Postpartum depression is a sensitive subject mainly because every mother experiences and overcomes it differently. It wasn’t until I experienced it for myself, that I fully understood it. I think of the “baby blues” is a time a mother grieves subconsciously the emptiness within. For almost a year, you and baby are connected as one. When you give birth, that part of you, that miracle that once was growing inside you, is now no longer there and an emptiness is left. A part of you leaves and is now walking outside of you in the world. A sense of overwhelming protection and love comes rushing in. How can you protect this precious gift his whole life? It’s overwhelming. The hormones in your body are all out of whack and your every emotion and thought is intensified. Our bodies want to cry for everything and nothing all at the same time.
I felt broken for many reasons. For one, my crying button broke. I could not make it stop, if I was hungry I would cry. Two, I felt disabled and unable; dependent. Lastly, my postpartum body. What I quickly realized was that all of my feelings had a root cause.
There is a reason for why you feel the way you do. You just have to figure it out and try your best to solve and resolve it and make yourself feel better. The uncontrollable feelings of crying are intensified but they do not come from nowhere. Everyone has different reasons but those reasons are there. This feeling only last about a week or two for me thankfully.
I remember feeling so helpless and unable to care for my baby and that bothered me. Mainly because I like to do things myself. I had to depend on those around me to help me care for myself and for him. During my home birth, I experienced a heavy postpartum hemorrhage and didn’t receive hospital care until the third day. The first few days I was experiencing heavy sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion due to the lack of blood in my body. I literally did not sleep and it was getting to me.
Once, my husband was so exhausted, he was a little less patient with me. That made me so sad because I couldn’t do anything about it. I had no choice but to depend on others and I felt as if I were a burden. Every ones actions and words were taken very serious and to the heart. But I expressed myself and shared how I felt. That helped me and helped those around me understand the way I was feeling and they would quickly apologize or reassure me. And by “expressing myself” I mean breaking down (ugly cry face and all) and just crumble as I balled my eyes out uncontrollably. I cried many times for many reasons. Because I was in touch with myself and I was able to recognized what would get to me, I was able to fix it by telling others as well as myself.
As I write this I get emotional because I remember feeling so broken. Internally and externally. I had hemorrhaged and suffered for three days with extreme fatigue and weakness (read my birth story), my breast were engorged, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, I had hemorrhoids, etc. The first month was rough. Then I looked at my postpartum body and I just felt destroyed. I had hair on my neck (thankfully it fell off), my teeth moved, stretch marks galore, and I still looked pregnant.
I had to learn to love myself again. To come to terms with my new body and accept it. But I couldn’t help feeling sad and broken. It wasn’t “pretty”. I didn’t “bounce back” like society told me I would. This is not the body my husband married. I thought about how this would affect my relationship. I felt insecure and my emotions were all a mess. Thankfully, my husband would reassure me and always make me feel better.
As time goes on, I learn to love myself more and more. It is what it is and it is up to me to make myself feel better. This body of mine made a miracle. A life that I love more than my body. I would do it all over again for him. Six months in, I still have a puffy stomach and on some days I look about three months pregnant. My belly was so big and my abs stayed open; I have Diastasis Recti. It is still hard on me and I still have insecurities but it doesn’t bother me as much. I realized if I went to the beach, and no one was around would I care? When I am alone and in my shower does it bother me? No, not at all.
I actually enjoy rubbing my tummy because it’s so soft haha. So why let fear of others opinions ruin my happiness. I won’t. We are all human. Society has engrained in our minds unrealistic expectations of beauty and life. It’s our responsibility to recognize that and not succumb to it. Life is too beautiful of a blessing to not fully love and enjoy it. Our bodies are our temple and in temples miracles are made. And like that my son was born. He is my miracle and my greatest blessing.
For all the mommies and future mommies out there, I share my honest journey with you to tell you that you are NOT alone. This is real life and it’s beautiful. YOU are beautiful, strong, and powerful. In every which way, you are enough. A true work of art. Everything you ever needed is in you and to some you are their world; their everything. Nobody else is like you because you are a divine daughter of God made perfectly in his image. You are so very loved.