So... I came across this in my drafts and decided to share. It's a little different from my usual postings.
I wrote this a night when I was at an all time low. Baby girl was around 5 or 6 months old, going through a sleep regression and I had just returned to work. Although I was still on rotation, I had to work from home a lot and it was taking a toll on me. On top of lacking sleep while adjusting to this new mom life, I also had to re-acquaint myself with my work life again. I remember this moment when I just felt like I needed to write how I was feeling. I needed to get it out. This is what postpartum depression mostly felt like to me... and sometimes still does.
Today, I don’t feel like myself. I’ve been basically going through with the motions of everything.
Mom mode: Feed. Change diaper. Rock to sleep. Oop! I have work to do!
Work mode: Reply to this email. Proofread this document. Draft budget. Plan content. Meet deadlines.
Shit! She’s up! Back to Mom mode: Feed. Play. Read. Feed. Change diaper. Rock to sleep. Now, it’s not like I don’t have help. I have my husband, my mom, my dad, my brother... but for some reason, I can’t pull myself to ask for help. My husband notices that something is not right as soon as he walks though the door and takes baby girl off my hands to play but before I take that time to relax and catch myself, what do I do? Back to work! Put clothes to wash, take clothes out the dryer, fold and pack them away.
I’m slowly driving myself into the ground and of course I notice, but do I do anything about it? Nope! I’m superwoman. I can achieve everything and complete all tasks.
It’s now 9:00pm. Have I showered for the day? Nope! I’m wearing the same house dress I went to sleep in yesterday. When last have I eaten? I have no idea. Hubby tries to get me to eat but I insist I should shower first, not because I stink (even though I really do - I smell like sweat, breastmilk and spit up combined) but because baby girl might wake up and I should at least get my bath in. I could always eat while feeding her. This is not the PPD that everyone talks about. People usually talk about the slump, the disconnectedness and sadness you feel about everything. They don’t talk about the selflessness. They don’t talk about distracting yourself from how you feel with everything else going on in your life. They don’t talk about putting yourself on autopilot so you can avoid talking about how you feel.
But it happens... and you have to recognize it as well. Of course you don’t want to say “I have postpartum depression”. No woman wants to. You believe you can fight through it... but sometimes you can’t... and that’s ok. It’s ok to not be superwoman. It’s ok to be just a woman sometimes and it’s ok to ask for help.
Every time I read this over, I relive how I felt in the moment. I had literally just finished showering in baby girl's bathroom and I sat on her bed in the wet towel with tears streaming down my face. I couldn't vocalize how I was feeling so I wrote it in a note on my phone. When I finished writing it though, I went to Leroy and told him everything; how I felt, why I didn't speak about it before, etc. Thing is, he knew something was wrong but knowing his wife, chose not to ask about it and instead kept a close eye on me, because he didn't want to push me - he knew I would've eventually come to him (which was the right move).
I've been back and forth on whether I should share this part of myself, solely because it's an intimate part of my motherhood journey but... I mean, I've been very vocal on all other aspects of motherhood so why the hell not?! I chose to share this because I know there are mothers out there who feel the exact same way. As a first time mom, you want to experience and do everything all while draining yourself in the process. We always hear the African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child"; it also takes a village to support that child's parent. Use your village! Remember that it takes approximately 2 years for a mother to properly heal after having a baby. Don't be like me and wait till your tank is running on fumes to then ask for help - it's really not healthy. To this day, I still catch myself pushing my mind and body to limits I shouldn't... and I will admit, it is easy to put yourself on autopilot and do everything, but even superheroes ask for help sometimes... I mean... there are even teams of them (Avengers, Justice League, etc) *shrugs* so who the hell am I to feel I can do it by myself huh?!