For anyone who has spent 3.25 seconds talking to me, you know I can barely eke out a sentence without mentioning my children. Sydney and Eli are the air I breathe. But it wasn’t always that way.
On Tuesday, I shared a story with the moms in Ready Set Sleep that I’d never shared before, for no other reason than wanting to put it far behind me and never look back at the dark times I experienced right after my babies were born.
11 years ago, with Sydney, I didn’t leave the house. Ever. I was terrified to go out with her. When I’d trek across town to my mommy and me group, once a week, it felt like a trip to Mars. At 2am I’d sit up, feeding her, plotting my divorce from Robbie because how dare he not be able to nurse her too!
Crazy, irrational thinking, I know. It wasn’t until she was over a year old that I started noticing all these moms at the mall with their newborns and was like, that was NEVER me. Was that feeling I had after Syd was born postpartum depression? Meh, it was probably just baby blues…
9 years ago Eli was born. And I disliked him very much. Even now I can’t bring myself to say the H word because it’s so shameful. Even now as I blink the tears back I can’t imagine feeling that way about him. But I did.
He didn’t sleep, he wouldn’t take a bottle. Exhausted and angry, I would let him cry until Robbie asked me if I was going to get him in the middle of the night. I pretty much never wanted to hold him. My dad, bless him, would come to Los Angeles 1-3 times a week to try to get Eli to take a bottle while I left the house (and I seriously considered never coming back).
That, my friends, was postpartum depression.
But even then I didn’t know it! I honestly didn’t know it until I could think clearly and look back at that time through a new lens almost a year later. I sure wish someone would have noticed for me, but I think we’re all so quick to just say ‘baby blues’ and move on. To chalk it up to hormones and moms just being ‘crazy’.
I see through the moms in my sleep group how much pressure there is now to be happy all the time and to love your life constantly. I didn’t have babies during a time when Facebook and Instagram were the measure of perfect parenting, and I can’t imagine going through the feelings I was having while watching everyone else thrive (and judge).
I share this story for the moms who feel or have felt this way, and for the future moms to be on the lookout for themselves. Postpartum depression looks a little different for everyone, but if it feels like it’s more than baby blues, it probably is.
*Crisis Call Center (United States) 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911