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Experiencing Postpartum Depression

Posted May 01, 2018

Tags: self-careawareness

"As much purpose as motherhood brings, I needed something to make me feel like me again."

It’s amazing how much emotional, mental and hormonal change a mother goes through the second a baby starts growing inside her. Postpartum Depression (PPD) is the most common side effect of pregnancy. It is not rare but is still a taboo subject throughout society. Many women go untreated because they feel shame and are too afraid to ask for help. Some women self-medicate ending in a tragic story of deeper depression and addiction. Others, such as myself, find their own way back to "normalcy", but not without challenge.

Every mother’s experience is different, which is why not every mother is burdened with PPD. Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint the exact reason why it strikes. I believe that losing both my parents before I was 25 years old, within two years of each other, was definitely the first of many factors. It took four years of discussions with my husband to convince myself that I was ready to start a family. I feared that I would be a bad mother. I was terrified to not have the village that was needed to raise a child. I didn’t want to bring a child into this world just to one day leave him as my parents left me, but I put my fears aside and we began our journey into parenthood.

The birth of my child and the first month of his life were anything but easy. Not being able to have a vaginal birth took away that natural bond I should have had with my child. Not being able to breastfeed didn’t help either. Not to mention my mother-in-law misheard something I said while under the influence of morphine the day my son was cut out of me. Once I was out of the hospital, my husband had no choice but to go back to work the next day. With my parents gone, my sister in a state over a thousand miles away, and my in-laws not offering any help, I was by myself attempting to heal from the C-section and trying to take care of a baby all alone.    

As my newborn slept, I sat alone with my thoughts and fears. I couldn’t help but feel like everything had gone wrong. Nothing had gone as planned. I had no idea what I was doing with no guide to show me the way. I read a million books, blogs and articles explaining how to keep a baby happy and healthy when they first come home from the hospital. Never once in all my research did I understand what was happening to me. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt because I saw my child as a screaming producer of poo instead of a beautiful healthy baby boy. I was scared to talk to anyone because I felt not only guilt but shame. I asked for this but I didn’t want this.  

When I finally admitted to myself that something was wrong, I still was afraid to talk to the doctor. I couldn’t handle anyone judging me for feeling this way. I also didn’t want to be prescribed mind-numbing drugs that could possibly leave me with side effects making me feel worse than I already did, so I looked for alternatives. I changed my mindset and became very open-minded about natural and holistic healing. I found comfort in essential oils. I researched not only which oils to use for all my symptoms of PPD but why they worked. I was fascinated by the science behind them and after about a month of using the oils, I realized that this was what I needed to find my way back to me. They helped instantly with my hormonal imbalances, my anxiety, my feeling emotionally distraught, and even with physical pains caused by the C-section. 

The essential oils have even given me a new sense of self and a new purpose. When I saw that I could combine this new passion with my old passion for making beaded jewelry, I started designing again. I started to feel like I had more to do than laundry, dishes and changing diapers. As much purpose as motherhood brings I needed something to make me feel like me again; something that I could focus on to take me out of this new reality of being a parent for a just little each day. Creating jewelry has become my own form of meditation. It calms me and makes me feel accomplished.  

I don’t recommend what I did to anyone. If you feel like something is wrong you should always talk to your doctor to see what your options are. I do however recommend knowing all of your options before settling for the pill bottles. Sometimes it can be hard to admit that you are having a hard time before it’s too late. Becoming a mom is hard. Becoming a mom with PPD is even harder. Admitting to myself that something was wrong and finding my own path to recovery was the hardest but the best thing I have ever done for myself and my family.

 

(photo: Tiny, and Mom by makelessnoise  is licensed under CC BY 2.0)


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