Hello everyone and welcome back for another post for #DEMentalHealthMondays!
For today’s topic, we are discussing Postpartum Depression.
As you all may already know if you’re subscribed to my blog or have been following my post for some time, I don’t speak on anything pertaining to mental health unless it is something that I have directly and personally been affected by and let me tell you, this is one that has been the toughest to navigate through. Of course, I have had my fair share of your traditional depression, even went through prepartum depression which I thought would sort of help me with what to expect for postpartum but it didn’t.
Postpartum Depression – depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
I originally wanted to do this post last year, but to be honest I was just too depressed to do so. It has taken me a year to get back to feeling like myself again mentally after giving birth for the first time in my life which was surprising for me. I thought I would just bounce and snapback instantly like all these women and girls online glorify but that wasn’t a realistic view to have as as new mother. Especially being a new mother during a new global health pandemic. I want you to know if you’re reading this that being a new mom suffering from postpartum depression does not automatically mean you are going to harm your child or that you are prone to hurting yourself. Most people place this stigma on this topic and that’s why many women suffer in silence from it which is wrong. Most women who go through this after childbirth never have those type of thoughts at all so don’t think on that level here. Just like traditional depression, there are levels to this sort of thing and everyone’s level is not extreme.
Let’s just break down what all I went I through and then we will get into the solutions that I took to get through it the best that I could.
- Constant Crying
- I’m not sure what it was but I always found myself crying. I would constantly think about mainly all the things that I missed out on during the pandemic that I had planned for my baby to create some memories beforehand for her and that would trigger the tears every time. The two main things that I didn’t get to do were my maternity shoot for her baby book so she could have pictures of her mom pregnant with her. I never had any pictures of my mom pregnant with me so I wanted that for her but I wasn’t able to make that happen due to social distancing and other covid-19 restrictions. By the time I wanted to book the shoot, everything was shutting down and we weren’t permitted to be around people on a regular basis. Second thing, would be her babyshower. Every woman wants a traditional baby shower for her child, especially her first child., where you can set up a beautiful venue and invite friends and family to celebrate your child’s arrival into the world. I never got to do a physical one which I really, really wanted. I really needed to be around my family during that time and again we weren’t permitted to being around people due to social distancing and event cancellations so that meant we weren’t permitted to having events. I found myself thinking about those things the most and the emotions would always get the best of me everytime. I could be just washing dishes and just start crying.
- Body Shaming
- I was body shamed a lot. A whole lot. So much to the point where I won’t ever allow anyone to do my own daughter that way when the time comes for her to begin her own family in the future if I can control it. I gained weight of course as any pregnant mother does and will, and there are a couple people who made me feel terrible about it during my pregnancy and afterwards. This hit my self-esteem hard. Made me feel like I was supposed to not eat at all while carrying. Made me feel low as a woman and as a woman pregnant for the first time in her life. I hated it so much that I stopped leaving the house unless it was for a doctor’s appointment. Didn’t even want to leave for food, would just have it delivered. I just wanted to be isolated and left alone since I was made to feel like I was being looked down upon.
- Financial Worries
- I found myself worrying about finances a lot more. Of course this is natural for any parent, especially a new one. But now that I was a single mother, for me it personally began to get worse and worse. I had so many plans and so many things set out and of course we all want the best for our children always. But I found myself always worrying about it. The worry became such a problem that I started to physically cause harm to myself postpartum when it came to allowing my body to heal in the time frame it was supposed to. I tried to speed up the process. I wanted to get back out there and work those typical plant positions to provide for me and my kid and my body literally told me that I couldn’t do that at all at the moment. I was rushing the recovery process for a dollar bill.
- Time Management
- One thing that became an issue for me postpartum that many don’t really talk about from what I’ve researched and have learned from speaking with other mothers, is time management. I kept feeling like I was running out of time all the time. Like I would never have enough time to get everything together for my kid. Like I would never have time for myself ever again. I just felt out of time, like my own personal life and goals were over completely.
- Lack of Sleep
- Listen. When I first had my kid, I literally got no sleep. I felt soooo burnt out. I believe this was the absolute main factor of my postpartum depression. This was the start of me always feeling completely down and out. I would try the whole concept of sleeping when the baby sleeps but of course I would have other stuff that needed to be done while my child slept and that was the only free time I had to do it. You add in the fact that I am a single mother and you realize there is no one else there to help with certain things like getting laundry done so I’ll have clothes to wear for example. Or washing my kid’s bottles so when she wakes up she can have something to eat. It was the little things I would need to get done while my kid slept that kept me up even longer. I got lucky with my child’s sleeping schedule at night because she literally slept entire nights at a time with no issues but I was still up at night a lot just thinking about what I needed to get done, the financial worries and the constant crying.
To get through my constant crying moments, I literally allowed myself to feel those feelings and get it out of my system and then move forward with whatever activities I would be doing at the time. I didn’t try to hold anything in. I didn’t stop my entire day because of a crying moment. I allowed myself to have feelings and get those emotions out and then went back to my everyday life. The more I done this, the less those crying moments came about to the point where I don’t have them anymore. I made sure I didn’t cry in front of my child, ever. If I had to, I would step into another room and allow that moment and then bounce right back to my kid immediately with a smile on my face. I didn’t want her to see me hurting no matter how young she was. Your kid feeds off of your emotions and state of mind but you’re also allowed to be a human and have feelings too is what I believe in.
To get through the body shaming, I literally refused to be around the people who would make a big deal about my weight. Before I found out I was pregnant, I was way underweight from where I needed to be for my age and height. I was actually happy about gaining weight finally and felt better about my body change. I had to get to a point where I was not moved by the opinions of other people who weren’t in shape at all for themselves and realize this was just hate talk on their end. I had to realize that I had not done anything wrong by gaining weight, that’s what you’re supposed to do when you are carrying a child to provide nutrients to that unborn child. I had to literally shut out the noise that was coming towards me and just focus on me and my kid. Don’t get me wrong there are some areas of my body I would like to tone, but I have no desire to lose any significant amounts of weight. I began to workout again and more once my body was healed enough to do so and used exercise time as a way to mainly release anger and frustrations for the negative talk about my weight, not as a way to shed pounds to fit their view of me.
To get through my financial worries, I buckled down on my entrepreneurship endeavors heavy. As we all know and are experiencing right now, the job market is a whole lot different from what it was before this global health pandemic hit so for me heading back to work after giving birth, I had to re-strategize my plans for money all together and pivot. I had to cut costs as much as I could. I had to BUDGET a whole lot in order to make sure my kid had what she needed along with making sure I created great memories with her that she could cherish in the future, you know the fun stuff that costs money. I began selling more products that I had already planned to begin selling later on with my business. I went back through my sketchbook and found other things I had planned for my business and just got to work. Now, a year later, my business is on a steady and consistent up flow completely. I began that stage of treating my business like it was my traditional 9-5 job position and it works for me and my kid, great solution overall.
To get through my mindset problems with time management, I did just that, I managed my time. I literally went out and bought a dry erase board with a bulletin board on it and began to manage my days out of what I needed to get done and what was to come in the following days. I haven’t gotten to the point of managing every hour of everyday down yet but I feel it will come soon as my kid gets older though. This helped me so much with that overbearing feeling of not having enough time to do anything. It enabled me to actually get stuff done instead of just feeling busy all the time. I began to realize, mentally, that my own personal time is still there. I just had to manage it better. I can still have fun in life and actually have a life outside of being a mother when I need to. I just have to manage all my time effectively enough to where I can do that. A year later, I have schedules in place. I have daily and weekly routines in places and it is balancing everything out perfectly for me and my little one.
The sleeping issue got better with time. Honestly, there was nothing I could do to fix that problem, I just rolled with it. There were multiple nights where I just didn’t sleep. Then it got to a point where I would take consistent naps. That helped a lot. That’s where the routine of time management began and it worked out great. Now a year later, I’m getting the sleep I need to get things done and keep up with my little one.
Refusal of Medication
My solutions worked for me.
What worked for me may not work for another woman, then again it may. Just depends on the person.
One thing that I was not going for was medicating my problem. I’m big on medication being a last resort for anything I feel like I can find another option of a solution for. At the time, I was breastfeeding so I didn’t want any medication in my child’s system at all. At the time, I myself didn’t have any medications in my system so I wanted to keep my own system as clear and clean as possible as well. I felt like medicating my problem would’ve been masking a problem instead of finding a solution to the initial issue in the first place. I never reached out to a doctor, I just done my own research and analyzed my own behavior and went from there. It never got so bad to where I needed consistent counseling for it. I really just looked within and went from there and since then things have been so much better. I’m not saying this is the proper or correct way to go about it. I’m not giving medical advice here. I’m just speaking on my experience in hopes that it will shed light for another first time, single mother who may be going through the same things that I went through myself.
What I would recommend that any aspiring mother or soon to be mom is to have realistic expectations about being a mom for the first time whether you’re a single mother, in a relationship or married. Be prepared for things to come up that may ruin priceless plans and moments that you may have prepared already. Be ready for if your birth plan doesn’t go as planned. Have you a solid support group all together. My support system is the best right now. They help me when I need it and even when I don’t need it. No matter how independent you think you are. No matter how long you’ve been in your relationship or marriage. You need solid people around you when you have given birth. Get as much rest as you can, but do know you will be tired during the first couple weeks after giving birth, especially if this is your first time having a child. Make sure you’re eating good. Not junk food and fattening foods. Make sure you’re eating healthy and as clean as possible, and DRINK YOUR WATER!
Disclaimer: All pregnancies are not the same and everyone doesn’t go through the same things. My pregnancy experience is not the same as anyone else’s. The views and statements made through #DEArtMom blog segment of Delux Designs (DE), LLC does not reflect the experiences and views of other women whom are or have been pregnant before. The statements and posts of this blog segment are not a reflection of any licensed physicians or doctors and should not be attempted or duplicated by anyone that is currently pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Always consult with your own physician or doctor before taking any medications or trying any pregnancy practices found online. Affiliate links have been included in this post in which Delux Designs (DE), LLC receives a commission if you purchase through them.
Suicide Hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)