I remember sitting, holding the most beautiful, smushy little baby in my arms and feeling so much love and joy while simultaneously feeling angst and desperation. In a time of my life that was supposed to be nothing, but non-stop happiness, I felt berated by feelings of worthlessness, failure and absolute uncertainty.
Postpartum Depression. That phrase makes me shiver. I remember being told that I wouldn’t feel with this, because there is no way to feel anything but happiness and love when you are holding your baby. Those comments only made it worse, because I was constantly told in no uncertain terms that that feeling is wrong or invalid. Let me get one thing straight. Even though I was suffering from postpartum depression, it did not mean I didn’t love my sweet little baby. Because that’s not it. It didn’t mean I was depressed about her…
It was everything. It was the traumatic experience that my body just underwent. It is the marriage that isn’t quite what I expected. It is the family pressure from relatives. Its the constant giving of my body (breastfeeding & yep sex). It is feeling further away from my faith. It is the financial strain. Its my body looking nothing like it did before. My anxiety was through the roof. Panic attacks 4 times a week usually at night, as I was holding my perfect baby. Alone. In a dark room. Sobbing. I felt so helpless.
FINALLY. I realized I cannot do this alone. I started to attend counseling sessions biweekly. Trying to work through the rushing thoughts in my head. Talking with an unbiased, outside source, was immensely helpful. I have continued to seek the help of a counselor. Some of the issues I have resolved to a certain degree, but there are things that I still struggle with today.
I am constantly reassuring myself that it is all about progress, not perfection.