Six months or so after Ava was born, Bruce was let go from our biggest money source. There we were with 6-month-old Ava. I was on maternity leave with no clear direction of where I wanted to go. I hated everything that was pleasant, I hated every person that smiled at me. Most smiled that condescending smile assuming I was a teen mom, I was 25!
It felt like I had a sign on my back saying “pity me!” and that’s how people looked at me all the time. I had a beautiful baby who just wanted to be held. She needed me, she loved me endlessly and yet I felt the weight of the world. She felt like the weight of the world! I couldn’t breathe, I was sinking, and nothing Bruce could do was good enough!
Not being able to figure out why I hated myself, my life, and my situation was bad enough! Furthermore, every time I turned on the TV or talked with friends, I had to hear them tell me things like “being a mommy is so rewarding” and “I don’t know what I did with my life before I had a baby.” I didn’t feel this way!
Before I had a baby. I slept, I didn’t hate myself, I didn’t feel like running away. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted to, no one judged me for not eating veggies. Before I had a baby, I felt like my own person.
I watched TV a lot of TVs and I felt bad for doing so cause I should be counting or singing the ABC’s or maybe I should take little Ava outside. Nothing I did was good enough! Well, you know what that TV did for me? It talked to me every day about depression, every day it told me that these were symptoms of depression and that it was okay to have depression! But was it actually ok to have depression? With everything positive happening in my life, how on earth was it OK to be depressed?
The first time it truly sank in that I was experiencing depression was monumental. That weight had been lifted! I could breathe again, I could stand up. I wasn’t crawling anymore. I wasn’t ashamed. I had a beautiful baby. I told Bruce, and it looked like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders too. Suddenly he stood much taller and less fearful, our crumbling world made sense!
I had made an appointment with my Doctor right away and we had a talk about how I was feeling. How I couldn’t leave her with anyone without wanting to vomit, that the easiest things would set me off in a fury. I couldn’t imagine having Ava in my life, yet every day it was a chore to get out of bed.
Every day was like climbing a damn mountain! As soon as you got to the top of that mountain you were sad or mad because it took you so long to get there!
Hearing her say: “That’s postpartum depression! It’s OK!” brought tears to my eyes. I knew this wasn’t forever, that it would get better! Eventually, I would stop feeling terrible!
Very shortly after appointments were made, I met with a very nice lady, who listened to me. She talked with me, asked me questions, gave me perspective on a few things that had been sitting heavily on my heart and reassured me that eventually, I would stop feeling this way! That thought alone gave me so much hope for a better day! I had felt like I had a rock tied to my feet, I was being tossed in the water!
With much relief, antidepressants were prescribed. I went home with hope for a better tomorrow! It took a while for things to work its way through my system, but every day felt a bit better! I continued to see that nice lady at BC Women’s until eventually, I didn’t need that prescription anymore! Looking back at that time in my life and the only thing I regret is living that way for as long as I did, which wasn’t long but it was more than long enough. I would never want either one of my girls to feel that way for even one moment!
I feel that by having lived PPD once, I gained my own armor of strength! It helped protect me from luckily not experiencing it a second time with my little Zoe. I talked a lot with great friends and almost anyone that would listen. However, for me by being honest about my experience and voicing those concerns meant that there would be no way for depression to take on a life of its own. I took back all my power because it’s just that MY power.
For those of you, that might be experiencing PPD or thinking that you might have it! Do not be ashamed! It’s normal! Asking for help might seem like you are climbing a mountain, but I assure you, you’ll get there! It’s not easy but you WILL feel better! These are just a few of my favourite resources! There is help out there! You just have to reach out your hand! Please comment below or email me anytime at avatozoeblog (at) gmail.com if you want to know more or even if you just need someone to listen!