Where have you been? What’s up with the blog? I’ve been asked these questions many times over the past few months. I’ve neglected the blog and doing what I love for too long. So, here’s what’s been going on…
Truth is, I’ve been struggling with postpartum depression, starting nearly 9 months after my second son was born. I had no idea postpartum issues could come on so late! Apparently it’s not uncommon for depression and anxiety to emerge late in the child’s first year. It is also common among women who are weaning their child from breastfeeding, which I was. My symptoms were slow to emerge. I’d have good days and bad days, but all moms have those! Eventually I found I was waking up every day feeling a heavy sense of dread and counting the hours until the boys napped. I was overwhelmed, anxious, sad, and felt so, so guilty. Guilty that I wasn’t handling motherhood better. Guilty that I wasn’t enjoying my sons. Guilty that I was blessed with these two beautiful, healthy boys and I felt so sad all the time. It was awful and truly depleted me.
It wasn’t until a good friend came to visit in the beginning of August that I realized I needed to seek help. I’m so, so grateful to her for seeing in me what I didn’t want to see in myself. It was also a huge relief to finally confide in someone what I’d been feeling. I’d been pretending to be well for a long time and it was exhausting. Sharing my experience with another mom, one who knew me well and I trusted completely, felt like a massive weight had been lifted from me. This is what postpartum depression looked like for me: tears and a lot of smiles to cover the pain…
The next day I finally admitted to my husband what I’d been feeling. Although he knew I’d been more emotional than usual, he had no idea how much I was hurting and was eager to help me seek help. I also shared my experience with my parents and they immediately stepped in to help me care for the boys. Just knowing I had support was amazing. I could breathe. I reached out to my therapist and we determined medicine and regular talk therapy were the best choices for me. She also reminded me that I am in the trenches still! I have two active boys in diapers who need me for everything. Being a full-time stay-at-home mom is hard. This was so reassuring.
I’ve shared my struggles with a few people. Without exception, I’ve been met with the most amazing support. Postpartum depression is very common and I was surprised at how many people in my own circle had struggled with it themselves. I’m lucky in so many ways. I’m surrounded my many people who want to lift me up and help me on this journey. My husband has been a constant source of encouragement, assurance, and love. My kids have grown and smiled and played and laughed through this. I was so worried how this would affect them and I can honestly say their little lives have gone on. My oldest understands that sometimes Mama gets sad, but he also knows that I always feel better. He’ll bring me a tissue or give me a hug if I’m having a hard moment and then do something to make me laugh. These small blessings mean everything.
Now, six weeks after I first sought help, I can say the fog is lifting. I’m slowly becoming interested in things again and mothering my kids doesn’t feel like a huge mountain to climb. I’ve also made taking care of myself a priority. I’m lucky to have babysitters a few days a week to give me a break and allow me to do things on my own. I’m running regularly and feeling good about myself physically. I’ve made connections with people I haven’t contacted in years through our shared experiences. I’ve made date nights and just talking with my husband a priority. I’m also considering working a few days a week to give me something outside of the home on which to focus.
To all of you reading this who’ve helped me on this journey, I truly couldn’t have done it without you. The calls, texts, hugs, food, and just time spent together or helping with my children has meant everything to me.
I’m hoping to blog twice a week from now on. I’ve been working on some recipes and am eager to share them with you. So be on the lookout!!