Postpartum Depression & Anxiety : An unexpected feeling

Postpartum depression

Loving my children is more important than loving every moment of motherhood (or parenthood).

Parenthood surprised me. I thought the hard part was birth. That I would just need to be brave for C-section surgery. I thought all I needed was to overcome my fear of all things medical and then I would be home free. I imagined a motherhood switch on the other side of birth that would leave me feeling capable and competent. The feeling of helplessness that comes with postpartum depression was a surprise.

I equated babyhood with being happy every minute and so saw my unhappiness as failure.

Vunerability and fear are normal parts any new place or situation. Motherhood is the most different place I have ever been. I listened too long and too hard to voices within and outside of me that said I should know what I was doing. That I just had to survive on an insane amount of sleep deprivation.  I couldn’t hear grace. I couldn’t give it to myself.

It took awhile for me to believe that I wasn’t supposed to know what I was doing. I had never done it. Life is always defined by choices and experiments that are often hard. Sure the scenery was different: to breastfeed or not, to give reflux meds or not, to do MDO or not but they were all opportunities to continue to believe in myself.

I quit beating myself up about my postpartum depression.

There was help and hope. There were counselors who specialized in postpartum depression and there was medication and there was going back to work. I learned to forgive myself on the hard days, an act of bravery in itself. I learned to say what the hell with every new moment of parenthood and to give it my best guess.

For anyone out there feeling small in the midst of your parenthood, you are not alone. There are people and places who can shine a light on how amazing you are. It’s why I became a postpartum doula. To be in situations and places where those words of encouragement might be needed. The other reason I doula is so I can shoulder moments and tasks for clients so that they can find themselves again instead of drowning in doing it all.

Postpartum depression and anxiety does not define you as a parent or spouse.

Here’s a couple of great places to start if you think you are experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety

Remember: You are not alone and you are loved!

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