Your story may look different than my story, but no matter what it looks like, the challenge is still never easy. Postpartum depression has its own story and today, I’m opening up and sharing mine.
I haven’t shared much about this here, or really anywhere, or even to many people, but there is strength in vulnerability, so here I go, nerves and all…
A couple of months after Holland was born I started to not feel like myself. I began to cry a lot more, similar to those first few weeks after having a baby, but this time it had feeling coming with it. Feeling of sadness, which didn’t feel like me.
It took me some time to realize what was different this time than with my 3 previous postpartum periods. After the birth of my first 3 kiddos, I was able to go back to teaching my group fitness classes around 6-8 weeks after they were born. However, this 4th time I wasn’t able to. I didn’t have steady childcare for Holland (and she is too young for the gym’s childcare) so I couldn’t return to my classes. What I realized is that I was drained and my cup wasn’t being filled up. I honestly did not even know how much that little slice of time away from my kids doing something I absolutely LOVE filled me up. Not until I didn’t have it.
I also credit the endorphins from exercise with giving me happy feeling, but honestly, I believe I needed that me time. It was automatically built into my schedule before hand so I never had to work at adding it in intentionally, until now.
After I realized what was going on I cried to my husband about it. We talked it through many times, through all my tears and uncontrolled sadness. He helped, encouraged me and we figured out a way to add teaching a couple of classes back into my weekly schedule, along with getting more breaks during the week – a walk or run alone outside, taking a class (which has been my favorite) or just running an errand kid free.
Guys, this is super hard for me to share. Going through that period and knowing that I need a break from my kids, that I actually become unhappy without it kinda breaks my heart.
I often have a hard time being vulnerable and opening up and just go about my day with rainbows and sunshine floating around, which is really how I feel 90% of the time. However, that little percentage of time when I was feeling lost and unlike myself, it was hard. I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeves and if you saw me you probably wouldn’t even know. That’s the hard part about postpartum depression. Unless you are comfortable opening up and asking for help, it can be a tough battle to fight through. A very lonely battle.
I found support in my husband, and I encourage you to open up and share with someone you can trust. An outsider can often see insights and ideas that you may not be able to see.
As the phrase goes, sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees. It is hard to see what you’re going through when you’re in the thick of it, and that’s when someone else can help. Help you find solutions, find help or just be an ear to listen while you talk it out.
Though my fog may be lifted, I know the haze can return. It’s strange being on the other side, but knowing that if I look back, I can see it and remember it so easily. Feel the sadness in my not so distant memories.
Friends, I never fully understood that emptiness that came with postpartum depression. If you feel yourself heading into a place that doesn’t feel like you, however little or big it may feel, please share with someone. Know that you can always reach out to me and I will listen.
In the most recent podcast episode my guest and I chat about postpartum depression and anxiety. If you’d like to take a listen, you can find episode 31 here.
Sending all the hearts to you, my mama friends.