I went back and forth on if I should hit the “publish” button on this post. I’ve used this blog as an outlet for a lot of personal topics before, but this one is still so deep and raw… but I believe that it is a topic that is not talked about nearly enough. And if this post helps one person feel a little less alone in their struggles, then it was worth the courage it took to publish.
Postpartum depression is part of our story. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I remember a few people who are very dear to my heart telling me that PPD is real and it can be scary and that it is so, so, so important to tell my doctor if I begin to have symptoms. I took all of their advice to heart but I never thought I’d be sitting here writing about it. See, I didn’t realize it, but I saw motherhood almost as if certain points were awarded for breastfeeding, cloth diapering, getting the babies on a schedule, and so on… and I just wasn’t adding up. I wanted so badly to shift into motherhood gracefully. I wanted so badly to feel worthy of these beautiful babies. I loved them so much, and I just couldn’t fathom how I could possibly be deserving of not one, but TWO perfect, healthy babies. I struggled with so many emotions, the biggest being inadequacy. After the babies were born, many of my friends and family asked me how I was doing, and I lied through my teeth every single time. I said I was great – and on the outside, I appeared great… but I was a mess inside… and I thought it was normal.
I thought postpartum depression involved thoughts of wanting to hurt myself or my babies and/or having trouble bonding with my babies. While those ARE symptoms of postpartum depression, I didn’t experience those struggles. But I did blame myself for everything. The baby was crying – my fault, the baby spit up – my fault, the baby was congested – my fault. I thought it was normal to find myself crying at every little hurdle. I thought it was normal to have extreme highs and extreme lows. I thought it was normal to not be able to sleep, even when the babies were sleeping peacefully in their bassinets. I thought it was normal to have extreme anxiety about having guests and visitors in our home. I thought it was normal to feel five-thousand miles away while sitting in a room surrounded by my friends and family. After all, I had just experienced the biggest role change in my life by becoming a mother… of course it was emotionally taxing… right? It wasn’t until I started fantasizing about getting in my car and driving away from my life that I realized that none of it was normal.
I opened up to my doctor. I filled out the PPD screening through blurry, tear-filled eyes. I knew I needed help. I’ll never forget getting on the elevator after that appointment. A mama holding her one-year-old boy stepped on after I pushed my double stroller in. She asked, “twins, huh?”, and I shook my head yes. I knew if I tried to speak, only tears would ensue. She said, “well, you’re amazing. I don’t know how you do it”. A tear rolled down my cheek and we stepped off the elevator. I could’ve hugged her. Becoming a mama is no easy feat. Becoming an instant mama of two is tough. There is absolutely no shame in needing help. It takes a village, they say. And I am overly blessed and incredibly thankful for mine.
Below are photos of the lights of my life… I wonder if they’ll ever tire of having a camera in their face.
Brighter days are ahead.