My very first therapy session all culminated around my therapists words, “It takes 9 months to make a baby, you should expect it to take that long to feel like yourself again.” Whew, 9 whole months I was going to have to deal with Postpartum Depression? She was right. When my son turned a year old, I felt like the pieces of myself had all come back together. I stepped out of the fog and felt alive again. I actually enjoyed time with my son instead of feeling like a failure to him. I became a better wife, a better friend, a better version of myself than I had been. I remember feeling so free to step into the life God had planned for me.
So when I found out I was expecting again, I wrote off Postpartum Depression. Sure, I knew it was very likely I would experience it again. “But this time I know how to combat it” I thought, “I’ll stay in therapy regularly, I’ll tell my friends and family how to help, and my husband and I will be on constant guard for the symptoms.” Even if it happens, it will be more manageable this time.
But months later, when I slipped back into that familiar fog, I struggled to meet those expectations. I was so frustrated that it was happening again. I felt out of control. I avoided counseling, I sunk into the familiarity of hating myself and feeling nothing for anyone else. I struggled to care about anything, especially getting help. Maybe I’m here again because it’s a sign? Maybe my children ARE better off without me?
After it all came to a terrifyingly familiar climax, I sought treatment and knew that if I didn’t buckle down and work to get better, I’d risk never escaping this mental nightmare.
Counseling, medication, a regular routine, an acceptance of the problem, it all helped. But as with most things, the true healing only arrived with time. I held onto the hope that when my second son turned a year old, I’d be me again. And I’ve just now finally felt like myself, like I can wake up each day and be a better version of me, and hopefully, fulfill God’s purpose for my life by focusing my attention on being a great wife and mom.
All of this to say, I know a lot of women experience postpartum depression, and it can be so frustrating to be doing all of the right things but still feeling that constant fog-like something just is not right. But it does end, the hormones do level out, and you can show up for life again. I’ve got a list of mile long of things we need to be doing to help fellow moms avoid or treat postpartum depression, but I’ll save that for another time.
For now, I’ll end in saying “It feels good to be back.”