If you knew what you know now, what would be the one piece of advice that you would give a new mom just starting her PPD journey?
For those of you who don’t know what PPD is, it stands for Post-Partum Depression. For those of you that don’t know me too well, I suffered from PPD after the birth of my daughter. It’s been a long journey for me, but the journey is half the story as far as I’m concerned. The other half I’ve discovered………..well it’s what you make of it.
I know a lot of you have heard my story, I won’t bore you with those details again. You can read my post HERE if you want to check it out. It’s been almost a year since that post. So much has happened within that year. To start, the medicine I last spoke of, prozac, well I came off of that one a few months after I had started it, maybe about 6 months. Again, at first it worked great then I started to feel laythargic and down more than I was up again. I felt defeated yet again. After a long conversation with my husband I agreed to come off of everything, find a therapist and work on becoming more healthy on my own. It was the best decision I ever made. Though I do believe in drugs, I just didn’t want to try any more after that. I know it takes time to find the right one, but I wanted to try it on my own again. Plus I didn’t want the way I was feeling to stand in the way of growing my family. So here I am almost a year later, pregnant with a baby boy and though it’s been rough with being tired all the time, raising a toddler, and being sick with every illness under the sun this winter I’m doing well. I’m still scared and nervous about being now being a mother of two, I’ve come a long way with being comfortable with where I am at and admitting I’m never going to be perfect. I just do the best I can. My husband and I are so happy about this next step, we have a beautiful new home to raise our family in, and I’ve learnt to lean on others easier. My mom and sister now have an apartment attached to our house so I’ll have all the help in the world. I still have my off days. I still have days when I ask myself “What am I getting myself into???” Then I remember yeah, me and everyone else!! I’ve learnt to not belittle my feelings, to give myself a little more credit and to lean on my husband more.
I’ve met a lot of mother’s along the way, I have family and friends who are becoming mothers for the first time, I see the light in their eyes and the glow in their smiles. It’s such an amazing life event, it’s a beautiful thing to watch someone you love go through it. I’ve come to see that we are all different in our own ways. I’ve taken advice from people I’ve barley met, I’ve cried to people I hardly know, it’s just part of the process. It’s made me who I am. I have days where I’ve never felt more blessed, and I have days where I look at my husband and I long for it to just be me and him again. For one hour, for one second. Then I hear the pitter patter of little feet running towards me and the mass of blonde hair rush into my arms and I can’t imagine my life any other way. I look at my husband and I see ten times more the man I married. I see the extra lines on his face and I think they are beautiful, I look in the mirror and I see the worry in my own eyes, and I still wouldn’t want it any other way.
Though everyday is a battle it’s my battle. So, If I knew what I know now, what would be the one piece of advice that I would give a new mom just starting her PPD journey? ANSWER: Give yourself some ME time no matter what. We all deserve it. Simple, short and sweet. Though I have tons of advice, this one is important to me because I always want to give 110% of myself to my family. The first three months with an infant are tough, you don’t get out much, you are overwhelmed and sleep deprived. It’s really hard to make time for yourself. BUT DO IT. It took me way too long to learn that lesson. I believe that every MOM deserves “me” time.
This question was recently asked in a support group that I belong to. A group of mothers that are the strongest woman I’ve ever met………here were some answers that I wanted to share with some of you in case you or anyone you know or love maybe suffering from PPD.
“Just breath. It gets easier. Right now your seeing a mountain but one day, hopefully soon you’ll only see a bump. There is an end… even if you don’t see it right away.”
“You will get through it. It does end. My best friend who went through PPD after my first round told me me telling her that over and over saved her. It is true. I saw very very dark days, but I did get through it. I know I can get through anything now.”
“Similar sentiments – “this too shall pass” and “endeavor to persevere” – you will get through this and there are people who can help. I would add you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others, so do something for yourself each day. It might be finding the time to shower, making yourself something warm to eat, or calling someone so you can have an hour or two to yourself (maybe for a nap ).”
“Get out of the house. Sometimes it seems easier to stay inside but it just isolates you and makes your PPD worse. You’ll feel better if you interact with and are a part of the rest of the world. This really helped me, I hope it helps someone else.”
“Try to cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect. You and your children will survive. You don’t have to be super mom. There is time as much as you feel there isn’t. Try to enjoy the good times.”
”Give yourself time to learn, heal and adjust.”
“You are much stronger than you think, and even in your darkest hour, know you are not alone and somewhere someone else has had the same scary, intrusive thought, don’t feel like you are a monster. talk to someone. if you ever feel unsafe or your child is unsafe, stop. breathe. call someone.”
“Exercise. Even if its just a 15 minute walk or a quick workout video. Talk about it. You’re not alone and someone else will understand. Get out of the house. It’s tough now because its cold but even just a trip to the mall or the grocery store can be great. You WILL overcome this and be stronger for having experienced it. Hugs to anyone just beginning or still on this hard road.”
This is all GREAT advice. Take it from woman that have been there please. I had NO ONE to talk to, I was embarressed and I finally ended up turning to my MIL because I knew she raised three sons practically by herself and I knew that couldn’t be easy. Once the winter passed for me I had my family to be around all summer so I did better. I walked a lot and was outside a lot. Once fall and winter came again is when I knew something was wrong…..don’t be afraid to turn to anyone.
I know there is a greater risk for me to have PPD again after I have my son, however this time my doctors are well aware of it and I’m well aware of it. I’m choosing the no meds route for right now but I’m not ruling the option out, I’m going to see how it goes. I’m also having this baby at a different time of year. I’m hoping summer time will be better! I’m staying positive and I know there help is our there.
From one Mom to another……Pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!!!!!