Remember how I said year 2 at home was a story for another day...? Well, I guess today's that day. My second daughter, Lil Lil, was born in August of 2013. Her labor/delivery were amazing (although Aaron probably thinks otherwise), she latched immediately, I had no issues with transitioning her to home and she was a dream of a chill baby. We had thought that Keira was pretty relaxed, but the first few weeks of Lily's life were just awesome and she was proving to be even more relaxed. She slept insane amounts from the beginning and ate like a champ, and didn't fuss with the constant prodding and "help" of her big sister. I felt so, so blessed that she was ours.
Unfortunately, I also felt a lot of other...well, junk, that I just did not talk about. I remember she was maybe three weeks old when I first felt like something seemed "off" with me. I figured I was just still adjusting to life with two and figured if it kept up, I would, I dunno, rest or pray more. My 6 week appointment came and went, and I didn't say anything about the anxiety I was feeling about everything or how I felt like the world was caving in on me all the time. I kept trying to talk myself off a ledge and trying to talk myself down...I kept saying to myself, "You are fine. Buck up."
Well, I wasn't fine. Small, mundane tasks began to feel like marathons. Waking up and getting out of bed became a challenge every day. I didn't feel like doing anything, I didn't feel like going anywhere, I didn't feel like seeing anyone. (Side note: this was also during a nine month stretch in which we functioned as a family of four on one vehicle...I spent my days with 4 children 2 and under without the ability to leave.....NOT RECOMMENDED!!!!) I knew there was something "wrong" with me but instead of dealing with it, I decided to try to just make it go away and put on a good front. I still cared for our two girls during the day, as well as my two daycare kiddos. I always put forth my best effort with the kids, but just collapsed when my work was done. I talked about it a little bit with Aaron and a little bit with a couple close friends and my sister. But if I'm being completely honest, no one really got me. They were amazing, and supportive and listened, but also didn't understand the deep dark pit that I found myself in the bottom of. I finally went to the doctor and broke down like a bawling mess to the nurse that I felt like I was going to die (not because I wanted to but because my head was making me think I needed to) and felt the worst I'd ever felt in my life. She said the words that I was dreading to hear but that I already knew full well,
"You are suffering from post-partum depression and anxiety."
I still didn't tell many people about what I was going through, though I did make some changes at home which helped. I would say within 3 weeks I started to feel more normal...NOT right, but more even-keeled. The counseling was helping, and apparently so were the meds. I started to care a lot more, and a friend of mine and I started working out. I made some dietary changes and I just started to feel SO much more normal. Within 5 months I had weaned myself off the med, and the counseling was down to only 1x a month. Even though it had been a complete roller coaster of a year for me (and thus my family) as Lily was getting closer to her first birthday we knew we wanted another baby. It was amazing how just being aware of this being a part of my post-partum history made me SO much wiser with baby #3. I talked to Aaron about what I was feeling and he checked in constantly throughout the pregnancy and the first few months of Teagan's life to be sure that I didn't feel like I was struggling again. Right after birth, they gave me some hormones and I went back a few times after that to help keep hormones in check, but I kept breathing deep sighs of relief when I WASN'T feeling those suffocating and awful feelings I felt when going through PPD after delivering Lil.
Recently I talked to a dear friend and somehow we got on the topic and I told her about my former struggles with this, and she said something that struck me, "I would have never known." Because of the stigma around post-partum issues, I really didn't and haven't talked about it with too many people. But here's what I've learned when I have spoken up...SO many women suffer in silence. You guys, PPD is a real actual thing. And it sucks. And it's not fun at.all. But it's treatable and curable and possible to overcome!! I had no idea the number of women out there that have gone through this. If you are someone who is struggling, or know a new mom, PLEASE reach out and check in often. It was easy for me to stuff it and hide it for 5 months, but I am beyond thankful that I finally decided to (well okay, that Aaron forced me to) see a doctor. I am thankful that this is something I overcame!