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6 months after my 2nd child was born, I came to the conclusion I was battling postpartum depression. It hurt, I wasn’t me, and I didn’t know what to do. After my husband freaked thinking that I might hurt our precious baby, I began my journey to healing.
When Baby #5 came along, I was mentally ready to deal with the postpartum depression once again as I did with babies 2, 3, and 4. I was not at all prepared for it hitting at only 10 weeks pregnant, however. This was new, and I was struggling and didn’t know exactly what to do. Perhaps you’ve been there. Perhaps you are there. Or perhaps you are afraid this may one day be you.
I’m here to tell you, there is hope. There is a freeing you can find from this mental spiral that many women experience, but so little talk about. It’s the ugly side of pregnancy that we try to hide from those who love us because they may not understand. How could they, when having a baby should be such a joyous time?
Here are a few things I did, and others have done. What works for you may not work for your best friend. Together, though, we can all find peace during what should be a joyous time.
Don’t Hide It
Tell People. Let them know how you are feeling, and let them be there for you. Believe it or not, with so much highlight on mental health the past few years, you don’t actually have to hide your feelings. Tell your spouse, tell your mom, tell your best friend, and above all else, tell your doctor.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone. You know the people in your life. You know who will be there to let you cry, vent, or just sleep. They are the ones who won’t judge you but will instead encourage you to call them anytime – day or night.
Only share with those you feel comfortable knowing about your struggle, and who will offer the support that is needed at this time. You don’t need any naysayers in your life right now.
Seek Professional help
When dealing with my first bout of PPD, I went to my doctor. I told him how I had been feeling, and after we talked, decided counseling would be the best place for me to start. I wasn’t sure if it would help any at first, but I knew I needed something, or rather someone, to talk to. So I went.
The important part of counseling is finding someone who aligns with your beliefs. You need a counselor who will listen, guide, and help you in a manner best fitting your ideologies.
I remember the day we sat in guided meditation at my counselor’s office and as I worked my way through my thoughts I found a proverbial door. When I opened that door, I found the old me on the other side. I just had to let myself out. It was such a liberating moment for me.
When the perinatal depression hit, I immediately told my nurse and Dr. I was given the number of their counseling center, and before I ever had the chance to call, they were calling me. Knowing there was someone who wouldn’t judge, and would listen to me whenever I needed it, was exactly what I needed at the time.
I hear many in this day and age knock medicine. Perhaps you are struggling with the decision to make medication because of how your friends will react if they find out. You are telling yourself that you should be able to do this naturally Or maybe you’re afraid of the side effects on you and the baby. Talk to your doctor about these concerns if you think medicine may be the way for you.
While I’m sure we all wish that we could deal with this naturally, it just isn’t the case for some. There comes a point where some of us need to take that medicine to feel whole again. Depression, as any other medical illness, can be treated with medicine that has been shown to help.
Take time to meditate, and don’t force yourself to do things that trigger an episode. If you know that going to the park with your older children will exhaust you and send you emotionally downhill, don’t go. Or better yet, call that friend and ask them if they could take your kids out. This does not make you a bad mom. You are a mom in need, and you have to take care of you first.
The next time you find yourself faced with a decision that could mean feeling drained of all feeling, or racking yourself with guilt because you should be able to do that, choose instead to just breathe.
Go to bed early, and sleep in. This is never easy if you have other commitments like children and/or a job. However, making sure you get an adequate amount of sleep is one of the best things you can do. Your body and mind need it right now. I’ve found the more rested I feel, the less my depressive mood flares up. While the less sleep I get, the more depressed I become.
Don’t skip your vitamins! Especially being pregnant, you should be taking your prenatal vitamins daily. If you find yourself still struggling with depression, you may want to have your doctor check your iron levels. Low iron, which happens to be common for many pregnancies, can also cause depression. I’ve personally added an extra iron supplement to my prenatals, and it seems to be helping
Finally, my dear moms, let go of the guilt. You are human. Approximately 950,000 women are suffering just as you and I have with this disease, but those are only the self-reported cases. Don’t suffer alone, because you are not alone! If you need someone to talk to, please reach out via the comments/email/FB Messaging. I’m here for you moms.