So I’ve hesitated writing this, because postpartum depression is pretty personal. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to sit down and write, but here I am.
I was really nervous about having Claire, mostly because I didn’t know how I’d handle two of them, and I was worried about the impact on Grace. Thankfully she has handled it like a champ, with the occasional jealousy, but she’s mostly just curious about this tiny person in our house. She still doesn’t really understand why we can’t just run out the door for a walk, but she’s getting there!
I’m struggling though.
SO many people are understanding of PPD which is wonderful, but there are others that just don’t understand that it’s not a “transition” or something that will “sort itself out.”
I actually started this blog because I wanted to force myself to see my world in a different way, and use it as a sort of therapy to reflect on the good and keep me busy. So far it’s been fantastic, and I hope I’ve been sharing some good ideas and yummy recipes that you can use! But there are moments of every day when I find myself stuck in a dark hole where I feel absolutely hopeless and like the walls are caving in around me. Sounds fun, right?
How can I be feeling this way? I have a hilarious toddler who absolutely lights up a room when she sprints into it, and the sweetest, most well behaved baby I’ve ever seen. They make me so unbelievably happy. My husband is my best friend on the entire planet. He makes me laugh, he listens, we share ideas and dreams and hopes, and he’s an amazing father to our little girls. He’s also working so hard so that I can stay home for now and raise our girls. We have a beautiful dog who drives me crazy with her food obsession, but gives the best hugs and cuddles ever. I have amazing parents and brothers who are always there if I need to talk or vent, and they’re always supportive and willing to help.
I am so thankful the PPD wasn’t more severe. I don’t want to hurt anyone or myself, but it’s still hard to cope with most days. I put on a different mask for family and friends and social media most of the time with how I’m feeling. That’s not to say my life isn’t real, but I put a more desirable spin on my days on social media. The rose colored “crema” filters on Instagram are a reality I can’t fully recognize or appreciate right now.
When I was working last year I was miserable. I knew I was feeling called to be home with Grace, and little did I know we’d be welcoming another bundle soon. I would wake up with fingernail marks in my palms from clenching my fists all night. I was on the edge of a very dark path, and I started going to therapy, something I had said I would never do. It was really helpful, and I know I need to start again but I’m resisting and I don’t know why.
Here’s how PPD has manifested with me. It’s not always just tears and depression.
Anxiety– Crippling, can’t breathe, anxiety. I’ve struggled with anxiety for years so I have some coping methods, but not being able to catch your breath is very frustrating.
Paranoia– I’m afraid every night and all day that our daughters will die. I go in and check on Grace multiple times at night. I’m afraid, constantly. I’m thinking about death, constantly. I have horrible visions of horrific things that make me cringe, projecting terrible situations.
Doom and Gloom-You know how they say a “feeling of impending doom?” It’s real, and you can’t really describe it unless you’ve experienced it. The best way I can describe it is feeling like you did something terribly wrong and someone is going to find out about it at any moment.
Anger– I get irrationally angry about things. Not directed at the kids, sometimes directed at my husband unfortunately. The weirdest offshoot has definitely been “rage cleaning”, but our house has never looked nicer I will say!
Manic– I get these crazy ideas at random times, and I have to do it right then and there or I’ll jump out of my skin. Like organizing a closet, or finding something I think is lost. Or researching something on the internet.
Spaced Out– I find myself just staring a lot. When I run out to get groceries at night, which is pretty much my only time out alone, I sit in the parking lot at ALDI like a weirdo and just space out, not even on my phone. It’s like a numb feeling where you just don’t have the energy to do anything, even put the car in drive. This one I’m going to mostly blame on sleep deprivation!
Some days I feel like I’ve lost my identity. I want to go back to working in schools eventually, but I am still burned out. Teaching was my life for so long before we had Grace, and I put 110% into it all the time, I was making myself crazy. I loved it, but it was definitely an unhealthy obsession that I channeled into perfection. I was the Hermione Granger at my school. Then I stop and realize I have a new identity. I’m not just sitting at home doing nothing, I’m raising these two little people, who will eventually become adults, that’s crazy, and such a huge and awesome responsibility!
So what’s the point of this post?
Partially it’s just therapy for me. The other part is that I hope someone who is also struggling with this can read this and just know they aren’t alone. PPD is chemical, you can’t just “snap out of it”. Make sure you talk to someone about it, or at least recognize it and formulate a plan to help. I’m going to try and take my own advice, too!