One day day I was in the car with my husband and explaining to him what I was feeling. I said I was feeling like,
“There is a boulder weighing down my emotions…I can’t be as happy or even as sad as I want to be.”
I loved my baby, I just wasn’t able to push that rock off that love to outwardly express it.
That feeling that people looked at me with anger, hatred, disgust, and disappointment makes it so much worse. Like I was a monster.
Even though I had an incredible support group, that was probably almost as afraid as I was, I felt incredibly alone.
I waited. Waited the 8 weeks I was able to breastfeed, waited the 4 months past it possibly baby blues. I waited.
I spent almost 6 months locked away in my brain before I agreed to take medication.
That was whole other scary scenario. I had to take something with side effects that might be worse than the symptoms I was having and had to pray that I wasn’t part of the 2% who feel those extreme side effects.
One thing I cannot emphasize enough is…DO NOT STOP THERAPY WHILE MEDICATED! She helped adjust the medication, work out any problems I had with side effects, and once I was ready we worked together to get me off the medication. DO NOT DO THIS ALONE!
Two weeks after taking the medication I felt a literal weight lift off my shoulders.
The boulder holding down my feelings floated up like a light fluffy cloud on a sunny day. The fogginess around my brain disappeared.
When I was thinking a little clearer I found other things that would be able to support my emotional state once I went off the medication. I got into yoga, started taking vitamin D, and changed my diet among other things.
That was when I realized I had to fill my cup first.
I learned that nourishing myself was vital to my wellbeing, and vital if I wanted to be able to nourish anyone else.
Once I was better and more outspoken about my PPD I had people say things like, “I could NEVER be sad after having a baby,” or “how could you act that way when you have a baby to care for,” or even, “why would you want to feel that way.”
That’s right because I chose to feel that way. When I gave birth a magic birth fairy came to my hospital room and told me, “‘You can feel happy and great or miserable and not yourself,’ and I said ‘ You know what? I am happy enough all the time I will take the miserable thanks.’”
I was feeling better and these people said these awful things looking directly at me with no concern of how incredibly hard it was to go through. It’s hard for anyone to understand that we don’t choose to be sad or anxious.
Nobody wants to feel that way, nobody chooses to feel that way, it is not their fault.
I believe I still deal with the effects of PPD and those medications to this day. Sometimes I find myself sitting at the edge of that black hole dangling my feet and looking at shiny objects at the bottom wondering how far I can scoot down before I am not able to get back out. I know better now though than to go down there if I can help it.
PPD doesn’t define me, but it will forever be a part of me.
I try to fill my cup full whenever, and however, I can. Not just because being happy and confident is awesome, but because I know the alternative is frightening.
I am so thankful to my support system for helping me through that scary time in my life.
I still feel guilty when I think about the quality time I lost with my family because of PPD.
So how do you know what you are going through is PPD? Talk about what you are feeling. Talk to your spouse, to a therapist, your OB/GYN, to a family member, a friend.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ASHAMED!
It happens to so many of us, and so many of us go off to cry quietly in a dark corner and it can’t get better if we don’t get help.
The faster speak about maternal mental Illness, the more others will know they are not alone, and that it’s ok to say “ I need help!”
The faster the stigma goes, the more these mothers will be able to enjoy motherhood.
Speak up for you, speak up for them!
About the Author:
Rachelle lives in South Florida with her husband and 2 kids. After going through Postpartum Depression she started to blog about her journey from empty cup to full and how she learned to nourish herself so she could nourish others. She is a maternal mental health advocate sharing her story in hopes other women will know they are not alone and that it’s ok to ask for help. You can read more about Rachelle and her blog at www.theplentifulcup.com.
If you are inspired by Rachelle’s story and would like to speak to someone about your experience postpartum. Email me to schedule a consult today. If it is an emergency please reach out to the suicide prevention lifeline or call 911.