This post is incredibly difficult for me to share publicly, but I know I’m not the only one who has been here, or who is here, or who will be here one day.
For the past 11 weeks, I have adored every single moment with my sweet baby boy. I love him. He is my preview of Heaven – the scent of him, the feel of his head nuzzling my cheek, and the thrill of his perfect baby smile. When I started to feel the postpartum depression (PPD) sink in when he was a few weeks old, I felt betrayed by myself. My brain tried to explain to my hormone-imbalanced body “stop it, you are happy, you are blessed, life is good.” But, the PPD came anyways, as it always has after each pregnancy.
For me, PPD looks like this:
- Extreme mood swings. From over-happy to over-sad within the same five minutes. And neither emotion necessarily makes rational sense in the context of reality.
- Sleeplessness during normal sleeping hours, and over-sleepiness during important times to be awake.
- Eating sugar and other comfort foods in over-abundance, even when I’m not hungry.
- Lack of motivation to do much of anything, but with a constant stress that I’m not being productive.
- A messy house. Shocker! This is incredibly hard to admit on my blog about organizing and homemaking (also read by people who pay me to organize for them), but when I feel crippled by my PPD, it is hard to do even the basic things. The silver lining to this is that I feel true compassion for others who struggle. Really, though, any of my friends don’t even need to ask me how I’m feeling if they come to my house and find a mess. This is one outward manifestation of my PPD that really drives me to get better!
This time around, I’m confronting PPD head-on. My previous experiences have taught me a little bit about what helps me get my head out of the fog.
- I don’t try to hide it anymore. After my first pregnancy, I mistook the symptoms of PPD as signs I was doing things all wrong as a mother. Now I know it isn’t my fault and it has nothing to do with how much I love my babies. Getting the help I need is the best thing I can do for my children!
- I try to accept the support of friends and people who care. I am the independent type. I like to think of myself as self-sufficient, but really what it boils down to is that I have an incredibly difficult time asking for help.
- I talk about it. I talk to friends who have been through PPD before, because I know they are listening without judging.
- I need to take care of myself. This is the hardest one for me. It is so easy to get caught up in taking care of my baby, my family, my home, this blog, my organizing business, and forget to take care of myself. So far, I’m doing a terrible job at this.
Last weekend, I hit a wall. I had just come from a number of hectic weeks in a row without ever fully recovered from pregnancy and delivery. Some of the highlights were Cougar’s baby blessing, Easter, some family medical emergencies, dealing with Cougar’s reflux and a medicine shift for him that didn’t go well, all with about 3 hours of sleep each night. So last weekend, while I was volunteering to help at my mothers of multiples consignment sale, my c section incision opened up. I guess since I had been blatantly ignoring all the other red flags telling me to take care of myself, I needed a super obvious sign to get me to stop and take note.
What does a professional organizer do when confronting something difficult? MAKE A PLAN!!!!
Here is my plan to Remember Me:
Eat better – I’ve decided to join an online support group who are all following this plan. I know eating healthier will help me feel better, and I need a support group structure to give me some accountability.
Read for pleasure – I have a book group that helps keep me reading, not to mention offers a chance for a girls night every month. Even though my PPD can make me want to cut off from the world, it is so important that I keep getting out and seeing my friends.
Sleep more – Sleep is a hit and miss for me, which makes it so important for me to sleep when I can. Matt feeds Cougar early in the morning on the weekends and sometimes during the week if I need him, and that extra sleep really helps.
Feel pretty – Do my nails in fun springy colors. Having my nails painted always makes me feel better about how I look. Also, I use the best skincare products there are, but they don’t do anything if I don’t use them. Lately I have skipped steps in my beauty routine and I need to take that extra 10 seconds to apply the eye cream! Another big thing that will help me is to take the time to shower and get out of my pjs every day, even if I just get into yoga pants. I feel so much better when I do!
Walk – My goal is to walk 15 minutes a day until my c section heals all the way, and then increase as my body allows.
Spend time with friends – I feel lucky to have great friends who always make me feel better when we spend time together. I need to spend more time with them. Friends can’t help and support you if you don’t give them a chance!
Dates nights – Staying connected to my husband is the most important thing of all and makes the biggest difference. Because he is the closest person to me, I need his support most. This is especially difficult with four kids, including a new baby.
If you are suffering from PPD too, I hope you will get the support you need. Feel free to comment below, I’d love to know I’m not alone!
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