PPD

March 06, 2017  •  4 Comments

 

 

{I don't plan on my posts usually being so long. This has just been on my heart for months and I'm finally being brave enough to share it. My hope is that it helps someone else, even if that is just one person.}

Postpartum Depression. 
It's real and it sucks. 

I was the last person I thought would ever experience it...but I did...I still face it almost weekly. Here's my story:

In 2013, our first daughter, Dailee Christine, was born stillborn. After we lost her I had said aloud that I refuse to become depressed. I wanted the whole thing to somehow be able to help others and I didn't see how I could be helpful all depressed and hiding under the covers (please don't get me wrong, I was 100% heartbroken, but I chose to do all that was in my power to keep depression away). So I got out of the house, I worked out a few times a week (thank you, Delano and Amanda!), I ate well, and I surrounded myself with positive people. Depression did not make its way into my life then, praise God.

It's easy to look back now and see how the depression crept in with our second baby but not the first (hindsight's 20/20, right?). Before our second daughter, Naomi Dailee, was born I had spent about a month in the hospital on bed rest, including Thanksgiving. I was able to have wheelchair rides outside twice a day, which I was SO thankful for! Then Naomi came 2 months early and spent 5 weeks in the NICU, including her first Christmas. During that time, I went to the ER because of blood clots in my lungs (holy moly, that was painful and I hadn't even realized that those could kill a person). When Naomi finally came home it was the beginning of January, so we were quarantined in the house for 3 months due to her "compromised immune system." Cabin Fever to the max!! I didn't go to the gym during that time, I didn’t sleep (sleep? what’s that?), I probably didn’t eat well, I obviously didn't get out of the house much and my hormones were WHACKED while trying to figure out nursing and pumping. AGH! 

One day while I was feeding Naomi, it hit me..."Oh my gosh, I'm depressed." I finally understood why they ask if you’ve had little or no interest in activities whenever you go to the baby's doctor checkups. I didn't get it before, but now I do. 100%. 

If you know me, I'm generally a very happy person and can probably be annoyingly optimistic; much like Riley on Girl Meets World (guilty pleasure, anyone?). So it shocked me, as much as anyone, to realize I was depressed. I honestly didn't believe it at first, but a friend that has clinical depression helped me realize that was exactly what was happening. I got myself in to see a counselor the next day.
Getting out of the depression wasn't easy and it wasn't overnight. Some days I would just be so frustrated because all I wanted was to be myself again. I felt bad for my husband, for my baby, and for myself. It was scary at times because I didn’t know when it would show up. I would feel pretty good some moments, but then be on edge; feeling like this dark demon would jump out from around the corner at any time. I was surrounded by friends and family that loved and supported me (I thank God for them), but sometimes I would still feel so alone and just....blah; waiting and seriously longing for the day when I would be me again.
It's the strangest thing because you don’t want to be around anyone, but at the same time it's so scary to be alone. You just want someone to be there with you or to listen to you, but to not do anything with you. If you've had PPD before, you know exactly what I'm talking about and I'm so sorry. If you're currently going through it, hang in there! THERE IS HOPE! The best advice I received was to do those activities that I enjoyed even when I didn't feel like it. For me, that was hand-lettering. I honestly feel that hand-lettering helped save me. I also recommend hanging out with family and friends even when you don't want to (nothing against my friends and family, it was the depression, not you. *Muah!*). I'm thankful that my depression was mild enough to be treated naturally, but if your doctor recommends medicine, THAT IS OK! Take it and follow your doctor's directions STRICTLY. 

I honestly don't know why it's all so taboo. I think more women experience PPD than we realize. Why are we hiding it? Why did I instantly feel shame and like I had to keep it under wraps when I realized what was going on in me? (That didn't last long, by the way, as I saw it was a lie straight from the devil). But the truth is, no one told me to feel ashamed and embarrassed, but I did. The best cure for that was to be VULNERABLE. I started sharing what was going on with those I love. They all supported me and loved on me. The ones who had been through it before, literally felt my pain and frustrations; they listened and gave wise advice. The ones who had no idea what I was experiencing still sympathized with me and were patient with me. 

If you don't have that love and support system, I encourage you to go find it, as hard as it may be, it'll be worth it! Ask God, the Universe, whatever you personally call Him and then be expecting to receive it. Go find a MOPS group (hello life saver), plug into a local moms group in your city, at a church, at the library, wherever! Get around people, be vulnerable and let them love on you. You never know who may need to hear your story. 

I'm praying for you. Prayer is huge! And it's ok to pray for yourself! It makes a difference, just don't give up! Your story matters. Share it and grow from it. Head toward healing with it. Again, you have no idea who else may need to hear what you have to say. YOU matter. 

 


Comments

4.Chris(non-registered)
Great blog. Well said Ashlee.
Love you to the moon and back,
Mom ❤
3.Wendy(non-registered)
Thank you for sharing. You are absolutely correct that so many mamas battle with this and become ashamed for all the reasons Carol said. I battled with this as well but didn't know it. They tell you when you leave the hospital you will experience the "baby blues" and may cry for no reason, etc. I realized however that mine was deeper than "baby blues". I didn't realize it until I overcame it and looked back at the blur of having a newborn. I remember feeling it was something more but never wanted to admit to myself or anyone else. I cried A LOT and felt so alone. I know God helped me overcome and now I pray to add another little one to our family. Anyway, thank you for sharing my friend. Lots of love to you and your darling family! Hugs!
2.The Freckled Meadow
Carol, that was beautifully said! Absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for that
1.Carol(non-registered)
I believe PPD gets ignored or denied because no one likes to admit to a weakness and we unfairly view it as a weakness, because we think "this should be the happiest time of my life" and feel guilt when it isn't always that, because some of our species have made negative pronouncements about it, because too frequently we demand perfection from ourselves. We are not perfect - ever - we are human, we are subject to raging hormones, to stresses, to feeling not-quite-up-to-it. Be fair to yourself and give up on the perfection idea, and if anyone else expects that of you, talk with them. If necessary, dismiss them from your life. You are beautiful, just as you are. Imperfect, human.
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