It was a pretty normal hot summer morning. We were in Danny's bedroom. I was sweaty in my workout clothes and the baby was fussy - almost ready for a nap, but needing his diaper changed and a little TLC before being put down for a nap. Danny wanted me to play with him and I was trying to direct him to put away some toys and manage my 7 week old at the same time. Danny was only half paying attention and I'd repeated myself approximately 7 million times in the previous 5 minutes.
I snapped. I yelled at him.
And then I knew. Something was wrong.
It hit me all at once: Whatever my son was doing should not have irritated me as much as it did. Would not have irritated me as much as it did if things were alright. I was angry. Bitter and resentful towards my husband. Exhausted and frustrated with life. I was not enjoying these weeks and months with my newborn and no matter what happened, good or bad, I just seemed to be mad and emotional and depressed. Weeping in the shower happened often. I was just not myself.
So I got online and reached out to a group of girlfirends of mine and posed this question: "What does postpartum depression feel like? Because I'm starting to think I might have it."
That was the start of my journey through understanding, managing and explaining my postartum depression. I've done and learned A LOT in the last several weeks, as I try to manage this animal. I'll tell you a few things. First of all, it's real. It's real and it's debilitating. It's much different than normal hormonal ups and downs and the emotional swings that go with beign pregnant, giving birth and breastfeeding. Secondly, it's MUCH more common than I could have ever imagined. I have been so surprised at the number of my friends who have experienced postpartum depression. In fact, according to this site, as many as 1 in 7 mothers are affected by it.
Third, it just plain sucks. Just this afternoon, I whispered through a hot mess of angry tears to my husband, "I hate this. I hate feeling like this. I just want to feel like me!"
Last week, the Father began to speak to me about this, and about the scores of women out there who are experiencing the same thing, but who are either too embarrassed, too foggy, not educated enough, or too proud to talk about it. I decided that I was going to go completely public about it and write about it from beginning to end, while I'm experiencing it. I know I could wait until it's over and write about it then. That would be safer. That would be less vulnerable. But there is a certain raw honesty that comes when I write about something in the midst of the trial and that's what I think Yahweh is calling me to share.
My prayer is that I'll be able to help some mommies out there identify what they're going through, and help other mommies identify that this is (thankfully) not what they are going through. I'm going to write about what this monster feels like, in real English. I hope to make this subject more talked about and clear up some of the myths that are out there. It needs to be ok for a woman to verbally explore this subject with their family, their friends and their doctor without having to fear a quick diagnosis and a prescription for a medication they don't want to be on. I am going to talk about the many options for treating and managing PPD and give hope that medication doesn't have to be the answer, but that it may be, and if it is, that may be okay.
Rest assured that I am surrounded by my husband, my family, my friends and a handful of medical professionals who have their watchful eye on me. I am well supported and I wouldn't begin to write about this without a great support system already in place.
Please spread the word and share this post with all the mommies you know. If you are a mommy who has experienced postpartum depression, I need your help. Please comment or email me: renee.mk11(at)gmail(dot)com. Let me know what PPD felt like to you. The more detailed and honest you can be in your description, the better. I won't be revealing any of the identities of anyone who decides to help and/or share unless you want me to.
Lastly, I ask for your prayer! Pray that my postpartum depression would make its departure with a quickness! Pray against the attacks of Satan who will not like what I'm writing and who would love to keep women trapped and uneducated about PPD. Pray for my words and this blog, that it would truly help some women who need it. Pray that Christ would be honored in all that I say. Thank you, friends!
And with that, I'm off to enjoy some snuggles with my sweet 9 week old and some calming tea.