When I got pregnant, I went into research overdrive. I’m one of those people that likes to know anything and everything about a situation before it happens. Since I had absolutely no idea how to be a mom, I hit the books. One topic that came up time and time again was the baby blues and postpartum depression.
While I skimmed through those sections, I didn’t really focus on it. I was more worried about figuring out how to actually squeeze a watermelon through a straw. Postpartum depression was not very high on my list of things to deal with.
When I had my baby, things seemed good. Though our nursing situation was a disaster, I still felt like I was doing an okay job at this whole being-a-mom thing.
Sure, I had the occasional meltdowns, but who doesn’t? When you’re running on two hours of sleep and your hormones are working against you it’s amazing that anyone survives. All-in-all though, things seemed good.
When my son was five months old, we moved 3000 miles away. My husband is in the military, so when they say move, we move.
In the grand scheme of things, moving was the easy part.
Our house had a TON of issues. Electrical problems, plumbing issues, no working A/C in the middle of summer, it was a nightmare!
During this time, my son also started daycare for the first time. I hated it.
He didn’t nap there so he was miserable when he was at home, he was also constantly sick. Those things added some stress, but even more was the fact that I hated having to take him every day.
You may also enjoy:
Sure, having some time to myself was nice, but I hated the idea that someone else might see his first steps instead of me.
Housing issues kept piling up, I wasn’t happy with my current employment situation, my whole family was constantly sick for one reason or another, and I wasn’t happy.
The stress of all of the things going on in my life turned me into someone I didn’t like.
I was angry. Just all the time. I would snap at the smallest things, generally at my husband, and it was horrible. My marriage really started to suffer, and I hated the life that I was living.
Getting Help for Postpartum Depression
It took a while before I finally decided to get some help.
I kept thinking that I was weak for needing the help. Like seeking a professional for my depression and anxiety made me less of a person or less of a mom.
Though it was completely ridiculous for me to think that way, that’s how I felt. I spent a lot of time doubting myself and thinking bad thoughts about myself, feeling worthless. I felt like a waste of space and a burden to my family.
My husband had to really push me to go see someone, and I’m so glad that he did.
At first, I saw a counselor, who sent me to a therapist, who eventually sent me to a psychiatrist. We decided that the talking method wasn’t working for me, so I was prescribed Zoloft.
I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of having to take medication since I was already feeling like a crazy person, but I’m glad I did.
Taking the medication took a little getting used to. It made me really tired, but I found that taking it at night and drinking some coffee in the morning really helped with that.
The changes happened pretty quickly though. I hadn’t realized how bad my anxiety was until it stopped controlling my life.
I used to get so worked up over the smallest things, especially if they had to do with my son. Now, though I may not like a situation, I don’t get worked up over it anymore. I’m able to calmly make it from one situation to the next without completely losing it.
I’m also much calmer during the day. I’ve been in a better mood and better able to handle my day-to-day life.
I was able to sit and think about what I wanted to do and what I thought would make me happy. I realized that I wanted to become a stay-at-home mom and take my son out of daycare. So, I reworked our budget and figured out how to live on one income and made it happen.
I’ve even started spending more time focusing on my marriage. I want my husband to know that I appreciate him for putting up with me and all of my issues. I couldn’t imagine not having my husband in my life, so I am making an effort to protect my marriage.
Though not every day is perfect, it’s getting better.
Going through this process has taught me so much about postpartum depression and anxiety. It has taught me that everyone’s experience is completely different.
I always assumed that if I was going to get postpartum depression, that it would happen early on and that I would have trouble bonding with my son.
Instead, what I got was an ugly rage monster that was overly obsessed with her baby. It also didn’t really come into fruition until much later in my motherhood journey. I was 10 months postpartum when I was finally put on medication to handle my anxiety.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
If you feel like you might have postpartum depression or anxiety, don’t feel like you are alone. It is very common and easily treated.
Talk to someone. Whether that someone is your spouse, a family member, a close friend, or a professional, talking it out can really help you figure out what it is that is causing your anxiety.
Perhaps it is something simple that you can take care of on your own. If so, fix the problem and then see how you feel.
You can even try simply removing yourself from a stressful situation.
If the baby is crying and you’re at your wit’s end trying to make it stop, put the baby down in his crib and walk away for a few minutes. He is safe and it is completely fine for you to take a few minutes to just step outside and get a few breaths of fresh air to calm yourself.
Sometimes when I get anxious and my husband is home, I’ll completely remove myself. I’ll go up to my bedroom, light some candles, play some soft music, and just relax. I actually have a couple of adult coloring books that are great for times like this. No technology, no distractions, just some paper and colored pencils.
If the feelings continue, or if they get worse, then seeking professional help could be the best thing for you. That is especially true if you feel like harming yourself or the baby. Should you ever feel that way, seek help immediately!
The key thing to remember is that postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety does not have to control your life. There are things that you can do and steps that you can take to regain your control and to get back to the life that you want to live.
Becoming a mom changes many things in your life, it doesn’t have to change it for the worse.
Take back your life because it is so much better now than it ever was before. Now you have a beautiful new baby to bring you joy. Learn how to find the joy again.
Are you struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety? Leave me a comment below.
Until next time!