It’s 2:12 a.m. and I’m rocking my six-month-old to sleep after she woke from some painful teething. I could put her down now that she’s sufficiently drowsy, but I don’t want to at this moment. There have been days when I’ve had to leave her in her crib as she cried while I walked out of her nursery, closed the door and crumpled into a mess of tears and exhaustion. But, tonight is different.
Tonight, I silently celebrated that I have more good days than bad days. Tonight, I held my daughter and thanked God for getting me through the first six months as a mom.
Tonight, I remembered to take a pill that (along with grace) has saved me and our journey into this challenging and beautiful life together. Tonight, we currently sit at the intersection of blissful motherhood and draining postpartum anxiety.
The Postpartum War
After experiencing three losses, I thought motherhood was going to be a pure joy. Yes, I knew there would be sleepless nights and maybe some baby blues. Yes, I knew that I wouldn’t have all the answers, but I would figure it out, right?
What I didn’t know was that I would have to battle anxiety and a bit of depression. Well, it’s more of a war. It’s a war that I’m still fighting, and some days I win a battle. It’s a war where I sometimes wave my white flag and need to let my husband take the lead after he’s worked a full ten hour day, while I stay on the couch and watch him care for her and then make dinner. It’s a war where sometimes I stand victorious on a pile of well-folded laundry while wearing a full-face of makeup and a real smile. It’s a war that I’ve been fortunate enough to have an army of friends and family to stand by my side.
Mental health is a topic that we far too often don’t discuss enough as a society. I sometimes think that people see it as a weakness rather than a “just is” and that’s what makes so few of us seek help when we truly need it. We face our struggles alone, and we tell ourselves that we can overcome it alone. We silently suffer and agonize in a delirious pain that robs us of happy moments with our families and strips us of who we once were before allowing a tiny person to come into our lives. We lie to ourselves that everything is okay when it really isn’t, and we not only do damage to ourselves, but also to our families. We forego help when it’s a true necessity.
2018: The Year of Worth
So, this month, I’m asking you (actually I’m pleading with you) to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you need help. Whether you’re a first-time-mom, or your youngest is in 5th grade, can you take a moment for yourself and make sure that you’re not suffering in silence? You need to know that you are worth more than what you may think are your weaknesses as a mom, and you are more beautiful than your three day old hair and dark circles under your eyes tell you each time you look in the mirror.
You are worthy of self-care.
You are worthy of a full night’s sleep.
You are worthy of a moment of clarity.
You are worthy of love.
You, my sister, are so important to your family and if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, I need you to know that you can seek help and it will not make you any less of a mom. It will not make you any less of a woman. It will make you stronger than ever before.
Allow 2018 to be the year that you can say and believe, “It will all be okay.”