Guest Post: Unexpected gift from childbirth, that’s not a baby.

posted on Bubblews by Joleneinamerica

This is my first post and I thought I should start out with something meaningful. I am stepping out of my comfort zone with this one, but my intention is to share and help someone else.

I had a tough childhood, not to bore you with details, in brief – I was raised in Australia in a small town, by my mother who was bipolar and struggled with alcoholism and addiction. When I was able to escape, I did. I went to the other side of the world, furthest place I could go. I ended up in North America. Over the years I had my fair share of struggles and had bouts of depression as typical with life. I met my husband, we bought a beautiful house and started our family. Some more struggles along the way, but now I was pregnant so the hormones worked a little differently. After the baby, i had a very tough time. He was colicky and had surgery at 6 weeks, allergic to dairy and basically I was in the throws of it for a full 18 months before things eased up.

I was tired and unhappy. I felt lonely and isolated. It was very hard for me to just feel ok. Everywhere I looked it seemed as if there were these magical mothers who just seemed so at ease and together and of course perfect.

My childhood being what it was, I learnt at a very young age to put on the “smile face”. The everything is perfect and you don’t know whats happening to me on the inside.

Soon I was pregnant with child 2, some life events happened and my husband and I were struggling. My mother was diagnosed with late stage cancer and was given a few months to live. We had a pretty toxic relationship, but nonetheless I took on a whole lot more pressure of how I was going to fix her and help out. The guilt set in and trouble began to bubble.

I went through a lot in those next few months. ll the while maintaining the “smile face” and pretending like I was fine. Not wanting to admit or show how shitty I was really feeling. After the baby was born, it got worse. I loved my children with all my heart, but just felt this pressure that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t keep things together. I beat myself up as much as I could. I wanted to escape it all. I had anxiety all the time that something would happen to my children, or my husband and I would have visualizations of what that would do to me. I would be in tears many times through a typical day.

I was tired, lost and wanted out. With my mothers situation getting worse, i had a very difficult time dealing with all the past history between us and all the things left unsaid. I pretty much melted down. Finally my husband said he needed me to see someone. He took me to a therapist who specialized in postpartum depression.

This was the gift.

This turn in my life, the step into therapy and medication was a difficult process for me, eventually I saw this as a gift. I never wanted to go to therapy, I never wanted to admit I needed help. Over the next 6-8 months I went to therapy weekly, I was put on some medications, and finally had the support I needed both mentally and chemically. It certainly wasn’t an easy process and I also had the death of my mother thrown in as well.

I nearly lost my marriage and ran away from my life. I was at the bottom. The gift lifted me up and after much hard work, I am now in a brand new place. Mentally I am able to enjoy myself, let loose a little and live each day as it comes. My children are the lights in my life, I am now able to enjoy them. I am not constantly stressed and frazzled. I take breaks when I need to and value myself and my family a whole lot more.

Not all women will have these struggles, but many of them do. Pregnancy puts you at risk of these imbalances and postpartum. If your like me and struggled a bit with depression your even a higher risk.

I am here to say – there is nothing shameful about it. As a society we need to talk more openly about these issues and make it ok to seek help. It shouldn’t be a secret, none of us are perfect and we all have our battles. If you know someone who might just seem a little out of sorts than they normally are, or stuck at home with a newborn. Reach out and offer to go out for a coffee… A little support goes a long way.

I am not 100% comfortable to post this. I hope you view and take something from it. I hope this helps just one other person. I am very afraid, but mental health for all, needs more attention. Here goes…..

 

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