To the Mothers Struggling With Depression on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day in the U.S. is during the month of May which also happens to be Mental Health Awareness month. No matter how you feel, you deserve to be celebrated on this day too.
Mother’s Day in the U.S. is during the month of May which also happens to be Mental Health Awareness month. No matter how you feel, you deserve to be celebrated on this day too.

You might be apprehensive about the upcoming Mother’s Day.  You’re not sure what you’ve done to even deserve to be celebrated on that day.  You make think that you haven’t done much to prove you’re a good mother.  You may not feel like such a great Mama with how you’re feeling.

You may have been lost in a fog more than you liked.   The lows seem to be greater than the high points. You may be finding yourself fighting back tears more often than you like or during moments that don’t make sense.  Or even trying to summon every ounce of strength to just not fall apart in front of the people you love.

You do deserve this day, just as much as any mother/mother figure.

I’m here to remind you that this is just a small moment in the grander scheme of things.  I think it’s easier to pick apart all the lower and bad moments from the good ones and carry them with you.  Those good moments seem so faint when the weight of the bad moments make it hard to move forward.  Those good moments, they are there.

The brief periods where you mentally prepare yourself with a quick prayer or pep talk and can make it out the door to work.  Days where you would rather pull the covers over you but opt for a morning at the park with your kids.  For a brief moment, you have the laughter of your kids and genuine smiles to give you more hope and give you another reason to keep moving forward.  Those sessions with your doctor where you suddenly realize a major jump you’ve made in progress and that YES, you can do this.  Yes, those good moments are there.

Some days are definitely better than others. Some days it’s easier to pull yourself from that fog.  You really do deserve this day Mama.

You are fighting.

You are trying.

You are giving as much love as you can.

You’re trying to figure out how to cope and be present.

You ARE a loving Mama.

Happy Mother’s Day, you deserve this day, regardless if you’re trying to find ways to cope, are in the darkest holds of depression, or seeing positive results from everything you have been doing.  Keep fighting as best as you can. Remember to celebrate the small victories because they begin to add up to bigger ones.

If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources,

please call or email:

Call PSI Warmline (English & Spanish) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)

Email support@postpartum.net

or visit http://www.postpartum.net/

signed, dee

Mental Health Quote

Enjoymamahood Journey: PPD

enjoymamahood journey: ppd

My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) has been a very tiring one.  I’m learning that it’s okay to have bad days just as it is okay to have the good days.  Although I’m having my good days, it does not necessarily mean i’m not having an internal struggle with myself.  I’m often reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and that I’m doing pretty good at this motherhood thing.  It may be filled with a lot of yawns due to a sleepless night.  It may also be where I push myself a little harder to get myself and the boys out of the house.  It could also be that I simply was able to get the laundry from the washer into the dryer.

The bad days are still there.  Definitely not as much as before but there.  I am awake, I am functioning, I can get things done.  Often I feel like I’m walking in my own cloud space.  I’m still reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and look at how happy my babies are.  I get so sucked into the fog of my thoughts that I stare off into space.  Am I doing a good job?  Am I doing this motherhood thing right?  Why can’t I be happy?  Why do I feel so down?  “Why?” complies on top of more “Why?”

Late nights and early mornings are much harder for me during this time.  I wake up on my own.  There is no crying baby that needs to be consoled or fed.  There is no crying toddler that had a nightmare.  I wake up and I’m wide awake.  I put on a book on Audible and try to fall back asleep.  Often, I get up and do schoolwork.  Sometimes there is crying.  There is guilt for feeling the way that I do. There is definitely anger within myself for feeling this way.  There is helplessness due to feeling this way.  By the time I am ready to go back to sleep it usually is an hour or so before the babies wake.  I don’t let myself sleep in.  I get up and I take care of them.  I take care of things around the house.  We go run errands.  We go on a walk.  All of this is going on and I am encouraging myself to keep pushing forward.  Encouraging myself that this is just a bad day and I can get through it.  I’m encouraging myself with my boys smiles and their laughs.  I’m willing the cloud above me to just go away.

I don’t know how much of a good job I’m doing with masking this from my family and close friends.  It is tiring and I wish that it was something as simple as willing it to go away instantly.  I know that this is a process.  I know that it won’t be easy.  I know that there are good days and there are bad days.  Some people say it’s hormones and some people say it isn’t a real thing.  It is a real thing.  I not only feel it with every part of my mind and body but I am living it.  I am trying to not only live through it but find a way to live without it.  It’s hard not to feel like people will judge, especially those that you are close with.  Will they think differently of me?  Will they even want to be around me while I’m going through this?

For now I am taking it one step at a time.  One doctor’s appointment at a time.  I’m reminding myself to be present and be mindful.  That I am doing a pretty okay job with my babies.  They are happy, they are healthy, they are hitting milestones, and seem to love me even on my bad days.

What I do know, that even though I feel the way that I do, I am so SO very happy that I have my babies.  They have shown me such a love that makes my chest hurt from happiness.  My babies make it worth every step I’m taking to overcome PPD.

I acknowledge you

Summer 2014

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.

Giving Thanks

 

I’ve been finding myself more emotional lately.  I’m not sure if it’s because O’s birthday is approaching or if it’s due to the season.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I have always associated the holidays with family.  I had a family-centered upbringing and during the holidays the family closeness was even more apparent.

I’ve been striving to pull myself out of the darkness of postpartum.  In doing so, I find myself being thankful for a lot more.  I am so thankful to have doctors guiding me.  I feel that I have a strong support system medically that is looking out for my best interest and not just trying to push me along.  I am thankful for a husband that is doing the best that he can to support and understand the ups and downs of my process.  Most of all, I’m thankful for my two babies.

It can be easy to feel as if they are the reason I feel the way that I do.  However, these two are saving me.  They are the reason that I want to pull myself out completely of postpartum darkness.  Although I feel pulled in so many different directions right now with a toddler and a baby, I find that I am smiling a little more than before.  There are still moments where I find myself crying or just stuck due to feeling like I am doing a terrible job at motherhood.  I’ve been reminding myself that this is just as much of a learning process for myself as it is for them. They are the reason I’m determined to be a great mother and give them the best that I can.  I’m definitely winging this whole motherhood thing.  I’m trying to take it one moment at a time and reminding myself that I can’t be perfect at it.  Most importantly, I’m reminding myself to enjoy even the small moments – like these two playing footsies in our pajamas and rocking in our rocking chair.

At A Standstill


This is how I feel life has been like now that there are two kids in the picture. Life is still moving, things have become a blur but we’re trying to laugh as much as we can.

This postpartum has been a little different from my first.  Not only do I have another kid that is running around but I feel that my priorities have changed yet again.  Now that I know the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, I’ve been watching myself closely.  In the same sense I have been trying to make a point of enjoying each moment.

One change this time around, for me, was making a point of reaching out for help.  Mostly through forums, Instagram accounts by searching through hashtags, and working closely with my OB/GYN and Primary Care doctor.  Knowing that I am not alone and that there are other Mothers that are also trying to get that balance.  With my first pregnancy, postpartum I felt so alone.  I felt like I could not get anyone to understand.  When I finally met with my primary care doctor and she gently explained it, I felt so much relief.

Getting out of the house and going anywhere, even if it’s to get coffee, is a big accomplishment. Gone are the days where I had the need to put on make up and find an outfit.  If I can get my hair tied up and muster up the courage to haul the kids into the car is enough for me even if I’m wearing leopard pajama bottoms, a nursing tank, and a cardigan with spit-up stains.

This to me is real motherhood (at least with a newborn and toddler). Hours to get out of the house because while you’re getting ready one of your kids spilled milk on the sofa.  One of your kids is refusing to wear pants.  Your youngest wants to nurse so there is no way you’re making the party at the time you told your friends.  Motherhood is never at a standstill, there are so many moving parts.  Things are left undone, halfway done, and sometime forgotten.

At the end of the day, as much as I hate thinking about the things I didn’t get done, being able to cuddle with my littles makes me the happiest.  Steadily trying to conquer postpartum.

One and Two

WI have had almost two months to settle in as being a mother of two.  They say that each pregnancy is different and each child is different.  Those statements could not be truer.  Child number two has a completely different demeanor.  Unlike his older brother, he can sleep forever regardless of the noise and commotion going on around him.  There is a sense of calm that he holds and a curiosity that is already filling him during the moments he is awake.  I’m both anxious and excited to see how he will grow up.

Post-pregnancy has been different too.  With my first I struggled with depression – during and after.  It was and is something that I’m still struggling with now.  This time around, I had a great group of doctors and midwives that guided me throughout this last pregnancy.  The terrible thing is most people, just like about depression in general, do not discuss postpartum depression.  Many chalk it up to just hormones.  I know my parents generation would not understand it.

The months following the birth of my first were horrible for me and at that time I didn’t know why.  I’m forever thankful that my son’s pediatrician continued to ask me questions at every well-baby visit.  Without him I would not have met the doctors I have now.

It was also something I kept quiet, only a few people knew about it. I think my husband had a hard time with it and just generalized it as me struggling leaving my son. That was only one of the many factors.

I often would be awake at night worrying about small things, crying to myself not understanding why. I was irritable, losing weight rapidly, everything that would normally give me comfort no longer did, and I did not want to be social. It was tiring hiding it from my family. Since my depression also included other factors outside the pregnancy/post-pregnancy, I didn’t feel comfortable opening up to my family. My body was hurting from the anxiety and stress because I was trying to deal with it on my own.

Even today I’m still trying to figure it out. I have my moments. Luckily my husband is slowly understanding it and I have my doctors to reach out to whenever I start to slip.

Ultimately I want to not only be the best mother I can be for my children, but the best person. I want to be healthy to keep up with them and live a long life to see them grow. Finding that balance as a mother, wife, and my own person is something I’m still figuring out.

How’s that for the first post after an almost 3 month hiatus?