Three months and a few days have passed since giving birth. I thought I was in the clear from postnatal depression, otherwise known as postpartum depression or PPD. But turns out, we can experience it anytime, even within 18 months after childbirth.
It’s currently 3:19 am. Perfect, since that’s my birthday and the competitor number I used during many years of showing horses.
I’ve been awake since midnight, but I did fall asleep on the couch around 7:30, so I guess I got some sleep in.
Philip will wake up around 5 and then we’ll nurse off and on until he’s up for the day around 7:30.
I knew life would change with his arrival. I knew priorities would need to shift. But just like anything, you don’t really know how things will be until you’re in the thick of it, until you’re feeling the weight of it all.
Honestly, I didn’t even realize what it was I was going through until a friend mentioned she was going through it too.
So, here I am. Admitting and feeling a little shameful that I thought I could power through. Maybe if nothing else, sharing this struggle will make it more normal or allow someone else to feel less crazy and alone.
I was starting to feel the weight of postnatal depression a couple weeks before my maternity leave was ending. I started having anxious thoughts about putting Philip in childcare, him getting sick from other kids, and me missing out on milestones or even the smaller moments he would experience. And even though he would be with a friend I trust and just part time, I still cried as the thoughts built one on top of the other.
Tears drop even now as I think back to his first trial hour.
The last two plus weeks of getting back to work have been rough. I work in the mornings, during naps, in the afternoons when Philip goes to daycare, and then usually stay up late at night to work.
I’m physically and mentally spent.
I often forget or don’t have time to eat breakfast or lunch. My water intake needs to increase. Sleep or even anytime I’m not actively thinking through something is usually interrupted by thoughts of what I should, could, or need to do for work, Philip, or to keep the house running.
I’m irritable and overwhelmed. Usually it’s the inconveniences that push me over the edge like my work computer not fully working or the WordPress login page not loading.
Oh, and let’s briefly touch on the fact that clumps of hair are falling out on the days when I do shower.
There’s an almost constant word of “you’re failing” spoken over me. And I feel it. And I can see it as my list grows longer in an attempt to get thoughts out of my head.
I know how thankful I should be. I know I have more than others. I know others are struggling too. I know hormones are playing a huge role in how I feel. I know this is one of the schemes of the devil spoken about in Ephesians 6:10-12. Knowing that doesn’t make the PPD go away.
I’m not sure what the fix is right now. I’ve started being a little more honest with others and myself when asked “How are you doing?” I’ve been replying with “not good” or “this is hard” because I can’t speak the words of it all for fear of getting stuck in a cycle of complaining.
I try to remember everyone’s hard is hard, and I’m no exception. It’s okay to feel stuck right now and not know how to move forward. It’s okay to be sad and overwhelmed and then laugh at something ridiculous Justin says or a smile I get during nursing sessions. This is a season. It will not last forever.
While I don’t have much closure right now in moving out of this darkness, I have to choose to cling to the light, the baby giggles, the friend checking in on me, the truths God has spoken over me, and all the tiny glimmers of hope that appear at random times throughout the day.
If you’re feeling this way too or have felt it in the past, I want us to take a moment to dwell on these passages that have been coming to mid lately.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Romans 8:38-39 (ESV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you have a verse to share, drop it in the comments. I think we could all use a little reaffirmations right now.
Until next time,