This post is really difficult for me to write. There are some things that are so personal to me that it’s really difficult to share. Things that I feel truly ashamed of. Dealing with postpartum depression over the past three months has been one of those things. I’ve tried suppressing it, I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve tried praying about it and crying about it, but it’s still there. I felt led by God over the last few days to share my story and what has been going on emotionally in my life after having a baby.
It started with random crying episodes that I couldn’t control and were usually over something insignificant. I knew I could be emotional/hormonal after having a baby so the first month or so I just chalked up the crying to that. But as month two and now month three have slowly passed, I know it’s more. Through working with my doctor, he is confident that I have a hormonal imbalance and I am taking medicine to help assist with it and have for about a week. I have seen some improvement but I’m still not back to my old self. My doctor did also prescribe an antidepressant for me which I am choosing not to take. Through discussing with Joe, we’ve decided an all natural approach along with Bible-centered counseling is a better decision for us right now. I know people take antidepressants and they are helpful, but I’m really steering away from prescriptions and would rather work on balancing my hormones naturally and strengthen my relationship with God. If over the next month, I still feel that my hormones are out of balance, I’ll be searching for a holistic doctor in Austin for additional help.
The feelings that come with postpartum depression are awful. I have thoughts of not wanting to be Enzo’s mother, wanting to run away, wanting to completely give up, feeling that God chose the wrong Mom for Enzo, thinking that I’m a terrible mother and all of these other negative thoughts that I know deep down are completely untrue. I have never experienced so much anxiety in my life than I have in the past three months. Most of the anxiety stems from my lack of control with my son. I think my biggest sin struggle has always been wanting to be in control and having a baby has left me frustrated and angry when I can’t control his actions, especially when I know what I want him to do is the best thing for him (such as sleep). I had so much anxiety about trying to put him to sleep that the minute I picked him up to start rocking, I literally felt the anxiety build in my stomach just begging to be released. That’s usually when the crying would begin along with all the negative thoughts about how I’m a bad mother and can’t even help my child get the sleep he needs.
In those moments, it feels that things will never get better and that Enzo would be better off with another mom who wants to be with him. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son and am thankful that God gave him to us after two years of prayer but sometimes those negatives thoughts overwhelm all logic in my mind. One awesome point that my counselor brought up was to always remember that Enzo is God’s child and not mine. Though God has allowed me to take care of him and be his mom, he will always be God’s child and that God is truly in control, not me. Letting go of that control is something I will be dealing with daily, even hourly, and will be something I deal with my entire life, especially now with a child. Even if I get passed this newborn phase and Enzo becomes a champion sleeper (fingers crossed!), there will still be moments when he doesn’t do what I want him to. It’s a part of parenting that I knew about, but never really comprehended.
There are a few practical things that I took from my counseling session this week. One is to write Bible verses that speak to me and my situation and put them on sticky notes throughout the house. So far I have six different verses that I think will help me in those bad moments. Another was to truly take a break from Enzo when his crying gets to be too much. Especially when I’m home alone. My plan is to put him down in a safe place, step outside and just breathe for five minutes, open my Bible app on my phone and get some truth into my heart before going back in there. My counselor emphasized taking breaks to get filled up which I really liked instead of just checking email or Facebook which would still make me feel empty. Lastly I’m going to start looking into Mom groups in Austin. Right now I really don’t have too many friends with babies in Austin which can make things a little harder. My goal over the next few weeks is to look into groups that I can get connected with either within the community or though my church.
I could go on and write so much more but I’ll stop here. I wanted to share my struggles and let other women know that it’s okay to feel this way. You are not alone. I have felt so alone in so many moments thinking other moms cannot possibly feel like this and that something was wrong with me for not being happy after having a baby. I am beyond blessed and have an awesome husband who has wholeheartedly supported me throughout all of this, a happy and healthy child who is growing and getting cuter by the day and friends and family who support me as well. Knowing that logically does help, but it still doesn’t take away the sadness, anxiety and frustration that I can sometimes feel. It’s going to take time and I know that I will get there with only God’s presence and his never ending grace and mercy.