I have two of the most precious gifts I could ever be given, their names are Demi and Tory. I am obsessed with my girls. I love their little personalities, I love the way the laugh and smile, I love everything about them. I am that mom who blows up Instagram and Facebook with hundreds of pictures of my girls and is always beaming with joy for my sweet babies. I am that mom who puts up that perfect little life with her sweet little miracles all over the place, because that is what people need to see, no one wants to know the hardships on the other side of that computer screen, and we sure as anything don’t want to talk about it.
I remember so vividly the day I snapped with my first daughter, the day I had no joy, the day I looked at her and wished I could take her back. I called my husband who was in Pensacola for work and begged him to come home, I couldn’t look at her. She wasn’t crying, she wasn’t moody, she wasn’t anything, she just laid there looking at me, and I didn’t want her.
Fast-forward 22 months and my second daughter Tory is born. Surely this is something that I should be able to handle, I mean we have been there before right? I know all the symptoms, I know all the signs and we know what do to do to take care of it. It hit like a freight train, but this time, I took it out on my oldest, instead of the newest little one. My oldest daughter was hit with so much change and now her mommy couldn’t handle being around her again. Everything she did bothered me, I was annoyed at everything and couldn’t help but be so angry at her all the time. My husband kept saying he doesn’t recognize who I am because I am so angry all the time, not even sad, just angry.
My baby is 11 weeks old. I am still battling emotions and the anger every single day. I have often wondered why this is something we don’t talk about, why this is something just swept under the rug and pushed aside. I think some of it can be that we are so afraid that we will be seen as ungrateful for this beautiful little miracle we have been given, while so many crave to be a mother, I think the other part is that you just don’t talk about those sort of things, but why not?
Could you imagine the impact just feeling like you can openly talk about postpartum depression would have on so many moms? Letting them know they aren’t alone, you are not crazy, you are not a horrible person for thinking what you are and its ok to say it out loud so you can get help. I wish I could go back and look at myself after my first pregnancy and say all of those things, just to help me realize I wasn’t crazy or a horrible mom. I have to talk to myself daily and tell me those things even now, when I just want to disappear in the night and leave it all behind, when I struggle with everything that comes with being a mom of two girls.
If I could say anything to myself before the girls or after it would be this:
It is ok, being a mom is hard. People acting like it is easy or they have it all together, they don’t. You are going to experience so many emotions, so many thoughts and are going to think you are the worst person on this planet, you’re not. You are not the first person to have these thoughts or experience these emotions, and you won’t be the last. It’s called postpartum depression for a reason, you just had so much change in your body and now in your life, it will never be just you and your husband again, but those sweet little miracles are so worth it. You are going to struggle, you are going to want to run away, you are going to wish you could turn back time and make it all go away, you are going to look at that little face and sometimes you may hate it, but don’t allow those emotions to take you over. TALK TO SOMEONE. Know you are not alone. Don’t listen to the age old saying of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” or “be grateful for what you have,” you are grateful, but you are also going through something so huge right now, and something that can be so dangerous if you don’t just talk about it. People who are telling you that have never walked through this, and you cannot hate them for it, you have to understand they do not know what is happening to you right now. It is ok to go lock yourself in a dark room and cry and scream, it’s ok to be angry, it is not ok to let it consume you and take away these precious moments you have so little time to enjoy. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings, be honest about them. Don’t be afraid of what people will think, what matters right now is not what they think of you, but getting you better so you can enjoy these babies. You are a wonderful mom, and the first step in being a wonderful mom is taking care of yourself, so do just that, take care of yourself. Talk to your husband, he is there for a reason, and he wants to be there for you. Talk to other moms, I can promise you, you will find someone who has walked through it too. Don’t be ashamed, be proud that you are taking action. Now stand up and do something about it, admit you have it, or it will consume you. You have to much good in your life to allow this dark place to take over. Seek help, be open and start fighting this now.
I still have my crazy thoughts, but they are less now. I still get angry, but I go to another room and just let it out but refuse to take it out on my babies if I can help it. I so wish this was something we weren’t ashamed to talk about. I wish moms were open about their emotions, their fears, their struggles, but that doesn’t fit this world we live in where our stories are so perfectly and strategically told on social media, where we try and be what the internet and other moms tell us we should be without realizing our experiences, our lives, our kids are all different and we are just trying to be the best mom we can be. Instead we sit back post our perfect pregnancy and motherhood experiences, waiting and hoping for someone to reach out and dig deeper.