I've contemplated A LOT on whether or not to write this post. Whether or not it was "appropriate" or just plain out exposing.
Through the back and forth - I came to a realization and understanding. If I don't at least put my story out there, then I can't help one person who can relate. If I keep this all bottled up inside of me, then this doesn't support the healing process. If I am ashamed of what I have to write, then I haven't fully accepted that this is what I'm going through.
So I made the executive decision. I'm going to write about it.
I'm going to make my story available and my sincerest intention with doing so is to help at least one fellow mama know that she is not alone. This isn't a call for help. This isn't a desire to receive sympathy. This is a process of healing and a desire to try out this vulnerability thing (YIKES! thanks Brené Brown).
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?
Postpartum Depression. What I have coined as Postpartum "Transition". Why? Because depression is intense and for me, the thought of this being a transition vs. a concrete diagnosis has helped me through the process. Call it what you want though, they are one in the same.
WHERE IT STARTED
I won't bore you with all of the details of my journey over the past 2.5 years, but to sum it up, I had a hard time transitioning to this new stage in live.... MAMAHOOD. From the outside it seemed so glamorous, joyful and easy - RAINBOWS + BUTTERFLIES if you will. When I stepped inside however, it felt terrifying, difficult and hard to identify with.
Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than life and wouldn't change ANYTHING. I want nothing but the best for them and love them truly and unconditionally. I am beyond grateful for what they teach me every single day.
So what's the big deal? For me it was identifying as a "MAMA". That's a big word in my eyes - a title with a lot of expectations, power and pressure. I didn't want to lose who I was when becoming a mom and that turned to be my biggest obstacle and fear. Will I be good enough? Will I ever have alone time again? Will I get lost in only catering to the needs of my kids? Will my marriage suffer? Will I be able to teach something that I'm still learning so much about?
I brushed these feelings under the rug with the birth of my first son and powered through. BAD IDEA. It all came back (and then some) with the birth of my 2nd son. I knew these feelings and emotions of fear, sadness, exhaustion and loneliness were all too familiar the second time around. I consider myself to be a mindful person, someone who is incredible in tune with my feelings and body, but what I was experiencing felt far outside of my control. I knew I needed to talk with someone. So after weeks of contemplation - I reached out for help.
We talked. I cried. I took a standard questionnaire. I was officially diagnosed with mild-moderate postpartum depression. While I knew this was likely the case, the reality was still a tough pill to swallow. Depression?! After giving myself 24 hours to feel sorry for myself, a shift started to happen. I felt RELIEF. Finally an answer to what I was feeling and PFEW now it was time to work through it.
THE JOURNEY TO GET THROUGH
Over the years, I have come to embrace this new chapter of life - MAMAHOOD. This certainly hasn't happened overnight, though. There are still days of highs and lows, but what I find comfort in is knowing that it's temporary. That I am actively working through it and making it a priority with intention of getting to the other side and back to my truth. This is my choice. It shows up when I feel defeated during a run, when I'm alone nursing in the middle of the night, mindlessly flipping through social media, in my yoga practice and at other random times. So, I'm learning to identify those trigger points and turn to my toolkit.
I am aware that there are many different severity levels out there and that other mamas experience postpartum transition in different ways. So my hope is not to compare or discount what each of us goes through. My intent is to share my story and to provide comfort for another mama to know that she is not alone - in however her experience may shape out. We are all individuals and experience this life in our own unique way. From that, we have a choice each and every day in what we do with this life.
This has been my saving grace. Identifying what works for me and staying in tune with my body has helped me to identify when I need more support and when I'm seeing the progress. On days when I turn to my husband and say " I'm not feeling great today" - we hit the toolkit hard and heavy! On days when I feel more like myself, I attempt to still find a moment to incorporate each of these into the day.
"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out" - Robert Collier
This is my story. The journey is not complete, but each day there is progress. To everyone out there who is also trying their best. THANK YOU. You make this world a better place.
With Gratitude - xo
Copyright © 2020 Bailey Smith, LLC, All rights reserved