On July 4th, 2016, I received the biggest blessing in my life, my son Mitchell! But why do I feel so blue? Why do I cry because my boyfriend won’t make me a bowl of cereal? Or when he gets to go fishing and hunting? Why do I want to be by myself all of the time?
I love my son with everything I have, but…. why am I not happy? Motherhood is hard but new mommy hood is life changing. You have to adapt to the lifestyle so fast and it’s hard!
I used to be interested in so many things and I was able to get out and do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. But why don’t I care to do anything anymore? I lost interest. Or is it because I feel like I can’t do it anymore because I have a son now?
That’s what happens with postpartum depression… your mind goes crazy thinking unwanted thoughts and your emotions go through the roof. It has been an emotional rollercoaster the first 7 months of having Mitchell and I could never understand why. I’ve always been emotional but never this intense!
I did research and had to understand these 5 steps to wrap my head around what was happening to me.
DENIAL. So, what was going on with me? My boyfriend would ask, “Do you think you have postpartum depression?” Me: “No. I love being around baby boy and he is the best thing ever.” A lot of women feel disconnection with their newborns which is a symptom of postpartum and that wasn’t the case with me so there is no I way I have it. We moved on from the idea because “I DID NOT HAVE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.”
ANGER. 8 months goes by and it was still bad; I was very irritable and emotional over any and everything! Your brain flips this switch that has you thinking all negative thoughts and you literally question your whole life. You get mad at your spouse for not looking at you the right way, for saying something the wrong way, you get frustrated with your children for not leaving you alone.
These all seem like normal symptoms when you’re a new mom, right? But it’s different with postpartum; you lock yourself in your room and leave all the duties for whoever wants to take them on. You hide under the covers and just cry. You can’t stop. So, what do you do? How do you shake this feeling?
BARGAINING. You try to self-cure and find ways to “slow down” the thoughts. You believe that it’s what you’re doing or not doing physically this is causing all this emotion and turmoil. You start to think, “if I just get more sleep everything will be easier.” Or, “once I get the hang of this routine and what works best I won’t feel this down anymore.”
I always felt like I was in a funk and that if I could change something about my life or my routine, then I would fix the funk and everything would be better. So I did. I got a new position at work and I got excited about my days all over again. But that feeling was temporary; there was still something deeper down that was not okay.
DEPRESSION. Once you realize that self-curing is not working you start to overthink. You start to resent your partner, your biggest blessing, and you’re mad at the world. You still don’t know exactly what is going on with you but you know it’s not normal.
Did you know 15-20% of other new moms are in the same position? It’s a relief to know I am not going through this alone and that I am NOT crazy.
ACCEPTANCE. The next step is to understand that you are off balance and that you need to find help. As hard as this was to write and admit to, I can no longer be afraid to share what has been going on. When you finally accept that you need help, it’s easier to reach for it and obtain it. I was put through an intervention and realized that “whoa, I do have postpartum” because this wasn’t normal, even for me and my emotional self.
Postpartum is treatable with medications and therapy, so go talk to your doctor and ask for help. I am beyond grateful that my family noticed my symptoms and didn’t just ignore them but pushed for me to go talk to somebody.
Motherhood isn’t easy. Being human isn’t easy, notice what you need to do for you, and everything else will fall in place.