We had a baby. A beautiful little girl. She gave us a heck of a run to get here, but she’s perfect. And then she gave us a heck of a run while we got to know her, but we’re figuring each other out a little more each day.
And yet… I struggled. I looked into her big eyes and loved, but didn’t connect. I heard her cries and felt nails on a chalkboard rather than an overwhelming sense to fix things. I began to feel more and more like running away. Or even just hiding under the bed- that sounded like an obvious and fair solution to so much of the day’s problems.
This dark place wasn’t new to me. A few years ago the clouds rolled in and life became too much to handle. Getting out of bed, going to work, cooking a meal… it was all too much, and every little thing gave me an overwhelming sense to hide.
After treatment I found my light again. Suddenly I could face the day. I was back.
When I found out I was pregnant, the thought of postpartum depression crossed my mind. My doctor also brought it up right away- as this is something you can face even during pregnancy. I knew I was at increased risk because of my history, and it made me feel apprehensive and maybe even dread the day our baby would be here a little bit. I didn’t want to go back to that place, but promised my doctor, friends, and family that I would speak up if things weren’t right.
Although I was overwhelmed and hormonal and tired, I was feeling good the first few weeks… relieved, even, that I “beat” PPD.
And then… week 8.
Suddenly I couldn’t handle things well anymore. Everything filled me with anxiety and felt like too much. Every cry. Every diaper. Every feeding. Even baths- which were my favorite part of the day with my baby- even those seemed to be monumental tasks.
Sure, some of it was hormones, but I knew the clouds were rolling back in. And I just couldn’t let myself get so buried again.
I talked to my doctor, and we’re working on things now. I feel a sense of relief already knowing that I can be honest in my struggles. Mommies, please realize that it’s not only OK to say that you’re having a hard time and something doesn’t feel right, but it’s important to do so.
That unconditional love that I’ve heard so much about from other parents hit me the other day. It was crazy- something I hadn’t felt before that moment. And it was awesome. Now I look forward to the snuggles (even when she’s screaming- well, most of the time). I don’t mind the diapers as much. Feedings are a fun way to connect. And bath time? So fun.
I know that not every day is going to be easy or pleasant. But it’s comforting to know that I can face them with a clearer mind and bigger heart.