention is needed. SO if you have tried everything you know to try and still don’t feel better please seek medical advice and know that I am praying for you. I was really depressed (sad, weepy) and anxious, but I did not experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming my baby. If you have those thoughts please SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. *
Always remember this is just a season, you are a great Mama, and I will be praying for you.
If you need a friend feel free to shoot me a message! I would love to hear your story and hear your thoughts on this article!