I share this story in complete vulnerability, in the hopes that even just one mama who is in the position I was, can read it and it will help. Sharing things like this on social media can be terrifying, people can be so mean. But I am willing to take that risk in the hopes that my postpartum story might help someone else’s be an easier one. I was NOT okay after the births of my beloved babies, and I know I am not the only one in this world who has experienced this. I am sharing this story, because, my life is now completely different, and I pray that in sharing this someone else may not have to struggle as long as I did, or can stop struggling and see the sunshine again. You don’t need to feel ashamed, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Yes, I believe with all my heart in holistic healing but I ALSO believe the shroud covering postpartum mental health and medication needs to be lifted. Was how I felt exacerbated by my circumstances? Probably. Could I have avoided this with proper supplements and better self-care? Maybe. And I will try again with each baby I may bave in the future. And no, I am not suggesting Prozac as a cure-all for every mom. But the point is, we don’t have to suffer. I’m a Christian, and let me tell you needing some help does NOT mean I don’t love Jesus. We aren’t being heroes by not seeking help. We deserve better, our babies deserve better, we both deserve for us to be functioning, and at our best. No, I am not a robot mom now. Yes, I still get frustrated and things make me sad. BUT, I am now able to manage the highs and lows and once again truly enjoy this precious time with my children. Now for my story:
“He’s a really happy baby, you’re really lucky”, she said looking at Charlie smiling angelically in my lap. I nodded my head numbly and plastered a fake huge smile on my face as I agreed. I was completely focused on saying exactly what I needed to be able to walk away from that place. Unknown to me, in my attempt to see a doctor for postpartum mental support I had walked into a check-in crises center, and had just had it explained to me that I could be detained there, as in, removed from my children. My insides were in complete turmoil and my heart was pounding through my chest, no way was I able or willing to leave my three babies without me for several days. I should have known when they took my phone and keys upon arrival, but I was blindly trusting and following what I assumed was some kind of weird safety protocol. I continued to say what needed to be said until the lady agreed to set an appointment for me for a “regular” psychologist and let me go home. The earliest they could get me in was two to three months out, so she recommended eating “serotonin boosting foods, you can find them on google”. I again nodded, plastered my fake smile, and fought my panicked urge to run out of there as fast as I could.
Here is where I am blessed in this story, I have a wonderful family doctor who I was able to see that very day and who got me on something to start helping, immediately. Not everyone has that, and my heart breaks for those mamas who are in my position and don’t know that they can find someone they can turn to safely, someone who can, and is willing, to help. I was TERRIFIED to go for help, I have heard so many horror stories of women suffering from postpartum depression and terrible things happening when they tried to get help. But, I am here to tell you, you don’t have to be afraid. While the crises center I walked into was anything but helpful, (NEVER tell a women IN POSTARTUM CRISES she is LUCKY, and also head’s up if she’s there to get urgent help the answer is probably not to eat serotonin boosting foods), there are resources to help. Postpartum Support International is an online resource you can use RIGHT NOW. Click here to check them out.
I am so thankful I sought help, and I don’t know how long I will need it. But I know that I am able to experience motherhood’s joys again, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I don’t want to look back and know that because of a chemical imbalance I missed out on these precious times with my babies. Maybe if I have another baby, I’ll be able to practice better self care, maybe being on proper supplements will help, but no matter what I will never allow myself to suffer as I did again. We deserve better, dear mamas. If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether or not you’re ok, seek help. I fought against it and convinced myself time and again this was all my fault, and that the way I felt was “normal”, and it was most definitely not. And so I share this, in support of the #powerinpostpartum movement, and with the heartfelt hope that my story may help other mamas to not be afraid, and to be able to truly experience motherhood as we deserve to.