The moment I hit postpartum depression was with my eldest child eleven years ago. It never really stopped.
When it first happened I was younger then, and still full of hope. But then, postpartum depression hit me. I didn’t know what was wrong with me because I was never told about it. As far as I was concerned, I was being selfish for wanting to be my own person again, and not just the mother and caretaker my newborn baby needed. I was more than just a robot with milk in her boobs and maternal instincts under her belt. I was a woman. A person. Someone with hopes, fears, and dreams. Someone who wanted to live her own life. But I had made the decision of having a child and being a mother. I had to make sacrifices because of it. On one hand, I was fine with that. On the other, I battled a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and depressed. My job was now to be in forever servitude in order to keep my baby safe and hold their hand as they grew up. I then had one more, baby, and then another baby. A little more of that ongoing depression I pushed down and ignored chipped away large pieces of me over time. My days felt longer as I cared for my three children, and my family. At night, I had enough strength to do a little exercise and watch a mindless show because I was too tired for anything else and had to make it to bed in order to function all day the next day for my kids. After all, I knew it was not about me anymore. It was about them. I had made the decision of being a mom so I had to suck it up. All the other feelings that went against that I started to literally bottle it up in bottles of wine, beer, or anything else I could find to help my mind and my heart keep me from going insane. My dreams had to wait. I had to be patient. But it was hard to be. It was hard to put myself on the back burner every day so I could take care of everyone else. I was doing my best.
How couldn’t I manage when so many other women were in my shoes doing so much more? Why was I struggling to keep up? The only answer I could find was that I didn’t have a strong support system at all. I had friends and family, yes, but nobody to really help me out with the kids and to take them off my hands except for my husband. He was already working a job to support us, I didn’t want to ask more out of him so most of the time I suffered in silence. I had good days and bad days. All I wanted was to feel happy and grateful. I knew I had a good life so why wasn’t I happy with it? I was rested so why was I was always exhausted? I felt a constant, heavy burden of the monotonous routine which I knew would eventually take away my youth, and one day leave me middle aged, with no experience under my belt except for ‘homemaker.’ What could I really do about never having any real time to myself? What could I do about being practically alone to raise my three kids?
I know there are so many women like me out there, doing their best. I wanted to share this so you knew that you aren’t alone and there are so many ways to cope. One of them is to be GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. Allow yourself to feel this way and then release it. It is completely normal, and many others are in your shoes.
Get some little time away from your loved ones and walk, jog or talk with a friend. Get away from the house and everywhere you find yourself during the day. It’ll help clear your head to be outdoors and in nature.
Find some motivational coaching whether it be through a real person or some great YouTube channel. Find something that inspires you. Mine is meditation, swimming in the ocean and listening to Abraham Hicks.
We can do this together, you and I. One day at a time. Just don’t give up.