It was never something that I expected to deal with much less that I thought I would acknowledge. Most know someone who has gone through it; more of us have been there than would like to say. It’s called postpartum depression but I call it my dark place. I had hoped to avoid it with the birth of this third child and I admit, I even felt that because of my difficult pregnancy and birth that I would get a break. And to some extent I am, for various reasons, better equipped to fight it than I ever have been before. But I fear it. Each time I feel tired, edgy, worried or strained, I worry. I feel myself slipping to that place. And Dan reminds me that if I do, I will come back. I wonder though, what if I don’t? Sometimes it is that fear pushing me closer to the edge.
Please understand that I am not here falling apart; in fact most days are quite hope-filled and good. But I am struggling at times. Struggling to take the steps to remain well and to make the choices that keep me out of dark place. Struggling to cling to hope and to turn from fear. EDIT: Since I wrote this last week, there have been some harder days. Much harder. Brought on by a simple cold that I just couldn’t fight.
Iit is really frustrating to me that PPD is almost like “colic” in babies in that it is a covers all label that is put on a myriad of possibilities. I personally have been told that medically, I do not have ‘depression’ and that mine is physical health related but when standard responses don’t help, I am left to figure it out on my own and to ‘get through it’. This time even though I am without the support system (my mom or close friends) that I could to turn to when I needed help, I may actually be in a better place than I have before because I have help in finding the physical health root.
Why am I sharing this? I’m not entirely sure. I don’t wish to be scrutinized at every turn (via blog posts) and I’ve no desire to cause worry. But I have no need for pretense; even if I don’t want this part in my story, it is here. So if you think of me, know that in that moment could be a time when I am struggling and know that the fight is more easily won when joined by others.
And finally, I know that this struggle isn’t limited just to this mama. This is my third time in the ring and it is wearying. But I am trusting that I will get through it. And while it may be a hard and lonely stretch of the journey that is painfully at odds with the joy of a new baby, please know that I don’t say this lightly. If you are going through it is as well, there is hope. I may not have any methods or suggestions to offer here at this point because I am floundering to wellness at best, but even in the midst, I really believe that there is hope.
Thanks for sharing honestly, Marissa. These are the posts I enjoy the most… and I was inspired to a little honesty myself today on my own blog. When do the dark days generally end? As in, how old is baby before you will be mostly free of it? Is there a pattern to it? I hope it’s ok to ask, I’m just curious. I’m also including you in my thoughts and prayers. I have no “answers”, just wanted to leave you a comment to say that I am hearing you and thinking of you, and would give you a hug and invite you over for tea if we were closer. Hope your day is hope-filled and beautiful, and if not then I hope you can walk towards the hope, knowing that it’s there and real.
I don’t mind you asking at all, I wouldn’t post on here if I weren’t willing to answer some questions:). With my last two babies, I didn’t really recover until they were eating solids (10 months with Aneliese and 14 with Cecily). I never really ‘recovered’ after Cecily because I didn’t really level out before we decided we wanted to have another baby. Because of things that I have done in my diet, it has been pretty good, great actually for the first six weeks. But, now the nutritional imbalances in my body are starting to kick in as Kathleen takes more. Basic good nutrition, which I really do have, just isn’t enough to keep me going. So, that is what I really need to work on and am, but it is challenging.Thanks for caring and for praying, that is mostly what I need right now.
I had moderate to severe PPD with Juils and Logs…than with my third is was termed”mild”PPD but I think it was more mild because I had already been in counselling for a few years and knew cognitive therapy and the warning signs. It still sucked. There is a stigma with it. Even as far as nutrition goes _ I disagree. It helps but I was on a strict no sugar- poking finger- pre diabetic diet with my daughter and after along with a healthy teenage body that bounced back and I was the WORST with her. I do think diet can help manage some symptoms but PPD goes beyond that too:)
I could tell you crazy stories about knives and stairs and severe paranoia. I never did anyone harm but I had those thoughts of “what if I did this” and than I would freak out. The dark thoughts were not symptom of my spiritual walk or anything like that- it was a genuine hormonal imbalance with deep rooted psychological differences that needed to be guided with a holistic approach of diet, therapy, art and music, education, support, and just getting through…I would have to say that even with all that- each person is different and it takes it’s own time. With my daughter it lasted through my pregnancy with my second and until he was two. Then I was pregnant with my third, fourth and fifth (that is my third son) and that was a rollar coaster. Basically, I am just surfacing now that my youngest is almost five. PPD can last until the kids are grown in some women if they do not get help. It affects the bonding, the attachment sometimes and frustration and other emotions. But all is not lost- therapy is the biggest hep to women who have been unknowingly in it for years.
I was judged a lot. I was also helped a lot. People fall on both sides of the coin:) I love that you stay true to you and talk about it here. On very old blog posts I have my thoughts on the subject and those writings got me through and also helped others on the same path.
I can share anything you want me to from that journey. I am completely open with it and not ashamed…just heartbroken that it affected so much yet honoured that I travelled through and can help others too….:)
Anyway, my prayers and thoughts are with you and if my journey can help I am more than happy to email you or find old posts and journals to empathize:)
When I start to try to understand things I tend to immerse myself in them completely (healthy, probably not 😉 I find this whole subject fascinating and devastating. I agree with you when you say PPD is like “colic”. My postpartum thyroiditis would have been diagnosed as PPD and so would so many different postpartum hormonal imbalances and physiological imbalances. They all result in a horrible fog and debilitating illness during a time that should be so precious.
I won’t go into crazy long rantings about what I’ve read and how it all relates to fatigue, paranoia, anxiety, sadness and psychosis because well, I still don’t really understand it all completely. But what I love about it all is that it makes perfect sense in regards to they way our bodies were created to respond to a perfect creation and how our imperfect world now affects us. And I love that there is hope to function as we were created to function if we search for it. Our bodies were so intricately and beautifully made.
I just wish that I could/would have know some of this stuff before this point but you are right it is very fascinating and hopeful.
Thanks Kmarie, for caring and offering yourself. I truly appreciate it.I know that this is one of those areas where many (myself included) have lots of opinions and judging, which is of course why we don’t talk about it and often don’t deal with it. Which is really sad.
So it is a blessing to know that there are those not judging.
On the nutrition, I don’t so much mean things like if I just eat some more veggies and meat and a little less sugar so I don’t want it to sound like that. I know that trivializes it. You are totally right, there is a hormonal imbalance. Just over the last couple of days I have been reading and talking with Lola about how in North America, women commonly have an excess in estrogen and not enough progesterone; long story short it leads to all kinds of chemical, mineral/metal imbalances that lead to….all kinds of mental, physical, emotional, and I would say spiritual issues (I believe they all go hand in hand). So I think that I personally need to get that aspect stabilized before I am going to really be able to really recover and thrive. And to do that naturally is a slow process that requires discipline that is hard to find right now.
I totally agree to that a holistic approach is so so important, but that is where it is hard because when one’s body is physically out of balance (whether due to genetics, diet, environment etc.), it is hard to take that walk for exercise, hard to work up the laugh or smile, music becomes torture rather than joy, it is hard to seek help, focus is gone….I could go on and on but you get the idea.
Anyways, I hope to share more thoughts over the coming days but we’ll see. I’m learning to make no promises and to keep my expectations low.
Thats a good idea:) Low expectations and zero promises are a must in any phase similar:)I do agree that nutrition has a strong part in easing symptoms and other things…I just know from experience that it does not always guarantee full health either:) I know for me- the holistic approach made me at least want to face another day:) But it never took it away until it was time.
Therapy helped a ton. A ton. Yes, I know what it is like. It is all too familiar..even now with depression and fibro- I know exactly what you mean…
I guess that is why I am cautious to say it is any one thing because then it would mean I asked for all this or made some unconscious decision through food or what not to be “this way” or that way…
I try my best when I can and I know you do too…that is why I do not want to say any one thing because it can not be helped if it is had..it can only be eased. I really hope you are eased soon and that eventually you will come out of the dark spots. Some days are better than others. You will see the sunny other side though…I know you will because I did eventually:)
I’m glad you have Lola- she helped me a lot with her nutrition wisdom too so it did help some areas greatly:) and she is understanding and non judgemental. I always appreciated that. I once had someone say to me, “You chose to have these kids- you should not be depressed.” Of course I cried and cried after that…some people do not get it but there are others who do. Sending you empathy on a warm spring breeze…Fresh starts are coming:) I often feel alone and often have to hide in my bed just to get through life…I guess that is why I understand even now that I do not have PPD anymore:) But the sunny days find a way to be:)
thanks for sharing this. man when i open up your blog i never know what you will teach me or inspire me by, but every day you do. thanks for letting me into this little part of your world I have no idea or personal experience with at all…but maybe someday i will be able to reference this again and know a little more of what it means to be a mama and all the aftermath that goes along with it. thanks again for your honest words. love you. eb
Oh Erin, you are so kind, thank you for your encouragement and love.
I love that Dan tells you that even if you go there, you will come back. I really can’t say anything better than that, but I love you and will pray for you through this time. Thank you for being honest. Know that the Lord is with you and will strengthen you and help you.
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Dan really is so good for me. And thank you for those words of life.
You my friend are amazing! I am honored to call you my friend and feel blessed by your honesty. Thank you for being you. I don’t have any inspiring words but just wanted to say a little something. Know that when I think of you guys and that is often, I send a little prayer your way.
Thank you sweet Diane. I miss you!
Oh so much to say and feel….I just love your heart; the honesty and openness and real story.
I’m only a few steps behind you, again, this time ’round. Looking forward to hearing and sharing more in the months ahead.
Hm, we’re two new-old mamas, back in the early days again with a lot of months ahead. Wow.
Love you 🙂
I have been thinking of you my friend…we have been close together each time hey?
[…] About a month ago, I talked about my struggles with PPD. It was really hard and after I wrote that, it got worse. But, I am glad to say that it got worse […]