This Is What Postpartum Depression Feels Like
I’ve been feeling the need to share with you something deep and extremely personal. I feel like I’ve reached that point on my blogging adventure where I have to decide whether Live Colorful is about me, my life, my feelings, my adventures or just about my colorful projects. I’ve thought about this for a long time, in fact, I began to think about it just after my baby was born. I wanted to reflect on the issues I wanted to share on the blog, and the things I wanted to keep to myself.
I decided for a while that the best idea was to keep my personal life just for me and my family. I stopped sharing pictures of my baby on my social media, I stopped taking selfies or pictures with my husband, and I even stopped writing very personal posts. I needed to get away from my virtual life until I felt at peace with my new life as a mom.
I’m not going to lie, disconnecting my life as a blogger and my life as a mom, wife, daughter and friend felt great. But recently, I started to feel a huge responsibility. I wanted to share about my postpartum depression story after I heard a friend of mine sharing hers. What stood out for me was that, like me, she kept her loneliness to herself. Why? I asked myself. Why do we keep this just for us? I felt the urge to speak up, to let others know how postpartum depression makes you feel, how it hurts you, but most important, how it makes you a stronger woman, and a more empowered mom.
It was also important because I know that moms don’t really talk about postpartum depression. It’s not the kind of funny or fun topic that you will share with friends in a coffee shop. In fact, you want to hide it because it feels shameful, wrong and belies the happy, funny and ridiculous pictures that we publish on social media.
When I was pregnant, I shared with my husband the postpartum depression symptoms. I’ll never forget his reaction. He looked at me and said, “But, that will never happen to you. You’ll be happy with our baby. What could make you feel sad?”
He was right, and wrong at the same time.
The first two months as a new mom were exhausting, but not bad. Just the normal pain, sleeplessness, frustrations and fears. My mom stayed with us and helped us with the cooking and cleaning around the house. Then my mom left, and my mother in law arrived. Both were amazingly helpful, and supportive. Then, they left and well, things started to feel overwhelming.
The mornings were never a problem. I was happy and even enthusiastic. It was the afternoons when I felt drained and terrified. I can’t explain how it felt, but it was kind of a mix of fatigue, anxiety, and despair. It was something rare, which I couldn’t understand. I felt numb.
Several times I called my husband to tell him that I needed to get out of the house. He came home as fast as he could to help me with my baby.
Even when I was feeling angry or desperate, I couldn’t get away from my baby for more than a couple of minutes. If I needed to cry or scream, I did it in the yard, or in the bedroom. I wanted to be with him all the time. I was extremely overprotective. I was nervous about everything. I wasn’t sleeping enough. I wasn’t taking any time for me.
There were thousands of things in my head that spun like a tornado. Why can’t I assemble this puzzle? Why do I feel irritated all the time? Am I feeling happy right now?
I’ll never forget the day I accepted my postpartum depression. That afternoon I couldn’t stop looking at the balcony, thinking that if I jumped, I would probably not die, and I will still have to take care of my baby, my home, my husband and my work, but with a terrible wound.
I was terrified of the thought.
When my husband came home that afternoon, I ran down the stairs. I couldn’t hold back my tears. I wept for like an hour. People were walking, looking at me. I felt horrible, guilty. Why did I think that? What kind of mom I was?
It sounds a little unreal now, because when I look back, I just remember happy memories, special moments and lots of laughter and hugs. I have endeavored to erase the sadness, the shame. And rightly so, because having my baby really has been the best thing that has happened to me.
When you feel depressed and overwhelmed, you can’t see the big picture. You go too deep, or too high, or too low or too extreme. You just can’t find a balance.
Months have passed and now I see my life as clear as it can be. That uncontrollable and inexplicable happiness that my husband described when I was pregnant, it’s real.
I still do not understand why I had to go through postpartum depression. A part of me feels that perhaps, it’ll fill a piece on my life or give me a purpose.
In my case, depression was not as severe and I never took any medication. I was fortunate to accept it in time and my body and soul fought against it as much as they could. Sadly, not all cases are the same. It is a sensitive issue and you should always seek out help to handle the issue with a specialist, your doctor, your family or your partner, to guide you and help you find the advice that you need.
For those moms who are reading this, and perhaps feeling something similar, I want to let you know that you are not alone, you did absolutely nothing wrong and, suffering from postnatal depression does not make you a bad mom at all. With help and time, I promise you, everything will get better.
I wish I could travel to the past to hug myself and say, “Do not worry. Your life will never be the same, it will actually get a thousand times better because you will never be alone, you’ll have your baby, your husband, your family, friends, but most important, you will always have YOU, a stronger, empowered, inspiring, YOU”.