Eleven years ago, I briefly considered suicide for the second time in my life. Maybe one day I will tell you all about the first time, but that's a story for another day.
Eleven years ago, I was a new Mom who had NO idea what the hell she was doing. I had a whole other human being depending on me for care, and I couldn't even take care of myself. When I asked someone if she had ever felt sad after giving birth, this woman replied, "Oh, no. I was always happy with my babies. There must be something wrong with you."
There was, by the way. Majorly wrong. But because so many others weren't willing to really LOOK and LISTEN, I became spectacularly good at hiding my depression. It took a check-in phone call with my Dad, in which he said, "Something's not right with you. You know, it's common for women to feel sad after a baby. Maybe you need to come home." for me to begin recovering.
Nine weeks and two days ago, I gave birth to my third daughter, my second living child. It's been pretty rough here and there, and I've had a few crying jags (like when she wouldn't latch on to the breast, no matter WHAT we tried, oh my goodness), but I never found myself in that ugly terrible place I was in 11 years ago.
Yes, I'm 11 years older (and I hope, 11 years wiser), but I've found some things that helped me cope this time around (and some stuff that helped 11 years ago)
* If you find yourself in a dark place, please pick up the phone and TALK TO SOMEONE. A relative, a trusted friend, a counsellor.
*Know that you are NOT crazy. Post partum depression is real.
*Know that you are NOT alone. PPD is more common than you think, and many women have been in the exact place that you are in.
*Take pleasure in what you can. When Ella was little, my little moments of light were loading her up in the stroller and taking long walks, or putting on soft music and relaxing while she slept. Right now, my happy moments are in the early mornings, or late at night, when Josie is asleep and I'm doing little household stuff...lighting lovely scented candles and journaling my thoughts helps me.
Yes, this is a page in my journal. Yes, sometime this week, I will have coffee ALONE. No husband. No daughter. No baby. Does it make me a bad person? No. Will it help my sanity in the long run? Yep.
*Take care of YOU. Because you cannot take care of a baby if you cannot take care of yourself.
*If you are prescribed medicine by a doctor, please take it. You are not weak, you are not admitting defeat, it takes strength to ask for help.
Eleven years ago, I was in a dark and scary place. If it wasn't for my Dad noticing that I sounded "off", I probably would have ended up taking my own life at some point.
Thanks to God and family, I found my way out, and was able to approach the post-partum period this time with a totally different outlook. I don't ever want anyone to feel the way I felt eleven years ago.