With Maternal Health Week passing by last week, there have been a lot of stories, and stats and cartoons floating around the internet. And they hit me. Every time. Because they ARE me.
I have, and continue to, struggle with PPD/PPA. There are peaks and valleys. Good days and bad. But it has always been there. The feeling like I’m not enough for my son. The constant lack of energy that will never be fixed with a nap. The exhausting train ride through your mind checking times and diapers and feeding and naps, and you can’t seem to get off the ride. Your mind is constantly full but you also can’t manage to piece a thought together. The idea of a shower is too much because you’re tired, but sleep doesn’t come easy. The feeling that you’re walking through quicksand and you don’t see the light at the end of the sleep deprived tunnel. The crying. The anger. The questioning. The shame you feel for having any negative feelings at all.
"Your mind is constantly full but you also can't manage to piece a thought together."
Listen to me. And listen hard. It’s all real. Your feelings are valid. Parenting is no joke and it’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re lacking a support system that understands what you’re going though. You always see the Instagram feed of people’s lives, but rarely does anybody talk about the hard stuff. But it’s there. For every family. Just because I am a Postpartum Doula, or have a background in child development means nothing. I was not immune to what can happen when you become a new parent. The hard stuff is heavy and thick and at times makes you feel like you can’t breathe. And it’s there for everyone at one time or another.
But there is support. There are people who understand. There are people who will help you carry that load and show you that light. The first step is the hardest step into finding help, but it’s the most important. Ask.
It took a breakdown over something seemingly small for me to finally check in with myself and realized that I needed to get back into therapy. I didn’t have the energy to fake being happy for one more minute. The thought of having people come to the house was debilitating. I didn’t have the energy to muster through a fake conversation or say “things are great!” one more time. So I did it. I talked with my midwife about what was going on, she referred me to a therapist and I booked an appointment.
The therapist is lovely and validating and empathizes with me. And sometimes that’s all it takes. Someone to stand right beside you, hold your hand and say “I know it’s dark and I know this seems like a lot. But we can do this. You can do this!” She reminds me of the good job I am doing. She reminds me how much I do love my son, and even though the days can be long, there is always another one right around the corner. And I cry. A lot. Every appointment. But it feels good. It feels like I don’t need to hold on to it anymore. It feels like what I’m letting out are all of the lies that I tell myself daily about what I’m doing wrong. So I can walk out of her office feeling that much better. For myself and for my family.
"She reminds me how much I do love my son, and even though the days can be long, there is always another one right around the corner."
So please. Use this time and this week to check in with yourself. Use this story as a reminder that you don’t need to struggle alone. There are people willing to walk your path with you and help you see that light.
Use these resources as a guide.
And please reach out to us for any questions or help. We are passionate about making real positive change for families ♥️