Postpartum Depression Check-in

by - February 07, 2011

In a mere six months I’ve gone from being a self-proclaimed hermit to having a burgeoning social life, thanks to treatment for postpartum depression and this new community group through my church. In some ways, I’m not sure I recognize myself, except during the moments after an intense gathering (like last night’s Super Bowl party) where I wonder if it just might come crashing down around me.

Everything seems to be escalating right now – Wookie's mobility, Scooby's energy level, business during the week, my girl time, and even physical activity. Even sleep, though it is still come and go, seems to be easier to come by. Where I am struggling is in attention span – the ability to focus on work, motivation to write, keeping the house clean. I feel simultaneous urges to slow down and pick up pace. I need to relax a little more yet be more intentional with the boys.

I take that back, I relax just fine. The reason I can’t focus on tasks is because my day is split up into short hours. An hour to feed, an hour to run an errand, an hour to try and do stuff on the computer while also keeping an eye on Wookie, an hour to fuss at Scooby and get him to eat, an hour to unwind before Wookie wakes up from his nap and so on. There is no larger block of time where I can gather my senses, build up steam on work and actually get something done without having a baby yelling at me.

I was pondering last night how if I have the easiest baby in the world and managed to get postpartum depression, then any woman could fall prey to it. It’s not that unusual and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I was explaining to my cousin and her new husband that when your entire job as a new mom is to get your kid to eat and sleep and keep them clean, and you can’t even get them to eat or they don’t sleep well, and you yourself aren’t sleeping, it can be catastrophic to your emotional state.

As a follower of Jesus, I know where my identity lies, and it isn’t in getting my kids to eat and sleep well, but my performance at these tasks is still really important. I know that he alone sustains life and can give me the peace and rest I need, but it doesn’t change the fact that these kids can DRIVE ME NUTS. No one ever told me that my children’s faces and voices in all their daily expressions could stir up such a mix of emotions in me. I am exhausted and distracted desperate for a vacation, and each time my kids are sleeping I gaze at pictures of them on my iPhone.

But back to the social life. I’m not sure what I would do if I were not surrounded by such amazing friends. I don’t just mean the families in my community group either. There is an amazing network of family and friends and people who care, and it breaks my heart that there are so many new moms out there who go through this alone. Moms need friends who will spend time reminding them they are more than butt-wiper extraordinaire. I have that and feel incredibly blessed. It’s because of these people that I know that if it does in fact all come crashing down around me, they will be there to help be pick up the pieces.

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4 comments

  1. That's awesome that you have so much great community. It's been such a gift from God to have the people in my life as I enter in this new chapter of life.

    I'm finding great meaning in that quote that says "it takes a village to raise a child."

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  2. Yes! It really does take a village :)

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  3. I think I have PPD as well. But I am the only one of my friends with a child, so when I was going through the worst of it, I was basically alone and had no one to talk to about the mixed emotions I was going through. Much as I love Thad, he just didn't "get it." I'm glad you have such a strong community to help you through this. Now that I've moved back to Chattanooga and have family around to give me support (and a new job so that I can talk to people older than 15 months old), things are going a little better.

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  4. If you think you have it, then you probably do. Looking back, I think I had it with Daniel as well and it was really rough. I didn't have the same community I do now and was going through some other stuff as well, and I'd never felt so alone and unprepared. It sounds like Chattanooga was a good move for you!

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