This past week I had my 6 week post-op doctor's appointment to give me the A-Okay to return to work and other things (*wink). I still have two weeks before I have to return to work but it seemed like just yesterday I was being discharged from the hospital. This precious little time always seems to fly.
I'm so blessed that I work for an amazing company that lets me work from home and is so flexible with my schedule. I don't think I could be in such good spirits about returning to work without these two things! I did want to open up to you mamas about my past experiences with postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression can make a Mama feel awful. It can make us feel incompetent and downright crazy. It can make us think and feel things we wouldn't feel in our right minds and it's not your fault. It happens and the best thing you can do for yourself is just admit that you are struggling with it and talk about it. Why does it feel that this is something so taboo to talk about still? It's heavily screened for at the doctor's office and the nurses aren't afraid to ask but why is it so hard to talk about with friends and family? Is it TMI? It's got a stigma behind it and it's not fair. It's not fair to a mother who is already going through so much to make them feel ashamed about it.
I was so sure this time around I was going to have it. Why wouldn't I? After all, I had it with my first two pregnancies. Well, it's still a little early to rule it out and things might change when I do return to work but for the most part I'm feeling really high in spirits, which is much better off than the previous experiences. I will still be on the lookout for it because that nasty old PPD can pop its devilish head out even after a year of giving birth. My second child it did take a couple months and even then I was in denial until about the 6th month mark.
I remember battling it with my first. I isolated myself and was anxious to even pick up the phone to shot the shit with a girlfriend. My daughter had just had heart surgery and I remember the guilt and blame I placed on myself. I didn't admit it back then that I needed help and I kept PPD a secret.
With my second, I was more open and willing to address the situation perhaps because I was downright miserable and decided I no longer wanted to live my life feeling this way. I couldn't be the mama and wife I wanted to be feeling this way. It also helped that I have a very honest and supportive relationship with my husband. He was actually the one who finally pushed me to call my doctor.
It took 6 months to fake a reason to see the doctor. I remember the nurse asking me over the phone what was the nature of the visit.... uhhhhh pelvic pain? When I finally did speak up in the exam room I felt like the weight was lifted off of my shoulders. The doctor was wonderful and made me feel like I wasn't the only one in the world feeling this way. I did get a prescription and was referred to a clinical counselor to hash out my feelings. The doctor called the medicine "a little something to help put my hormones back in balance". It wasn't meant to be permanent.
I filled the prescription and made my appointment and was on track with feeling better.... Yet, there were people in my life, close people, who were judgmental of the fact that I was seeking help for my mental health issues.
Mental health is so important for us Mamas!
This time around there have been somethings that I have tried to do differently to possible ward off the nasty PPD. Do I think these things prevented it? I can't say, sometimes these things just happen but we can only try to take care of ourselves more to feel better. We can't ignore when we are not feeling right and anyone who thinks they are struggling with PPD needs to discuss it with their doctor. Like seriously... make the phone call and get an appointment!
What has helped me fight off postpartum depression
I can tell you that there was a couple of mornings that I didn't want to get out of bed. I had about 10 things to do before I could even think about doing anything for myself.... change the baby's diaper, feed the baby a bottle, pump breast milk, get the kids some breakfast..... It was a real struggle to get myself up those mornings and I felt pulled in a million directions. With the help of diffused lemon oil, I started at the list of things to do and I felt better. I was happily awakened and feeling energized and motivated. As I sat there feeding the baby while the other two kids ate their breakfast, I thought to myself "I might just clean the whole house today!"
....Did I clean the house that day?.....
....Heck no! This Mama had way more things to accomplish in that day but the point was I was motivated!
Letting go of things
I used to take on everything. I used to believe that if I stayed busy I could make time for it all. I had a lot of plans for this upcoming year and a lot of things I put on my plate. I've had to let go of some of those things and take a second to stop and smell the roses. This will probably be my last baby and I wanted to take some time and enjoy it. I honestly don't remember my other two when they were infants. It's hard to imagine those times and I feel it's because I didn't take the time to take it all in. We miss out when we are too busy and we don't get to enjoy our children.
I've also let go of the idea of a perfect home. It will probably never happen even after the kiddies have fled the nest. Sticky floors and toys everywhere is just my life these days. I can try and keep the house perfect but that will just stress me out some more. So like Elsa says... "let it go!"
Although I'm not a regular in the Sunday pews, I have found prayer to be so helpful and encouraging. It's amazing what we can put on Him and what He gives in return. I've spent many mornings praying before I even opened my eyes. Praying for God to give me the patience and love to make it through the day. Being a mama to three young children is very demanding and at the end of the day I want to feel that I loved my kids enough, It's amazing what we can do in prayer.
I'm really looking forward to carving out some time for this now that I've got the clearance from the doctor. Yoga is something that I've have really grown to love. It empowers a mama to feel stronger and it's great for keeping a balanced mind.
What are some helpful ideas you can give me to stay healthy and happy? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!!