I have two amazing kids. I love them. They bring joy and laughter to our home.
That being said though; it wasn’t always so simple for me to say that. I, like many women, struggled with postpartum depression. I had two very tough pregnancies, with Josh I was living with a lot of unknowns given his cardiac condition. We were constantly being told he wouldn’t live. When he was born (and when he lived) I was thrilled, terrified, sad, worried, angry, confused, emotional… I was a mess; but then, that’s normal when your kid is so sick right? I didn’t think much about it, I look back and see that I suffered from post-traumatic stress, I hit almost all the markers for it but I didn’t know it then.
When I was pregnant with Kaleb I had pre-eclampsia and my chances of a normal pregnancy went out the window. I was on bed rest and really sick and finally one night they decided my blood pressure was just too high and they had to take him out. Two pregnancies, two unplanned and unwanted C-sections, two times I felt I had failed at being a Mom before even holding them. One nurse told me (while pregnant with Josh) that I had an ‘unfriendly’ womb; Kaleb’s situation only confirmed this lie… I felt like the worst kind of failure. I was sad, I blamed the pregnancy blues, I blamed hormones, I blamed sleeplessness. I was angry, scared, worried, and had lost all patience with both boys, two boys that I loved more than anything, two boys who in one breath changed my world for the better. I knew what was expected of me, to be all glowy and happy that I had these amazing kids, to be ‘together’ and over the moon in love with them. I was; I just didn’t feel like that all the time. Each day would be different, some days I didn’t want to leave my bed, and when one cried I would want to scream, some days all I wanted to do was hold them and kiss their foreheads and tell them all the dreams I had for them. Some days one would puke and I would feel so angry, other days one would puke and I would cry, or sometimes they would puke and I would giggle about how they timed it so perfectly (right after I would put them in a clean outfit). No day was the same, I was an emotional mess. It took a toll on me and finally, Tim asked me to see someone. I thought he was crazy, I felt like a failure all over again. I was the worst kind of Mom. I went to the doctor though, I sought help and it changed me. Talking about it wasn’t as easy.
This is postpartum. It’s not pretty, it’s not all glowy joy and rose buds. It can be messy, it can be sad and scary and lonely.
My boys are now 7 and 9 and in that time I have come to realize that I was normal, that many women struggle with postpartum and there is no ‘right way’ of having a baby (natural vs C-section; breastfeeding vs bottle). I wasn’t a failure, I was doing the best I could do given the situation. I wasn’t weak, I wasn’t a bad mother, I wasn’t weird or crazy. I was sick, I was sad, I was scared and until I started talking about it I was alone.