I pride myself on being real and honest on my blog. I don't like divulging too much in my personal life, but sometimes I think writing something to which someone else could possibly relate is important.
So that's why I chose to write a post today about depression. More specifically, post partum depression. It's something that is out there, you hear about it, but it's not always understood or taken seriously. I was one of those people. I didn't think it would happen to me. That is, until I experienced it myself.
I've always struggled with clinical depression and anxiety. Show me an attorney who doesn't. I have my own ways of treating this, which I will keep to myself, but it has always been something that has played into my daily life and how I react to certain things. During my pregnancy, it was something that was monitored, with the extra hormones, as well as the intense stress I had with all of my health complications, the doctors were concerned that I would regress into the depression. They were even more concerned about what would happen when the baby arrived. I brushed it off, assuring everyone that I would be just fine. Once Baby Aubrey was here and the stress of the pregnancy was past, I would be doing so much better.
I would like to say that was the case and that as soon as I had that little girl in my arms, I was happy all of the time. I wasn't. I felt so guilty that I wasn't. I couldn't stop the tears forming at my eyes. I couldn't stop that empty feeling that would come and go throughout the day. I would be happy one moment, looking into her eyes thinking I was the luckiest person in the world. Five seconds later, I would be in tears thinking I was the most inadequate mother out there, thinking there was no way I'd handle this. Who was this little person I brought into this world? Was I even worthy to be her mother? I would have extreme anxiety at night wondering if I would be able to even let her get some sleep. My heart would race as the night came closer and closer. It got to the point where I simply dreaded evenings.
Those first few weeks, T was there with me. I knew he felt so helpless, not sure what to say or do to make me feel better. I know he was scared to leave me alone, and as his paternity leave came to a close, both he and I were nervous about it. I would never in a million years do anything to harm my baby, but we were more scared about me just being sad all day. I have a hard enough time being cooped up in a house as it is, so I was nervous about being restricted, compounded with the feelings I was experiencing.
Days were hard. It was even harder because I chose to keep it to myself. I didn't share this with even my closest friends. I'm sure some of them reading this blog right now are shocked all of this was even going on. But it was, and I had no idea why I couldn't handle it. I handled nine and a half months of constant fear and worrying. Why couldn't I just be happy? I was so blessed. I felt so guilty about the sadness that consumed me on a daily basis. I was being ungrateful, selfish. I should have been floating around on a cloud of happiness. Instead I felt like I was falling deeper and deeper into this hole and couldn't get out.
I started to withdraw from the things I loved, including blogging. I felt if I had nothing happy or positive to contribute, then I probably shouldn't write at all. It might not have been the best thing at the moment, but I didn't want to drag others down with me. And I certainly didn't want anyone to know that I wasn't handling everything.
I am happy to say that I am getting out of that hole. It hasn't been easy. And it's taken quite some time. I couldn't have done it without treatment and the support of the man I love. I relapse some days, but things are getting easier. And I'm happier. I'm getting back to doing those things I love. I'm getting back to me.
So many new moms out there experience the same thing I experienced. And so many of them carrying around that guilt about what they are feeling and keep it all inside. You may not see it, but they are suffering inside. Suffering silently.
I appreciate all of you for letting me be so open and honest on my blog. I know it's not a positive and happy blog today, but I hope that my letting you all in can perhaps touch at least someone out there who is struggling with the same sadness. And let them know that you're not alone. And it will get better.