This is what Postpartum looks like
If you have ever struggled with postpartum depression or anxiety you have lived through some of the darkest days. It is like being in a Michelin star restaurant and suddenly not being able to taste a thing. You know the most amazing food is before you and you can’t experience it. For me, postpartum depression and anxiety blocks me from being able to enjoy all that I have dreamed of for the majority of my life. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a mother and I dreamed about what that experience would be like for years before it happened. When I became a new mom the immediate reality was much darker than I had envisioned. There were uncontrollable tears, there was fear, there was anxiety and there was an internal darkness that I could not shake. I felt like the universe handed me what I had been praying for and then cast it with a darkness that blinded me from the joy I longed for.
Postpartum is one of those words that people whisper with concealed lips or say with shame and discomfort. Postpartum is casted as a woman in shambles, looked overtaken by the weight of parenting and coated with an air of misery and sadness. I am here to reveal that postpartum can look very different. For me postpartum looked envious. I showered every day, I did my hair and my makeup and picked out clothes that were far from comfortable but made me look good. My nails were painted fresh every two weeks. I shed the weight quickly and dressed my daughter in adorable outfits. I baked cookies, muffins and biscotti to bring with me to parenting classes. I wrote thank you cards and had a smile on my face when I was out in public. I made steak dinners, cleaned the house, made love to my husband and hosted events for friends and family. This is what postpartum looked like for me. On the inside I was empty of joy, I was terrified; terrified to let anything look out of place or less than perfect. I was terrified, I cried when I was alone, I hid from everyone I loved, but only on the inside. Externally I was there but I was a shell of myself because there was nothing inside me to show up. I laughed at jokes I hated, I smiled at people that made me angry. I allowed others to need me so that I didn’t have to show them how badly they were needed. I hid it from my husband, my mother, my friends and myself. I would scream when I was alone, praying for the pain to stop. I would look at pictures of my daughter and myself with darkness in my heart knowing that the smile on my face in the photo was not genuine. How had I prayed so long for this moment and how was it so void of joy? This is what postpartum looked like for me.
There is no magic bullet, there is no quick fix. You deserve to feel like you again. No, this is not normal, no you do not have to fight this alone, no you do not have to fall apart to feel broken inside.
What does postpartum look like to you?
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.