So, if you have been here before, you are aware that I had really really struggled with post partum depression and anxiety (read here and here). I was actually starting to wonder if I would ever feel normal again. Will these hormones ever balance? Will this anxiety and fear ever subside? Can I tackle this? Will my energy come back?
It has been something I have prayed over every single day. Just really genuinely wanting to feel better, more like me. Having the energy and happiness before Lily came along. I just wanted to be the absolute best mother for her, and the best wife for my husband.
“Approximately 10 to 15% of women suffer from postpartum mood disorders (PPMDs), including postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety/OCD and postpartum psychosis…There were approximately 4.3 million live births in the United States in 2007…This would mean that each year approximately 950,000 women are suffering postpartum depression.”
To me, these numbers are absolutely staggering. I had feared it would happen to me, as I struggled with depression in my teenage years. We actually planned on doing placenta encapsulation to try to prevent any post partum issues, but we literally forgot the cooler to take to the hospital. Apparently it is the last thing on your mind when in hard labor. Next time, I will not forget that cooler I swear.
So let’s fast forward to six months. Until now, I hadn’t really ever left Lily with anyone here in Texas so that I could just run an errand or so Josh and I could even have a date. Not having family around us makes it pretty rough on that. The saddest part with her active self is that we hadn’t been able to attend the church that we totally love because of its evening time. I had no idea how we could possibly attend church and have her sit through and not get wild. Come to find out, our church has a nursery program! This is totally new to me (first time mom, had no idea). I had been thinking about taking her in there for quite some time but of course my nerves had gotten the best of me. Some of the moms in our community group had tried to encourage me to bring Lily to the nursery so that my husband and I could worship together and really focus on that. I finally gave in, and here is what I received next:
Some beautiful photos of my baby girl, happy as can be just having a great time. And it happened. I felt pure joy. A joy I hadn’t truly felt since battling my post partum depression. There I was, standing in the worship room with all these wonderful people, my husband on one side and a dear friend on the other, just singing away to the music and I see this photo. She was totally okay. She was in the most capable hands of other mommies who I trust so much. I had prayed for this. I had prayed to feel normal and happy again, and it happened right there, in the middle of church.
I had been feeling much improved in the past few weeks but I hadn’t truly thought about it until this moment when I saw how happy my baby was. She is, without a doubt, the light of me and my husbands life. She has a smile and a laugh that is contagious. She also has a scream of anger that you could hear around the neighborhood but we will just fly over that.
I want to share this because I know there are 950,000 other women at this very moment who are truly, deeply struggling with emotions after having a baby. I want every single woman that I can possibly reach to know that it does get better. Life does go on, and it is amazing. You will get to watch this little blessing – this tiny human that you created grow into a personality. This is by far the favorite season of my life… being a mommy. Those emotions that you are feeling, they will come to an end. The world will stop spinning, but then of course it will start spinning again because your baby will be crawling and grabbing every single item that you thought they couldn’t possibly grab a hold of.
It is all okay. Find someone, anyone to talk to about how you are feeling. Contact me if you need, I would love to be your listening ear. Find and experience your pure joy.
My life is certainly much different now with Lily in it. My body has, more personality as I like to call it in places that I didn’t ever have that extra before. I have some stretch marks to show that I made a baby. I have plenty of jeans in my dresser that I cannot possibly imagine ever fitting into again, but my husband is forcing me to keep because he swears I will get in to them – one day. My hair is thinner now, as if it wasn’t thin enough already. I have dark spots on my face, that wonderful pregnancy mask as they have named it. My skin is oily one day then dry the next. All of these things about me are so different, but yet, I have the most joy I have ever felt. I grew a human and I birthed that human, and now she is bringing joy to so many other people and I got to see pictoral evidence of it.
Finding your new “normal” after having a baby I think is something that just happens over time. We have to learn how to work even better as a couple so that one doesn’t feel like they are shouldering all of the work. It takes balancing, and we are still learning that as we go. It just feels good to really have joy again. It is something that I cannot put a value on. So as we are still learning this process, I will grow and learn with my daughter as she learns the world around her, I am learning how to experience life all over again, and have found a new form of happiness.