Maternal Mental Health week kicked off on April 29, 2019 and I felt compelled to share some of my story. I hope this helps any mamas who have gone through, are currently going through, or may go through Postpartum Depression or Anxiety on their motherhood journey.
A friend of mine @aharmonmoore said it best:
“It’s okay that motherhood isn’t everything you thought it would be, that sometimes it is so much better, but sometimes it is so much harder”.
We tried for the twins for nearly a year, and once I was pregnant with them, it was a whirlwind of constant doctors appointments monitoring our health, and secret anxiety crept in and took root. I didn’t even realize it.
Because I was already a mama. I knew how to do this. I knew the fourth trimester challenges, I knew how to navigate breastfeeding issues. I felt so confident in all of that. What I didn’t feel confident in was learning how to juggle so much. The insecurity of navigating my new normal coupled with a difficult pregnancy compounded together.
Simple tasks like going to the grocery store felt incredibly daunting. Add on trying to give Lily enough attention, keep up our house, owning and running a business, managing relationships.-It got to a point where Tyler would have to tell me, “Lia, it’s time to go take a shower”. I truly felt like a zombie in my own head. I wasn’t enjoying doing anything anymore. Sleep deprivation of caring for two tiny babies is *no joke* and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Before I even realized it, I had full blown Postpartum Depression. And it was bad. I cried to my husband, I cried to my dad, and I cried to a few close friends. I truly felt like I had lost myself and wasn’t sure how to get her back. I became extremely introverted in my personal life, only focusing on taking care of my children, myself, and my job because it was literally all I could handle.
I wanted desperately to regain me, I missed me so much, I just wasn’t sure how to find her again. So, I fought for her. I am still fighting for her.
This is what I did…
First, I called my OBGYN and told them how I was feeling. They got me in right away, and after I instantly burst into tears and told her how I had been feeling, she said “you have Postpartum Depression, and this is so normal especially after a twin pregnancy”.
“It is not you, Lia. It is the hormones and we are here to help you”.
The feelings were so bizarre. I would look at the babies, and they would smile and giggle, and I loved them because duh – they were my children, but I didn’t feeeel the love or enjoyment. If that even makes sense, I’m not fully sure, because it was such a strange sensation to feel so disconnected.
My OBGYN referred me to a counselor who specializes in Postpartum, and a few local support groups. I reached out to girlfriends that I knew suffered from PPD, and found a new community of strength through my church.
After a few months with the counselor, I still just didn’t feel totally myself.
I made the decision to start taking medication. YUP! You heard me. Within a month of taking depression medication, I started noticing small glimmers of “me” coming back. I wanted to be outside again, I wanted to cook, go shopping, and was actually enjoying the babies again when for so long I felt blank.
I want to say this LOUD & CLEAR. 👇🏼THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING MEDICATION FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, MAMA.
If you are trying everything under the sun from a natural perspective and still not making headway, and still feeling awful, then keep asking for help. Waive the white flag. Yell from the mountain tops until you are heard.
DO NOT STOP FIGHTING. I REPEAT: DO NOT STOP FIGHTING.
Because YOU MATTER. YOUR HEALTH MATTERS.
Let me also just insert this right here: if you are shocked, or rolling your eyes because I just admitted out loud to the internet that I started taking medication for Postpartum Depression, just go ahead and close out this window. It is 2019, and by now we should have all learned that to stop passing judgment on each other, and offer support and encouragement.
The best thing we can do for our children as mothers is to take care of ourselves. Make sure that we are well, physically & mentally, to the best of our ability to care for them. We teach our children how to love themselves by modeling it on our own. You owe it to yourself and your children if you’re feeling less than to seek out help. You are not a “bad mom” for saying “I am struggling” or “I think I need medication to help me through this season”. In fact, you are so much stronger than you realize. Your strength comes from the ability to set your pride and fears aside, and seek out help so that you can be the woman and mother you are intended to be.
You are a warrior.