The past ten months have been very hard on me. If you have been following along you now I’ve been in the midst of a huge storm in my life with going through postpartum depression. These have been some of the hardest months of my life. My youngest daughter is now one and I feel that there is a need to be open and honest about my journey. You just never know when something in your own life may impact another and help them.
Over the recent months, I have seen much more openness and honesty about PPD. Sadly there was also a situation that happened in my area and hit very close to home for me. A mom who is believed to have been going through PPD disappeared. Sadly the outcome was the worst possible and what many feared.
This shouldn’t have happened, but I get it. I understand what can drive someone to that. There have been days where I have just wanted to disappear. At the least run away for a few hours to regroup. Some around me are very understanding of what I am going through. Others are not because they don’t see a physical problem on the outside and because of that then surely I must be fine.
There have been days where all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry, or stay in bed and do nothing at all. There are times where I may be smiling on the outside, but on the inside, I’m falling apart.
I’m fighting through this.
I will get through this.
I am very grateful that I have an incredible support team around me, but it’s still very hard. Some are not so understanding when it comes to mental health issues. Since they do not see something externally they assume there is nothing going on. Most days it takes everything in me to not fall apart.
“Do not judge. You don’t know what storm I’ve asked her to walk through” – God
The other day I popped out to get a couple things at the store. Between a rainy night, trying to find parking in a packed lot, and already feeling very frazzled from events earlier in the day I knew I was at a tipping point for the day. I started to feel like I was falling apart in the middle of Costco. I could feel myself crumbling. The tears wanting to fall. My breathing was getting frantic. Everything was bubbling up all at once.
Suddenly a voice from farther up the aisle called my name. A friend had spotted me and said hi. In that moment I needed that voice. That moment of someone taking even just a few minutes to stop and say hi and see how I was doing. It may seem little, but for me in that moment it was huge. That friend had no idea how much of an impact that had. They didn’t know what my day had been like or how I was currently feeling.
These moments have come up time and time again. Life has been very much an emotional rollercoaster, one that I really would like to get off of. I am so over this ride. I find myself trying to just keep afloat. This storm feels a whole lot bigger than I ever thought it was. I’m ready for the storm to end, but I do not know when it will.
I am currently in the process of weaning off my medication for PPD. I had an appointment with my doctor to talk about everything and what the process was going to be for me. I was to report to my doctor if things went back to being not as they should be. I could tell immediately the effects of the changes with the dose and frequency I was supposed to take it. Some days did feel like I was back at the very beginning of my battle with PPD, but in the same way, they felt manageable.
It’s very hard for me to explain how I feel and what things are like right now. I am definitely not the same me pre-baby. I’m also not the same like when PPD first reared its ugly head 3 months postpartum. I feel like I am in this void space where I am jus waiting to see what happens. I want to be over this so much, but I know it is going to take time. There have been those who have and are supporting me through this, so I wanted to share some ways that you can support a Mom with postpartum depression. These are some of the things that have and are helping me through.
Ways to Support a Mom With Postpartum Depression
- Bring a meal – Having food that is prepared and available is a huge blessing. Soups, casseroles, stuff to toss in the crockpot. All of it makes a huge difference. It’s one less thing for Mom to worry about, but she also knows that everyone, including herself, will be getting a good meal.
- Don’t just offer to help, do it – Follow through on the offer to come over and watch the kids, make sure that the offer is taken up on. Often I would either refuse help from those around me, or I would finally feel brave enough to accept the offer but plans were not always executed. The times when someone did take the kids for a walk so I could nap or helped in other ways made a huge difference for me. Go over and play with the kids, prep dinner, or do a load of laundry. Ask her what she would like some help with.
- Check in on her – Call, send an email, or send a text. Do not expect an answer back because it might not happen. That quick little message though may be what helps get that Mom through the day. Make sure she knows you are thinking of her and there for her. Ask her how she is doing and do not take “fine” for an answer. That is the quick and easy way out.
- Be there – Do not abandon this Mom in her time of need. She may try to avoid you or push you away, don’t take it personally and don’t let her. Be gentle and very patient. She needs time, but she also needs you to be there. Do not abandon her.
- Give her a hug and shoulder to cry on – Sometimes the tears do just need to flow and a shoulder to cry on and a hug is so needed. We need that person that we know we can go to and have this moment with. We are vulnerable. We need you.