I recently read a truly heartbreaking story about a new mom who was silently and secretly struggling with postpartum depression. It got so bad that when her baby was only 4.5 months old, she took her own life. Click Here
This blog post is the first time I am opening up on social media about my own personal postpartum mental health struggles. Postpartum depression and women's mental health struggles, especially after pregnancy, definitely need to be talked about. I hope opening up about my own experiences will show that these struggles are real and more common than people think.
I pray if you are dealing with something big and "don't feel like yourself", "just feel kind of sad" (and you don't know why), "don't want to get out of bed and unmotivated", "don't enjoy the things you use to", "just want to be alone" (and normally you are so social), that you please seek help. Don't struggle alone! There are a lot of ways to start feeling like yourself again.
I had postpartum mental health issues and luckily sought treatment right away. My symptoms and condition were acute and very, very bad within days of giving birth. The pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep put me into a tailspin. Within a couple days after giving birth, I checked myself into a mental health hospital- the first time. We spent the next year trying to get me healthy and back on track. It took a lot of time for my recovery. I really wasn't back to myself until after our son was a year old.
I still feel like I missed out so much being in and out of the mental health hospitals that first year of James' life. I still have mom guilt about the whole thing. It came down to this: The best thing I could do for my son was to take care of myself first. My husband Kyle fought like hell to keep everything together on the home front. We moved into my in-laws home for 3 months so they could help us out with James, while I was recovering. We had so many friends that showed up for us in our time of need. To you all, we're forever grateful. All glory to God and I hope He uses these trials and experiences for good.
I have been told by my Dr. that I am pretty much at 100% probability I would have to go through it all over again if I carried another child. After years of thinking and praying, we have decided the risks are too high and we will not have another biological child. We are incredibly grateful that we are lucky enough to have ONE healthy, beautiful son. I know so many women struggle with infertility, which is an entirely different conversation of trials and heartbreaks.
I do wish people wouldn't keep telling me we should have another kid, "You need two!!" I know they mean well but I just want to say emphatically, "Mind your own business!" It's hard enough explaining this to my son. "I wish I could have another baby and give you a brother or sister, but I can't. I got very sick and I had to go to the hospital multiple times." That's a conversation I don't like having with him. (Yes, adoption would potentially on the table, but we are not there yet.)
But most importantly, I wish and pray that we, as a culture, could be more open with and accepting towards people struggling with mental health issues. I wish women wouldn't feel ashamed to ask for help and not struggle on their own. I wish people would seek out a friend, a counselor/therapist, and a psychiatrist if necessary. I think if we talked about it more, women wouldn't feel so alone. We all struggle!! We shouldn't struggle alone though. We need to support each other and new moms especially.
Sometimes we are not okay and we need to ask for help.
I am so glad I did...