A Final Farewell to Postpartum Depression

Today I took off my last bandages from my surgery and breathed both a sigh of relief and of saddness. This decision took me a few months to finalize and knowing that I am forever done holding a newborn of my own was not an easy pill to swallow. I have heard so many opinions over the years as to why this decision should not be made or taken lightly, but the alternative was far more frightening to me.

Postpartum depression is something I never thought I would struggle with (having never dealt with depression prior to my childbearing years). The thoughts that consumed my mind bring me to tears and the possibility of ever going through it again was too hard to bear for me. 

I am a year away from my thirties and have had three healthy pregnancies and babies. From a medical prespective I am an ideal candidate to give birth to healthy babies due to never having any complications. And as much as this makes me happy, I also feel guilty that unlike myself I have so many friends struggling with infertility, loss of an infant, or miscarriages. My hope is that although my season of childbearing is over I can now have the time, energy, and emotional capacity to better come alongside my friends (old and new) to love on them and pray for them in ways I was unable to before. 

I know at this point what some of you may be thinking: Why didn't your husband just get a vasechtomy? We tried. He wasn't a candidate. End of story. 

In fact my husband came home from going on a walk with our youngest the other day and told me how he was getting teary-eyed thinking about the fact that this is our last biological child together. It was a reminder to soak up the good and the bad, the sleepless nights and the endless teething, becuase one day our kids will be out and about on a skateboard rather than begging to be sitting on our laps. 

This decision was really a decision to put an end to my postpartum depression. I have been off meds for a few months now and besides the emotional changes I go through when the seasons change, (See post Here) I've been feeling great. I am not going to be naive and say depression cannot ever effect me again in the future, but I am more hopeful. In the years to come I hope that we can bring the joy of life into our house again in the form of adoption or foster care, but for now I am thankful for the three little boys God has entrusted us with. My three tiny marks are now a reminder on my body of the remarkable gift of life and how each child brought me down a road that brought me to where I am today and has helped shape me into who I am today. 

If you are struggling with any form of depression and anxiety know you don't have to get your tubes removed like I did. I am not saying this is for everyone, it was a decision for me. But know that you do not have to go through your journey alone.

Ask for help. Find a friend who can listen to you. Go outside. Practice self-care. What you are going through is harder to overcome when you are alone. Message me if you want to talk.

Thanks for letting me open up and be vulnerbable with this decision I made. It may or may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but for me it marked a closing of one door and an opening of many others. 

Farewell Postpartum depression, you sucked!

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Instead of a “push present” I got a “sterilization present.” 

Instead of a “push present” I got a “sterilization present.” 

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an honest look at postpartum depression pt 2

Postpartum depression, for me, has been such a hard thing to experience because it has caused me to be a slave to my thoughts and fears which I normally would not have. This fear, worry, and anxiety keeps me from doing what might bring me joy and often it keeps me from experiencing life that is right in front of me. 

I recently went to a Solly Baby event in San Diego with Leo and had a great time meeting new moms and hearing an inspirational talk on beauty and body image.  Our Solly is our favorite baby carrier and I knew I needed a night out so when they advertised on Instagram they were having a local event with food, wine, a motivational talk, and girl time, I was all about it.

One of my friends from college who was there said something to me that really made in impact on my life with regards to postpartum depression and anxiety. We were catching up and she asked me how I was doing and I vented a little on how hard it is to get out of the house with 3 kids and how it is easy to just want to stay home all the time. She replied (ES), "but, look, you're doing it! You are here and that's what matters!" She didn't know it in that moment but that was exactly what I needed to here. Those few little words gave me validation that taking a night off for myself was okay and not a total failure.

A light bulb went off in my head in that moment. Yes, Leo screamed for half the drive down, yes, I had to pull over to nurse, yes, I was stuck in 30 min of traffic, and yes, I had spit-up down my new J. Crew top the entire night. BUT I was there! I wanted to get out and do something for myself and I did it.  I usually say no to things that take a lot of effort because of the work required to actually make it happen and I am so glad that this time I made it a priority to get out and do something fun and different.

The night was filled with a room full of 100+ moms from all walks of life. Lindsay and Lexi from Beauty Redefined talked to all of us about how we are "more than just a body. See more. Be more." I originally didn't think I would get much out of the talk but I was surprised with how much I took away from the night. 

  I did a lot of people watching, like I usually do and tried to pray for those who looked like me, moms who can put a smile on but inside are battling with their own thoughts. These women were so inspirational to be around because many of them balance blogs, careers, and hobbies while simultaneously being a mom and wife. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from postpartum depression and anxiety please talk to someone. The worst thing you can do is battle this awful illness alone and there is help out there. For me, getting out of the house and doing something for me made such a difference in my life. I felt, for a few hours, like I still had value in purpose in the world besides being a caretaker in my own home. With help from God, my family and medicine I have not been having as bad of symptoms as I did when I had Calvin and is a victory to be celebrated

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the truth behind a smile.

Recently, this POST has been all over my Facebook and I knew I had to comment on it. Please go and read that post and watch the news clip, and then meet me back here. My prayers are with Allison's family, especially her sweet baby girl and husband as they grieve over awful loss. 

The American Psychological Association states that 1-in-7 women will experience postpartum depression after having a baby. When a healthy new baby is brought into the world, there's so much smiling going on. I remember all too well smiling for the camera and pretending like I finally had more joy in my life than I ever thought imaginable. Sadly, for myself and for so many other new moms the smiles do not tell the whole story. Off camera, something else is going on.

There's nothing in life to prepare a new mom for the amount of change she will face once baby arrives. There are the ever-fluctuating hormones, there's breastfeeding, the exhaustion that comes from sleepless nights, physical pain recovering from birthing a child, and the fact that you now have a little human to keep alive. For many moms, this leads to postpartum depression; something not to be taken lightly.

Allison, this new mom, suffered from postpartum depression and she sadly lost her life to it. On the outside though, she seemed to be doing just fine. Her friends and family even repetitively asked her if she was doing okay. This could lead someone to think, Well, what else is there to do in order to find out if someone is silently suffering alone?? How do you know the truth behind that white smile? Although I don't have a clear answer for it, I do know what helped me. 

Each day brings it's own set of challenges and like the wind you never know which way it will blow. There were some days where I desperately needed someone to talk to and then other days when I just needed time alone without a care in the world. What I appreciated the most is when my family and friends checked in specifically with me and not just on my baby.

Questions that can help are simple:

"How are you healing?" 

"Do you need to get out of the house while I stay here with the baby?"

"What time of the day is the most difficult for you?"

"Want to get out of the house and come over?"

"Hey, it's okay if you aren't feeling yourself yet. Do you want to talk about it?"

Allison in one of her emails to her family said she did not know how to explain the emotional pain she was experiencing and this is something that really resonated with me. I clearly recall sitting outside on the curb trying to find reasons why I could not experience any joy and nothing would come to mind. I simply did not feel myself. As an extrovert, the hardest thing for me was feeling trapped. I felt guilty telling people that I did not want to spend all day cleaning up and nursing my baby and instead wanted some socialization and freedom from it all. Any mom who deals with postpartum depression will experience it in different ways. Some like to talk about it (like I needed to), some keep it in, some are ashamed, some do not know they are experiencing it. 

If you are going to be a new mom or if you know someone who is having a baby soon, please learn to know the signs. Know that it is okay and common to experience postpartum depression and that there is help available. Some may need medical help or just some medicine, others social help, etc. Whatever the remedy, this is not something that needs to be gone through alone. It was not until I voiced and cried my heart out to my mom that I realized what I was suffering from PPD and that a lot of other women around me were going through something similar. The smiles in our newborn photo shoots, my happy Facebook posts, and happy demeanor did not tell the whole story. I cannot speak for Allison and do not know the severity of what she went through, but if there is a way we can make postpartum a more talked about topic then maybe we can help more women walk together in this. No one should have to be alone. We are not alone.

Did you or does someone you know suffer from postpartum depression? Did you experience PPD with any of your other children? What helped you the most to talk about what you were going through? What was the most unhelpful?

Smiling in this picture but silently suffering. Ironically, the picture below with me holding Max I am not smiling but was filled with nothing but joy.

Smiling in this picture but silently suffering. Ironically, the picture below with me holding Max I am not smiling but was filled with nothing but joy.