I remember feeling totally defeated in my ppd support group looking around the room at moms whose babies were 1 year+ and mine was only a few weeks. I could not imagine feeling the way I was feeling for another week, let alone a year. I really didn’t think it was possible to survive that. And when other women reach out to me with their own ppd struggle I want so badly to be able to say to them “oh your baby is 6 months?! Great, this will all be over in a week and a half!”
I know that every person is different and there’s no time stamp on these awful feelings that will tell you how long they’ll last. I don’t even have a great gage on my own ppd time table because I had that bonus ectopic pregnancy in May, so my hormones took even longer to regulate. Lucky me.
But even with that pregnancy and loss, things did just get easier and easier every month. Babies are shape shifters that become new beings every few weeks and they get more fun and a little easier each time.
I can say that since around 16 months pp I’ve really felt like myself again! Granted I’m still on antidepressants, but truthfully I probably should have been on them before I even had my baby. I know for a fact for myself I couldn’t have made it without the meds. They quite literally saved me. A lot of the women I talk to have a hard time I think with the stigma of antidepressants. I get a lot of “I’m really trying to do this without meds” and I always have to ask, why?
Unless you have a medical reason that you can’t take them, GET THE DRUGS. You may have to play around for a little to get the right one and the correct dosage for you, but when you find it, it can help you in a way that no positive mental attitude, nap, cry session or any of that can. Sorry to be the drug pusher in your blog feed, but if you’re dealing with ppd and have the option to go on antidepressants, then BABY, GET LIFTED, ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT!
I feel like the anxiety that comes with ppd lies to us and tells us we’re doing everything wrong and at the same time tells us we have to be perfect and the declining of meds is the spawn of that. It’s hard to accept help of any kind without feeling like a loser. Ain’t that just the fucker of it all? Postpartum Depression is a cunning liar on top of everything else.
But now that the fog has lifted, the intense love I feel for River is blissful instead of terrifying like it once was. I kept wondering what was wrong with me that I wasn’t on cloud 9 like every other mother? I just needed time, and that’s just who I am I guess. I’ve never been a “love at first sight” swept up, lose myself individual. I’ve always needed time to get to know someone and really explore my feelings and take my time with each precious step, and having a baby didn’t change that about me.
I’m glad I didn’t skip over any of the shitty feelings because the contrast makes my happiness that much sweeter. The pain is what grounded me and getting over it makes me feel more prepared for the ups and downs motherhood will throw at me. You’ll get there, too.