My postpartum journey has been one filled with utter joy and happiness, while also harboring hidden depression. Many women suffer in silence and when they are unable to handle their suffering any longer decide to take their own life. I recently read an article about one such woman/mother. Reading that made me decide to share more about my own personal struggles with depression, especially postpartum depression, because it is normal and more common than you would expect. Postpartum depression or depression in general do not have to end in self harm or suicide, help is out there and seeking it does not make you weak or crazy.
I remember going to my son’s well child check ups and filling out a survey about my own mental health to give to the doctor. My husband would look over my shoulder as I circled numbers without putting much thought into it. He would stop me over and over again as I went on, claiming that I was not okay and that I was experiencing these symptoms of depression more than I was admitting on the sheet. I would get so irritated and defensive when he would make these comments and sternly inform him that I was fine. Every time I was given the same sheet I filled it out the same way, and was forced to deal with the same responses from my husband.
I have been married for four and a half years now and my husband has watched me battle depression off and on throughout the years. He knows my symptoms and he knows when I am not okay, but I will always go to battle with him to prove that I am okay even when I know I am not. I hate admitting that I am not okay, I hate admitting that I have sunk back into a depression, and I HATE admitting that I need help when it comes to my depression. Jordan always knows when something is not right with me, sometimes even before I do. He never makes me feel guilty for feeling these things, instead wants me to admit that I feel them and seek the help that I need.
Giving birth to my son was an incredible experience, one I wouldn’t trade for the world. The time that followed was supposed to be filled with only feelings of happiness, love, and bliss. Instead those wonderful feelings were mixed with intermittent feelings of sadness, disgust, and self loathing. I was stuck in this downward spiral… I was drowning and was ignoring every life preserver thrown my way by my loved ones, especially my husband’s. I felt out of control in my life. I was stuck in a body I was unhappy with, I was stressed out, and I was exhausted all the time.
I had always felt like my weight and health was something I could always control. Pregnancy and giving birth showed me otherwise. Throughout my entire pregnancy all I ever heard was how much weight people lost because they breastfed, and how fast they lost all of their baby weight. I was NOT one of those people. I was stuck at a weight I was miserably unhappy with and there was nothing I could do about it, I had again lost control. As strange as it may sound, my health and fitness is directly tied to my mental health and well being. When it came down to it, it was lose weight or breastfeed my child. There was no reason, other than my selfish desire to lose weight, not to continue breastfeeding. So I made the obvious choice.
For months I felt stuck and out of control in my weight and my life in general. Once my son basically cast me aside for real food, I was finally able to jump into taking care of myself physically and mentally. Loosing 27 pounds in about 4-5 months has done wonders for my mental state. I am in a much better and brighter place than I was in just a few months ago. I feel much more in control of my life and am so much happier. I am able to fully enjoy being a mom to the most wonderful boy in the world. It does get better my friends.
Stay happy! Stay healthy!