The reality is, Postpartum Depression is a very real thing. According to the CDC, 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of Postpartum Depression. And there is nothing wrong with having postpartum depression, it is okay.
Hormone Dump is Real
I gave birth to my first child in June, and I had a horrible pregnancy. I was sick until my third trimester, started having contractions around 28 weeks, many hospital visits, and heart rate scares. It was hard and in addition to that, I have Bipolar Two, PTSD, panic attacks, and OCD. My providers and I were prepared for me to have Postpartum Depression but I was not expecting for it to be as bad as it was.
I was in the hospital for a few days after giving birth and though I was exhausted, I remember being happy. Things were funny and I was enjoying having my new baby girl in my arms. Within minutes of coming home, I was a mess. The hormone dump was crazy. I sat in my living room, looked at my husband and my daughter and started crying my eyes out. This lasted for days. The hormone dump is real. This was the start of the Postpartum Depression.
Postpartum Depression is Real
Depression is hard all by itself. You feel low, it is hard to get out of bed, and there is no motivation. Add a baby to the equation that you do not feel like you are bonding with. Your hormones are all over the place. You are sleep deprived and exhausted mentally as well as physically.
Postpartum Depression is real, friends. And it is okay. In the midst of feeling like you are not bonding with that tiny human of yours, believe it or not, your baby is bonding with you. You doing the best you can and being the best mom you can be is what your baby needs. Taking care of yourself-even if that is just taking a shower when you don’t feel like it-is important.
What Has Helped with my Postpartum Depression
Being pregnant is hard. Hard on your body and emotions. At least for me it was. Having a baby is hard. Postpartum-especially as a new mom-is hard. But there is nothing wrong with having postpartum depression. The things that have been monumental for me while dealing with postpartum depression is making sure I go for walks, having friend time (especially mommy friends), family time, and me time. Sometimes I have a hard time getting out and doing these things, but it has helped.
Walking has kept me sane (when I decide to do it…). I have really bad anxiety with a lot of panic mixed in. Postpartum, I have struggled with this quite a bit. Walking is a physical release for me, and it helps make the anxiety and panic more manageable. As my daughter gets older and more aware, it has been fun watching her look at the rustling leaves and enjoying the walks as well.
Mommy friends have been so helpful in my journey so far as being a new mom. I have several friends who had their babies around the same time as me. And I have friends with kids a little older as well. Being able to go through these stages together with other moms has been good for me. To be able to chat and be real with each other. Friends help keep me sane and let me know that I am not alone. That what I am going through, is normal and nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about.
My family means a lot to me. Spending time with my family fuels me. Getting their help and perspective is something that I really value. My family are the ones that see when I am struggling sometimes before I do. They also see the progress I am making before I do.
Dinner and game nights are one of my favorite things to do with my family. We all have a competitive side to us and it is always a fun evening. Family time helps me feel loved. It helps me get out of my head and have space to have fun with the people that I love.
As much as I love spending time with my family and friends, it is also important for me to have me time. One of my favorite things to do it to go to a coffee shop and spend some time writing. Having the space where I don’t have to take care of a crying baby or get distracted by other things going on is important to my mental health. Writing is an outlet for me, so when I can take time alone to write it helps me process the depression.
Postpartum Depression isn’t something you need to feel guilty about
And it is true friends, postpartum depression isn’t something you need to feel guilty about having. Remember that 1 out of 9 women experience these symptoms. Just like any other mental health related symptoms, it is important to reach out to your support team so they can help you in ways that they can. And if you need more than that, there are always professionals that help you too. It is not weakness to admit that you are going through a hard time. You are not alone. You are a good mom and having postpartum depression does not define you. There is nothing wrong with having Postpartum Depression, it is okay.