Today I’m sharing about my struggles with parenting and lingering postpartum depression symptoms.
What do you do when you can feel your anxiety building, your temper worsening, and your patience shortening a little more each day? Exercise, deep breathing, yoga, a glass of wine, bubble bath – you try it all and nothing seems to help. Then you’re driving home from the one fitness class you can escape to a week and you feel your throat closing up. Everything starts to look a bit dark around the edges and you realize you’re having a panic attack. You practice what you learned years ago – counting back from ten, inhaling through your nose and out your mouth – and the wave of uneasiness seems to temporarily melt away. But it doesn’t disappear.
It’s the lingering postpartum depression.
It’s so so hard sometimes that I just don’t want to do it. I want to fall down a rabbit hole that takes me back to a time when I thought life was hard like college exams week. When I would feel as if studying for five completely different finals was the most difficult task in all the lands and I would cry to my Mom about being stressed I wasn’t going to be able to keep up my 4.0. Some days, being trapped in the library for 72 hours alone, surrounded by books and notecards, seems like a welcome vacation.
Then I snap out of the funk – there’s a clearing in my foggy consciousness and I read an old blog post where I realize I’ve been down this path before. I remember I always find my way back home every time I feel like I’m lost. The struggle is real in motherhood, but I can’t give up. My girls need me. My husband needs me. I need them. And I’m not alone.
Parenting is hard.
It’s okay to be honest with yourself.
Postpartum depression can occur anytime during the first 12 months after you’ve had a baby. I experienced PPD 16 months after having Annabelle when I was weaning her from breastfeeding. I never followed up with a post after talking about my depression and anxiety, but I did see a doctor who offered me some advice: talk about it. If you don’t want medication, then talk about how you’re feeling. And if it gets bad – really bad where you feel like harming yourself or, gosh forbid your child, then call the doctor again.
I began writing this post on Saturday after my breakdown in the car. It’s now Monday and after a few naps, some chats with friends, and putting my feelings into words, I feel better. Do I think I am fully healed? No… not at all. There will be another bad day probably sooner than I’d like and I am sure I will feel myself begin to crack again. The best thing I can do is be honest with myself, though. Write about it. Talk about it. Embrace the worst and remember there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.