Sometimes those are the three words you need to hear. Sometimes you need to hear that acknowledgement. Depression has been something I have been battling with for some time. Before then, I didn’t have a name for it. The overwhelming feelings were just the norm for me. It hit me the hardest during post-college-career-transition but much worse during the winter of 2012.
The peak was after giving birth to my first child. I was constantly crying, unhappy when I felt I should be happy, and angry for feeling unhappy. At that time I kept telling myself that it would go away. My first son was about to hit the 6 month mark when I was diagnosed but at his 2 month mark his pediatrician was asking questions since I was showing signs. Even then I had a hard time comprehending what it meant. Ultimately I just felt like I was a bad mother. Now that I look back at it, with what I was dealing with at that time, I was definitely depressed the first year of my first child’s life.
I would feel myself lost, I could not think or see clearly due to the weight I constantly felt. I felt like I was just going through the motions in life while feeling this weight of sadness in me. I was rapidly losing weight from the lack of sleep. I even found myself crying in the break room at work unable to determine why. Fortunately, it didn’t take away from how I cared for my first child. I just wasn’t taking care of myself. If anything, he provided the motivation to seek help. I wanted to be better for him. After taking a quick medical leave and counseling, I felt as if I was stepping towards the right direction.
Then I found out I was pregnant.
Due to my history with depression, my mid-wife and primary physician introduced me to an OB/GYN that was working closely with pregnant women in my situation. She was an absolute God send.
My first meeting with her, I was nervous to go over my history with her. After explaining how I was feeling and my fears, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It’s hard, don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s okay that you feel this way. I acknowledge you. It isn’t easy.” All I could do was burst into tears.
With all that I was feeling, there was just so much relief that I felt with what she said. Every visit was like that. Discussing my fears of how I was feeling would effect my baby, what the subchoronic hemorrage and bleeding I experienced around 12 weeks meant, my desire to make breastfeeding work this time around, and my fears of having postpartum depression again.
It’s still an everyday struggle now but I feel that I have a better grasp of it then I did during my first postpartum. Some days are definitely better than others. I guess this is where I have a soft spot for new mothers, especially those that don’t have other friends to share the experience or thoughts with. The isolation I felt with my first was such a horrible feeling. At the time I was pregnant and had my first child, my friends were still focusing on their careers. I had no one to confide in and it just made me sink into myself. I still have a hard time pulling myself out of a dark state at times. It helps that now I have a name for it, my husband is much more understanding of it, and I am feeling more comfortable with acknowledging it. I want to get to the point where I can say that I deal with depression, mainly postpartum depression.
If you’re a new mother, second time, or x-time mother and trying to overcome postpartum depression, I acknowledge you. Sometimes you need to hear that you’re doing a good job. You need to hear that it’s okay if not everything gets done. Sometimes you need to hear that motherhood and parenthood is taking it one thing at a time. For now, I will remind myself that my babies are healthy, they are happy, I need to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe one day I will get to say I dealt with postpartum depression and that I found a way to overcome it.