Having a baby is wonderful and exciting and beautiful. You hear stories of the wonders of birth and how amazing our bodies are. Of how sweet it is to hold your new, little miracle. How each day, despite the exhaustion, is better than the last.
And then there's the crying. The constant feeding. Exhausted and over touched until you just can't anymore. The idea of changing one more diaper makes you want to cry. Your breasts are sore and cracked or every single bottle is dirty. Looking at that sweet face brings anxiety and sadness. This is postpartum depression (PPD).
PPD is more severe than the baby blues and doesn't go away on its own. According to Americanpregnancy.org, 70-80% of women will experience the baby blues while 15% suffer from PPD.
Feeling lonely and isolated, women struggle to keep up with the demands of a newborn. Whether they are a first time mama or 20 kids in, PPD can come on strong and fast.
Bringing a new little life into your world is hard. Birth doesn't just come with the physical trauma that everyone talks about. There's mental trauma, too! I don't think it matters how many children you've brought home, a new baby will always rock the world of everyone living there.
Even now, it seems that society believes it is the mother's job to hold everything together. That's so much pressure! But it's why I was determined to not even send my first to the nursery when I was in the hospital. It's why, as we moved cross country with three kids three and under, I did my best to pack up my unorganized, dirty home consumed by my PPD without help until the very last minute. It was an embarrassing disaster, but thank God for people who love us.
All the pressure, all the loneliness, all the pain built up inside me like a volcano until I didn't want to live anymore. I felt that everyone would be better off without me. That they deserved someone who could actually hold it together. It was the beginning of the worst time in my life, a constant climb up a mountain with faulty safety ropes.
But I made it.
Mamas, please don't be too afraid or ashamed to express how you are feeling. Talk to your spouse, a friend or most importantly your doctor. Don't let PPD bring you to that mountain. It's ok to not be ok. Self care is the most important part of being a mother. Putting yourself last, like so many do, will eventually result in pain and loneliness. Be kind to yourself. Be forgiving of your flaws. You are a beautiful soul - don't ever forget it.**
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