It has been two weeks since I delivered my third baby Joshua. He is perfect in every way! My birth experience was surreal (birth story coming soon!) and extremely healing after my past birth experiences. I rode what they call a “birth high” for about a week afterwards. I felt like superwoman. Nothing could bring me down. Then it hit me…
P O S T P A R T U M
Everyone is different. But for me, POSTPARTUM packs a PUNCH!
I mean for anyone lack of sleep can do a number. Add in a nursing newborn, raging hormones and a few needy toddlers and you have a recipe for EXHAUSTION!
I knew from my previous experience in having children that I would most likely experience postpartum depression again. With my first two, I didn’t recognize it right away. About half way through this last pregnancy, I was experiencing huge postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms (thanks COVID-19). I began researching and reading about it, and ultimately I decided to start seeing a therapist to help me work through my emotions.
Even after all of the preparation, I still feel like it caught me by surprise. I felt that because I knew all of the facts, recognized all of the symptoms, was giving placenta encapsulation a try and had been proactive by having a therapist, postpartum advocate & postpartum doula that I wouldn’t experience the same emotions that I had with my other two babies. I was wrong.
Our second night home from the hospital I found myself standing in the kitchen, hanging on my husband’s shoulders crying my eyes out. Why? The dinner I prepared didn’t taste as good as we thought it would. I know, sounds silly. But the more I cried the more it turned into sobbing.
I knew that the tears were hormonal, and I immediately began worrying that my PPD & PPA would be worse this time. If I was crying over food, maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I thought for postpartum emotions. Just like that the negative thoughts began to spiral downward.
The truth is, prepared or not, I am experiencing the same wave of emotions, the same random cries, the same exhaustion and lack of motivation that I did with the other two. But there is something different this time.
As I stood there crying, vocalizing my worries my husband held me tight, rubbed my back and encouraged me that everything would be ok, that I would be able to manage it and that I didn’t need to worry. Whew… just like that, I could breathe again..
I had someone who UNDERSTOOD & BELIEVED in me!
I have supportive people in my life who know what I am going through. I have people who aren’t afraid to ask me the tough questions that I don’t want to answer. I have support through my family to help out with the kiddos when I think I’m going to lose my mind. I have a loving and supportive husband who understands my struggles and goes out of his way to make sure that I get the rest that I need at this time. Here’s a secret though:
It is a natural tendency to want to bury our feelings. Especially when we are feeling inadequate. I mean, who wants to stand up, raise their hand and say “I’m Katherine, I often have depressive thoughts and emotions that I can’t process, I have no idea what I am doing, but I think I am happy”?
Most of us would probably pass up the opportunity to put ourselves out there like this. We would rather silently struggle without imposing our problems on something else. That’s what I did for 3 years.
It is very N O R M A L to want to appear like we have it all together and that we aren’t wrestling on the inside with negative talk. Because of this we tend to emotionally shut ourselves out from the world. We tend to internalize everything and try to deal with it ourselves. Internalizing is “keeping your feelings or issues inside and not sharing your concerns with others.”
No you don’t have to broadcast your problems to the world, but it would greatly benefit you to find 1 or 2 women in your life that you can honestly share your struggles with. Because I hate to break it to you…
I N T E R N A L I Z I N G
S E L F – D E S T R U C T I V E !
It feels near impossible to be transparent and honest at a time where we feel broken and under-qualified. But friend, the FACT is that until you learn to share your struggles and your negative thoughts with others, you are going to feel alone. Your problems will seem bigger than you can tackle and your everyday life is going to overwhelm you.
Internalizing is self-destructive behavior because although it can start as a postpartum depression symptom, but manifest into borderline personality disorder if left untreated.
There is healing in the truth. Me writing this blog to you, full of my personal struggles may seem a little bit out there. It may seem like I just want the world to hear me “complain” about the struggles of postpartum life. But I promise you it is quite the opposite.
Sharing my struggles with you is in a sense empowering. It helps me process my feelings, It helps me bring awareness to things that most mom’s feel, and I hope that it helps at least one other mom know that she is not alone even when it feels impossible to manage her emotions.
I originally started this blog when my second child was born. I wanted to create a space where I could share real life struggles with other families. I wanted to in a sense help other’s know that when they feel like they messed up or when they hit a hurdle in life that they are in good company.
Through this pregnancy journey, God has given me more direction in that mission. He has put people in my life that have opened up opportunities for me to serve other mothers and to educate about parenting struggles. I’ll never be perfect, but I am so thankful that my imperfections can help others!
So, two weeks postpartum, as I sit here typing this blog (on 4 hours of sleep) and nursing my newborn, I smile because I know that no matter what struggle I hit, I can use that struggle to educate and empower others! Isn’t it amazing how God works through our life?
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”2 T I M O T H Y 1 : 7
Until next time,