Motherhood is this beautiful thing full of baby smiles and picture-perfect milestones, or at least, so I thought. At three months postpartum, motherhood quickly turned from infatuation to an unknown dark place.
My mind started to explode with intrusive thoughts. I would continuously picture bad things happening. I was too terrified to let other people hold my baby, and I began to feel disconnected from my husband and constantly annoyed with my toddler.
I was suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA). I always questioned “Why is this happening to me?,” “How can I feel like myself again?”
PPD and PPA are no joke, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Here are four things that have helped me understand my PPD and how to cope with it.
Coming clean with myself
For a while, I brushed my depression off as the “normal” struggles of being a new mom.
I was too tired to clean, too overwhelmed to leave the house, and just plain exhausted to be able to enjoy the time with my kids. I just felt “blah.”
But the day I took my kids to the zoo and broke down in tears and couldn’t go in because the parking lot was full I knew there was something more to it.
I had to come clean with myself. I had more than just the “baby blues.” I had a postpartum mood disorder.
Asking for help
When I knew something was wrong, I knew I had to have “the talk” with my midwife. And as difficult as it was for me to say something, I’m so glad I didn’t just let it go.
My midwife provided me with resources and ensured me that others are there to help me get through this challenging time. If it weren’t for her, I probably never would have reached out to my family and friends for help.
As soon as I reached out, I started to feel a little better. I felt relieved being able to talk about it and the help with everyday duties left me feeling less overwhelmed and able to function better.
Therapy, therapy, and more therapy
Therapy is probably the best thing I have done for myself since having my baby. It has helped me understand that this isn’t my fault. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. Group therapy has shown me that I am not alone and PPD and PPA are much more common than you would think. It has helped me to understand my symptoms and how to cope with them.
Therapy also helped me to understand my triggers, and what I need to try to avoid.
Sensory overload often triggered my postpartum anxiety. Too much noise or even the slightest touch, I would end up having to leave the room.
I tended to associate scary events with myself. If I would hear or see something disturbing, I thought it HAD to be a sign that it will happen to my baby or me. I had to learn how to avoid the news, shy away from social media, steer clear of medical shows.
I also had to realize that I had an overscheduled life. I was trying to take care of our two kids and our pets, keep up with the house and work from home all while my husband was working two jobs. I had to realize that I can’t do it all and had to scale back and start having realistic expectations.
In the end
Motherhood is rewarding, but a postpartum mood disorder can make it difficult to see the light. Us moms need to help each other dig deeper to understand what we’re going through and how to cope. If you think you may be suffering from PPD or PPA, be sure to reach out to your medical care provider.
This post was written by JiEun of TheMomStory