But it can also come of out seemingly no where. You may be the first with a mental illness. You were the lucky winner of that awesome jackpot (can you feel the sarcasm?).
Either way, mental illness will often creep up when you are least expecting it and at a most inopportune time. It'll wait until you are on your knees before roundhouse kicking you in the face. If it really attaches to you, it'll then proceed to spit on you and suffocate you. Brings the phrase "kick 'em while they're down" into a while new light.
Postpartum depression is, in my mind, one of the more crueler forms of mental illness. They all suck, they are all terrible, and you will hurt your loved ones no matter what you have. But as a mom, when you have no joy in life, especially with the most beautiful and wonderful thing in life in your arms, it's just heartbreaking. It's sickening really. You aren't supposed to hate your life right after having a baby. But, as irony would have it, some of us do.
Today, I would like to introduce you to Nicole. As a second time mom, she found herself in a terrifying situation. Not only did she have a newborn and a rowdy toddler, but something else crept in. Something much darker. She wanted to share her story as a mom facing Postpartum Depression.
PPD Chose Me - Nicole's Story
I had felt it creeping in for a couple of weeks. The jittery feeling when I heard my husband leave for work, knowing I was alone. The uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what to expect from my day with an unpredictable newborn. The guilt of feeling too exhausted to play with my older son or engage my new little one. My new baby was 2 months old and my oldest was a month shy of turning 3. For the first 6 weeks of being a mom of 2 it felt hectic and exhausting but manageable. Newborns sleep a great deal - at least mine did which left me time to play with my toddler and sneak in an occasional nap myself. But then my sleepy newborn became a very needy baby- difficult to put down for naps, wanting to be held constantly, crying... lots and lots of crying. At the same time my toddler decided he no longer wanted to take an afternoon nap or eat anything I offered. It was almost as if he had a delayed reaction to his new sibling and he wanted my attention ALL THE TIME. Due to my husband’s demanding work schedule and long commute I was alone 13-14 hours a day in complete chaos.
I found myself crying - constantly. I found myself yelling at my toddler - constantly. I found myself doubting who I was as a mother - constantly. I felt isolated, alone, and scared –constantly.
The morning I reached out for help I woke up to the sound of my toddler calling for me and my 2 month old crying. I laid there and listened to it unable to move. The thought of facing the day was so daunting. The pit in my stomach left me feeling sick. What kind of mother doesn't want to see her children in the morning?
The answer? A mother fighting for her life against PPD. Since beginning my journey to recovery I have realized what I feel is the most important idea in getting back to myself. That is that PPD chose me. I didn't choose IT. It is out of my control and not my fault. What I can choose and what I can control is getting help and getting healthy for my family. And I have done just that. I still have work to do but I am on my way to beating this and that feels good.
I'm hoping to be hearing from Nicole more and more throughout her journey. She told me that not only is writing a kind of therapy for her, but she also wants to help other mothers in her place to reach out for help.
Thanks Nicole for sharing your story!
Keep Smiling Mommas!