THE AMELIA EFFECT
A Styled Goose Chase
I'm about to say an outrageous statement. One you may disagree with, but hear me out. I am proud of our society as it is today. Woah! You might be thinking "why would you be proud of such a corrupt being?" Well, don't get me wrong, society has a very long way to be anywhere close to being decent. But, I am so proud of society (aka fellow mamas) and how mental illness is starting to come to the surface. People are starting to share their stories and I am happy it's becoming the normal thing that it really is. Yes, people will still judge you. We just have to get over that because the world is starting to realize how important talking about mental illness is. So today, I am sharing my experience with postpartum depression not only to hopefully help others but to help myself.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is such a terrifying, messy thing. I'm positive most people do not truly understand (especially those suffering from it) and yet 1 in 5 women have it. That right there is TOO many women that feel alone because of the lack of information presented. Now, I am sharing my story because I want another mama out there to read this and take a breath knowing she has someone fighting with her. So if you must judge me based on what I am sharing, please do not write it in the comments. I guarantee you that if you're thinking I'm a terrible mother or how could I feel this way, those thoughts are already constant in my mind and I don't need others agreeing with my demons. Plus, you could be putting another mama reading this in danger of herself as she may relate to my story. Thank you in advance.
I have been in a rut for about a week now which you may or may not have noticed. I have been MIA from social media and my phone in general. I've had this post sitting open on my computer for days now as I wasn't quite ready to share my messy life and terrifying demons. But, here I am writing down what I don't want to see as a mother to the most beautiful human.
Hi, I'm Rachel. I suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, and most likely OCD. I have really bad days (sometimes weeks) and also really great days. I have constant thoughts racing through my head. "I'm a terrible mother." "I'm not supposed to be a mother." "I hate being a mother." The list goes on... I have moments that I don't want to be in my home any longer. Please, someone, take me somewhere else just for an hour or two. I need a break from this life and sometimes it's hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. But, then when I leave the house anxiety comes knocking on the door. I've been having visions throughout the day and nightmares when I sleep. They all consist of the same thing where someone is kidnapping my baby, she's dying, or I'm dying and can't be with her any longer. It's like I'm outside of this world looking in watching all of this happen and there's nothing I can do to protect her. I find myself waking up with tears streaming down my face because the nightmares are so real. I'll sit next to her while she's sleeping and watch to make sure she's okay. I also tend not to let people touch her or let her leave my sight so no one can take her from me. These thoughts and nightmares are crippling and will take all my energy. I lose interest in most things and just want to stay under the covers. Most days I feel incredibly isolated. I feel like no one understands. I have incredible friends who are so supporting and loving, but they don't have babies themselves so it's hard for them to relate. I'm constantly seeing posts on social media telling me I'm not alone. But, you know what? I feel so alone most days. These are just my bad days. I do have great days, amazing days. After those days happen, mom guilt hits hard. When I have my good days, I think to myself "How could I ever have a bad day with a daughter like this?" "She's amazing, I'm terrible." And the vicious circle starts all over again and I return to staying under the covers. Thank you PPD for being a joy sucker. You can leave any day now...
Motherhood is hard. So hard. When you break it down, motherhood seems so easy. You change a few diapers, feed every few hours, and give a lot of love. What's so hard about that? But, motherhood is the most difficult job anyone could have. The job never stops. You love this little human with all your heart so you want to, need to be perfect for them. It's exhausting. Then when you add hormones to the mix things get crazy more difficult. Mamas, I'm here to tell you to give yourself a break. Stop being so hard on yourself. Trust those social media posts that say you're not alone because truly you are not. I bet you there is at least one person you know that will be there for you 1000%. Give them a call.
If you're not sure if you have PPD, check out the American Pregnancy Association. They break down the different types of postpartum mental illness. Please, if you feel like you have PPD, call your doctor to discuss options. For my Washington mamas, Swedish has incredible postpartum services including therapy. Don't be afraid to talk to someone about how your feeling. Most women go through the same thing. Getting help is so important for the health of you and your family.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) now! They are available 24/7 and WANT to help you. Your baby needs you, this world needs you. Please don't let your demons win. We can get through this together.