It’s been 2 years since I gave birth to my amazing son. He is so precious, marvelous, silly, and perfect. I can’t imagine my life without him. ABQ Mom recently re-posted an article titled “Postpartum Depression: Struggling to Find Normal.” And it reminded me of the time when this love was new and uncomfortable.
I stumbled upon some journal entries from my postpartum depression period. I’d write down all my thoughts in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep as a way to cope with my mental isolation. Honestly, I have never shared these journal entries publicly, and I’m sort of scared to.
The reality of the anxiety and depression I faced is so heartbreaking.
It’s not easy to share these. But I think sharing could help others who are afraid to admit they’ve been there or are even currently in this place. My thoughts represent a scary but important reality of motherhood, and I hope they can help you if you resonate with them.
Journal Entries 1 & 2
January 21, 2019 at 11:03PM. (12 Days postpartum)
“Another night is coming and I’m scared. Nighttime is draining. I’m scared to feel nothing again. I’m scared to dislike my baby. I feel heartless. Am I in love with my son yet? I love him. I’m protective of him. But am I IN LOVE with him? Can I answer that yet? Why isn’t all of this automatic? Why am I crying again? I feel like I have to hide everything. ‘I’m fine.’ ‘I’m okay.’ ‘No, thanks.’
January 24, 2019. (15 days postpartum)
“A few days later and I’m losing it. I’ve had nothing left to give for so long. I don’t know how I’m still going. I can barely function physically. Mentally, I’m already gone. I’m going to have to do all this on my own somehow? I’m miserable with help. God, help me. The worst time of my life is here.
No date listed.
“I went a while being ok. Maybe I was faking it but I tried. Another night got me. Good momma by day. Crazy *explicit* by night. He wouldn’t stop. Eating. Crying. De-latching. Getting his hand in the way. All I do is feed him. My only purpose is to be a milk machine. Again. Again. Again. Again. I haven’t slept. I tell people that and they laugh about it. ‘Welcome to being a parent!’ I’m losing my mind but yeah, thanks for laughing about all the new parent cliches… Hard to even think I’m a good mom. I’m trying for this kid. I always am. I never stop. Since day one… I’ve tried. Stay in a good mindset. Well, now my mind is fried. Or dissolved. Always on edge… can’t sleep… he’s gonna cry again. You’re gonna have to feed again. No one truly gets it. Alone alone alone alone. Waiting for something to change and don’t know what.”
I know that might’ve been difficult to read. Trust me, it was difficult to revisit. I am so heartbroken for this mother who is obviously struggling. I just wish I could tell her “ASK FOR HELP!” Before I say anything else let me just mention that I did talk about my feelings. But even someone who loves you and supports you may not have any idea how to handle this issue. After the previous entry, I sought out the help of a therapist who specialized in postpartum depression.
If you feel like you may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, please reach out to someone. Please seek out a professional. You are not alone. I see you. TRhere is hope and there is help.
Therapy was a nice, consistent, break from my routine as a new mother. It felt safe. I got to talk with someone I didn’t have a personal relationship with. aAnd I think that helped me a bit. As time went on, I could slowly manage my new life better. Honestly, it just sort of got better on its own. Like it faded. I didn’t mind if someone else held my baby. I finally started getting regular sleep. My thoughts at night were filled with admiration for my new baby. I made it to a place where things weren’t “easy,” but they were manageable and most importantly, enjoyable.
Journal Entries 3 & 4
April 2, 2019 at 12:01 PM. (Nearly 3 months postpartum)
When I look at my son, I can’t fully comprehend my own love for him. But it feels so overwhelming. Looking at him sleeping, so peaceful and perfect. His fuzzy head, the lines of his lips, his resting eyes, his button nose. He dream nurses and snores a little. All he knows is that he’s safe, he loves milk, he loves momma. I want to stare at him for a lot longer than I ever could. Your momma loves you more than anything she can describe.”
January 7th, 2019 at 11:52 AM. (Nearly one year postpartum)
“One year of your sweet scent and smiles. One year of breastfeeding power. One year of challenges, overcoming postpartum depression, identity confusion. One year of joy, purpose, love. One whole year. Our year.”
It’s easy to forget the trauma that comes along with bringing a child into this world.
Everything that happened, everything I thought….it feels like a different person. I wish I could go back with the awareness I have now, but I’m hopeful for the future.
I know exactly what those sneaky, negative, isolating thoughts look like. I know they are not truly me. Looking back is difficult because it’s heartbreaking.
Sharing it with everyone is difficult because it’s scary and vulnerable.
But writing this is empowering because I am so proud of my journey and growth.