I spent the better part of my first year as a mother in a deep, deep fog. All those inspired feelings that new mothers are supposed to have about new life and the future did not come to me. Instead, I was terrified of most everything and felt trapped in my own body. I felt like a fake because few people knew what I was really going through. I felt like a failure because this baby was a blessing – she shouldn’t even have survived her birth but yet I didn’t feel joy regarding her miraculous life. I didn’t resent her. I didn’t resent my husband. I resented myself. I lived in a vicious and lonely cycle of feeling sad, then feeling sad that I was sad, then getting annoyed at myself for feeling sad, then getting annoyed with myself for being annoyed. Those were some of my darkest days – my husband can attest to that.
Everyone would tell me how fortunate I was, how blessed I was, how beautiful my baby was, what a good mom I was and I would just nod my head and smile – one that never reached my eyes – clench my fists and say an exuberant, “Thank you so much!” hoping nobody would notice that I was trying my hardest not to break down in tears.
It’s something that is incredibly common (about 3 million cases in the US/year) but is rarely spoken about. Postpartum Depression. Somehow it has become a shameful thing, leaving new mothers who are sleep deprived, raw, and unsure feeling like they need to suffer in silence. This is not okay and it hurts my heart to think of someone else having to go through that alone!
Please, if you’re experiencing PPD/Postpartum anxiety in any of its forms, talk to somebody! Preferably your husband, your doctor, or a trusted friend. Take it from someone who knows, it’s tough, alienating, and it takes time so have some grace for yourself. There’s no magic timeline but one day you’ll realize that things don’t seem so dim anymore. The fog will clear away and you’ll start to feel like yourself again. My anxieties were replaced by joy and I found my peace in God’s beautiful promises to me. Chin up, friend. You’re going to be okay.