Eliminating the Unnecessary Family Parenting Pregnancy Self Improvement

Preparation is more than a crib and some diapers

This was me minutes after I had my first baby.

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I look so happy to be a first-time mom, right? I kept thinking “this has to be a dream, this is not really happen, oh dear what is going on to me in real life if my subconscious is in this much pain!”

A few days later, I looked like this:
Great Grandma, Grandma, Me and Ashlynn

Yes, I’m smiling, but behind those glossed-over, tired-looking eyes, I was wondering if I could go to the bathroom just so someone else could take the baby for a minute. Now, I’m sure they would have been happy to hold her. But I couldn’t even ask for help with that. Let alone the feelings or self-doubt and depression that were taking over my body.

And no one knew. My husband worked afternoons, we weren’t living near family, I wasn’t really going out at all. No one asked. No one knew. Until January, three months later, when I apparently started acting strangely. I wanted to move, right then and there. I wanted to be closer to our family. I wanted…..better. We put our house on the market in the very worst economy, found something else, albeit smaller, and things….did not get better. I mean, they did for a while, but ultimately not. I was still miserable. I tried changing jobs. I tried getting involved in different activities. My husband moved to a day shift job, but none of those things were the root of my search for….better.

Then I got pregnant again.

Throughout the pregnancy, I was hammered with feelings of cleanliness and preparation. I bleached our house every week. I’d clean every room, every day. It wasn’t perfect yet. Finally, around 20 weeks, my husband couldn’t take it anymore and came to a doctor appointment with me and told her about it.

Do you know how many woman suffer from depression and anxiety while they are pregnant? One in ten. Especially those with a history of depression, which I had.

A couple of weeks and some Lexapro later, I was feeling so much better. I was relaxed, I was enjoying my pregnancy and I was preparing for our baby once again. This time without a lot of bleach.

This was me right after the birth of our second child.

With Mama-just seconds old!
I was so surprised she was a girl!

A few days later, I looked like this:
Mama and her girls
I was so excited to go home!

And while the next few weeks were tough, I had meds. I had support. I had my husband home for some time with me. I felt better.

While the big OCD episode happened about 15 months later, it was still a much, much better pregnancy and delivery and recovery just owning up to the fact that something was wrong and knowing that there were people, medication and things I could do to help myself.

This time, I’ve been on my medication since before I got pregnant. I’ve gotten some eye rolls and sighs over it, but those people probably thing antenatal and postpartum depression can be handled with a good cry in the bathroom. There is a plan in place for afterward and how my meds and moods will be managed.

I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been. And we don’t even have the crib up yet.

I’m hoping that being so prepared and having a plan and having the experience of what is to come, I can really enjoy having our last baby and watching my little girls envelope their new baby sister and take her into their secret land of sisterhood. I realize the unexpected could come my way. I realize I might end up having my baby early or an emergency c-section or a baby so large she doesn’t fit into her sisters’ old clothes. I just want to be able to take it all in. I want to experience the new life, not worry about who can take care of this baby while I’m in the bathroom because I just need to hide away.

This birth will be mine.
Depression with not take over.
I will own and cherish whatever comes my way.
I will speak out about post-partum depression in the hopes that everyone else can experience the joy and happiness a baby brings.

I’m writing this for two reasons. One, I was inspired by the post “Postpartum Depression Advice – How to Deal With Baby Blues” by local PR pro Nikki Little. She wrote about her struggle after the birth of her twin boys a few months ago. Others posted their story and I assumed I would post mine, but that seemed to be taking longer than expected.

Then today, I read “And All The Way Back” by Canadian blogger Moi about her struggle with postpartum depression. It was from this post that I learned today, June 21, the longest day of the year, is being recognized as a time to think about and pray for those who are affected by a postpartum mood disorder. This effort, called “Climbing Out of Darkness” hopes to shed light on a very sensitive issue.

Want to learn more? Visit Postpartum Progress. If you are suffering from postpartum depression, PLEASE say something! And those on the listening end, read into it. HELP THEM, even if it’s just a hug.

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