Should I say something?
“What am I going to say when they ask me how I’m doing? I could be honest and say I feel like crap. If I do that, I already know the doctor is going to do his best to prescribe medication. So, I guess I’m going to say that I’m doing absolutely great!”
I dreaded postpartum appointments. Having to fake the funk about how I was feeling was emotionally exhausting. During my postpartum appointment and a couple of my kid’s check-ups, I was presented with a worksheet to fill out. That postpartum worksheet provides the doctor with information on how you’re doing emotionally after giving birth. I almost always answer the questions in a way that doesn’t alarm the doctors. Honestly, I don’t think anyone answers those questions truthfully.
When asked how I was feeling, I would reply:
“Everything is great!”
“I don’t feel sad.”
“I am able to go about my day without breaking down.”
Deep down, I wanted to scream, “HOW LONG IS THIS FEELING OF SADNESS GOING TO LAST? WHAT CAN I DO TO FEEL BETTER THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE MEDICATION?!”
I don’t know if I can get through this
The shower is the one place where I can be alone, the place where my I’m able to let go of the tears I’d been holding onto all day long. I climb into the shower, stand directly under the showerhead, and then my tears began to flow. I sob as quietly as possible to avoid alarming my husband.
“What have I got myself into?!”
“I make too many mistakes!”
“Why can’t I feel better?”
So many destructive thoughts were running through my mind as the hot shower water runs down my body. Feeling overwhelmed and emotionally empty, I feel myself slipping into a dark space. I reach up to grab my rag, but couldn’t grasp it due to my trembling hands. I take a seat on the ground and allow the water to wash away my tears, and hopefully, my worries, too.
To avoid concerns, I slowly stand up, shower, and leave the bathroom. With a smile on my face, I enter the living room where my husband and children were playing.
That story above is an accurate depiction of what happened to me on several occasions after giving birth to my kids. The shower was and still is my space to let out a good, deep cry. The postpartum period, for me, was a complete nightmare. I suffered in silence for quite some time before I began to do things to get back on the right track.
If you’re wondering why I kept quiet about what I was going through, there are two main reasons:
- I needed to stay strong for my family, especially my kids.
- I refused to take medication(s) for something, I felt, I could manage and overcome on my own.
Getting to a better version of myself
Getting back to my “normal” self (well, a better version of myself) was a stringent process. To manage my ever-changing emotions, I decided to do what made me the happiest. Getting to jog at my favorite nature trail makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. With music blasting and feet pounding the dirt, at that moment, I had no worries. Being out in nature, doing something physically exhausting, pushing my body to its limits, brought a particular type of peace that I cannot explain.
Another thing that helped me out of my postpartum troubles was the sheer act of slowing down and recognizing that I was doing the best that I possibly could. I had to realize that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” mother. As long as I was willing to learn and provide what my children needed/wanted, that’s what mattered.
I didn’t reach out to others as much as I should’ve. Looking back on it now, I wish I would’ve. Being able to have a support system during times like that helps you to see that you’re not alone and that you can get through it.
Jogging, journaling, patience, and faith carried me through my postpartum funk.
One valuable piece of advice that I can share with you moms is to speak up about your emotions! Reach out to someone that you trust to talk to about what you’re going through. Even if you can’t find the words to explain yourself, speak about it anyway!
Postpartum Depression or “Baby Blues”?
Did you know that there’s a difference between postpartum depression and the “baby blues”? I will be honest and say that I always figured that they were the same thing. From my research, I’ve learned that there is a difference.
“Baby Blues” is described as being a little sad, worried, anxious, or fatigued. It typically fades away within a couple weeks. Most moms go through the “baby blues” stage after birth.
Postpartum Depression is more intense than “baby blues” and lasts longer. Intense feelings of sadness, sudden mood swings, loss of interest in the things you once enjoyed. Postpartum depression tends to linger around for months. If you feel as though your symptoms are too much for you to handle, speak with your doctor. There are treatment options to help you through. Treatments like antidepressants and therapy. There’s always the option of self-care (which is the route I took).
Natural Ways To Emotionally Recover After Childbirth:
Postpartum depression is not something to take lightly. Moms and moms-to-be, if you feel that your emotions are too much to handle on your own, please reach out to someone you trust and/or contact your doctor for treatment options.
I have some natural ways to help you get out of that postpartum funk. I hope that you’re able to incorporate these tips into your journey of getting back to yourself. My tips for overcoming “baby blues”/postpartum depression are:
1. Reach Out To Someone. Talk About What You’re Going Through.
5. Do Something That Brings You Happiness.
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