I will be one of the first to tell you how isolating it can feel to be the only mama among a group of friends that are either back at school or conquering their careers. During this time I felt like all I really needed were other mamas. Someone to commiserate with about sleepless nights, ways to keep breastmilk supply up, or just someone to understand the overwhelm that comes at times.
I haven’t told many of my close friends about my battle with PPD. Mostly due to fear of not being understood and just being seen differently. I’ve decided to be more open about it because well, this is who I am right now. A second time mama trying to find ways to continually shut down the heavy criticism and self doubt that overcomes me. Someone who is trying to do give her all and best for her kids, husband, and those she holds dearest to her. For anyone that is dealing with PPD, or anything like it, can attest to how tiresome it is to carry it all so close to you. Not being able to, or allowing yourself, to confide in friends is exhausting both physically and mentally.
One of my good friends, the godmother to O and someone who has managed to give so much optimism and faith in my life, only recently found out. I hate that I waited so long but it always felt like it wasn’t the right time. I found myself blurting it out and fumbling over words one afternoon while she was visiting. She had W in her arms while he was bouncing around while I was trying to wrangle in O. I couldn’t look at her directly after I just spilled it all at once. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really was taken aback with her reaction.
“You’ll get through this.”
She said it so simply and matter of fact.
She acknowledged what I said. She genuinely understood. She sympathized. She was encouraging. She was optimistic for me. More importantly, she looked at me no different. I was taken aback because we’re in different chapters in our lives. I, the second time mama. Her, conquering her Masters and career. In my mind I was more than certain only a mama would understand and be so encouraging. In my mind I thought she would not be able to connect the previous months of isolation I put myself in with my struggle with PPD. Thank you dearest friend for proving me wrong and sincerely doing your best to understand. Thank you for not looking at me differently or treating me any different since finding out. Thank you Lord for allowing such an understanding person be part of my life.
What she gave me was even more strength. Strength that I can continue to get through this. She was able to provide me a perspective coming from a someone who is making her way to the chapter in her life that includes children. Telling her gave me the ease of knowing that I have support from a person I hold close. Being able to tell her and receiving support and understanding has given me the ability to breathe and continue to push forward. More importantly, she showed me that I need support from not just my Mama friends but ALL my friends. It truly does take a village to not only raise a child but maneuver through this motherhood journey.