The simple truth is, I am living my best life. I love being a mother and it suits me well. Everything in our lives looks polished, but struggles can be invisible.
I have suffered from Postpartum Depression since Jolene was born. I first felt it the week before Jolene came, but dismissed it. Then when it returned the first month of her life, I didn’t want to label it PPD. I feared the naming of the condition would label me more accurately “a woman who couldn’t handle motherhood”. There is so much shame around the topic in casual conversation.
I have a naturally positive disposition and being a full time mother is my dream job. How could I possibly have it? This begs the question. Do all mothers have Postpartum Depression to some varying degree? Is there a safe enough space to talk about this freely without judgement? I would say No based on the amount of nerves I have awoken in writing this. I feel pending judgement and I have a lot of support.
Postpartum Depression has been a death of who I was before and the birth of a woman so much more refined. I respect this new woman so much more, she is strong and wise. The process is just a painful one.
Tips for Moms: Things that have helped me:
1.) Talking to my significant other
Talking to Jake on my lowest days helps more than words can describe. Jake is kind and patient in all that he does. Having a loved one who listens and does not place judgement is wonderfully freeing.
2.) Letting go of perfection
Set out with an attainable to do list. Give yourself a break. You have a lot going on. Take care of you; take care of your baby. The rest is bonus. Taking on an unrealistic to do list will not make things go any smoother. When the kitchen is dirty, take a deep breathe. Better yet, golly down for 10 minutes. There will always be work to do. The laundry will get done. In ten years from now you will not know when it was done or who did it.
3.) Invest in yourself
I am a firm believer in mom taking time for herself. It will heal you. Enlist the help required for you to take time for you. You have become a mother, but you are still a woman. Truthfully, you are not the same woman you were before motherhood and you don’t need to be her again. The woman you are now is stronger and wiser, embrace her. Spend time refining her.
4.) Play the music
Music is a gift that speaks to your soul. In my dark moments a good song is the only artistic medium that speaks to me. I have been so low that my cheeks feel like they have been injected with lead. Then, I play a good tune and after some time my limbs start to wake up with sunshine from the inside. Play only the best.
5.) Change of scenery
I hate to recommend running from your problem but this seriously resets something. Finding a new scene or discovering a new venue can be just the thing to invigorate your soul. Inspire yourself with a trip to the museum. Book a trip to count down to, if it is in the budget. Make sure you are getting out to places that inspire your best thoughts.
Most of all my friend, if you are struggling with Postpartum Depression know that you are not alone and you are not broken. You are a phoenix being born in the ashes of your former self. This new you is a goddess to be embraced. Please, know your worth because it is great.
Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment if you’d like to further the movement of combatting shame in PPD.
Photography by Shelley Foster