This is NOT the kind of loss that you may be expecting me to write about.
This is a completely different kind of loss.
It’s the type of loss that is hard to explain and even harder to understand.
It’s about the loss of months and important moments of my motherhood,
stolen away by Postpartum Depression.
My entire life has been filled with dreams of becoming a mama.
I always pictured myself as being a girl mom, having the type of bond that everyone longed for with their daughter.
Inseparable with a love like no other, coordinating outfits, dance parties in the living room and endless laughter.
Before I became a mama, I always questioned people who suffered from PPD. I had so many questions and simply did not understand how someone could NOT connect and fall madly in love with their baby from the moment they laid eyes on each other. How could a mama be so cold and heartless? I had absolutely no clue.
In September of 2016, I was gifted the most perfect, precious little girl, my Oakley.
I was finally starting to live out my motherhood dreams.
Things were picture perfect, exactly how I had imagined.
Everything was great for a few days and then after the company left and the house became quiet, reality set in and something changed.
A deep, dark, hazy cloud swarmed in.
I don’t know what it is that changed but I came to realize in what should have been one of the happiest times of my life, I was anything but happy.
I was overwhelmed, sad, tired and felt an overwhelming amount of guilt. I often couldn’t get out of bed, I felt heavy and became completely detached from my baby.
I had a completely unnatural reaction to motherhood, my heart was disconnected and it was affecting me physically.
I remember someone looking at my baby and saying “Did you ever think you could experience a love this deep?” I just remember non-nonchalantly muttering “yeah” and feeling nothing.
I did not know what was wrong with me. I felt as though I was incapable of loving my baby. I found myself succumbing to tears for no reason, lying when people asked me if I was okay and putting on one hell of a front if forced to go out in public.
I avoided social situations and dreaded people coming over.
I would stare at my baby daily thinking about how beautiful she was and I knew I loved her but I still felt nothing. Nothing.
Before Christmas I had a break down, it was the lowest I had ever been in my life.
Chad came home from the neighbors, to me sitting on the couch head in my hands bawling, I had drank almost an entire case of beer by myself and I couldn’t explain why I had done it or what was wrong.
I was consistently negative, felt like the world hated me and like nothing I did was ever right.
I worried about everything. I suffered from severe insomnia, I was losing weight like crazy, had zero sex drive, my hair was falling out and all I wanted was for my baby to sleep so that I could be alone.
I made it through the Christmas season knowing that I suffered from Postpartum but I didnt want to admit it. Admitting that you have a psychological disorder is never easy nor socially accepted, having to admit that you have absolutely no emotional attachment to your baby is absolutely heartbreaking.
In the new year I decided I was ready to come to terms with the way I had been feeling and finally got diagnosed and medicated. Little did I know that, that little boost of sunshine in a capsule would not only heal my brain from the horrible PPD diagnosis but it would also level out my serotonin enough to help with my lifelong anxiety. Medication saved my motherhood by granting me control over the chemical imbalance in my brain. I don’t often believe in traditional medicine and take the holistic route whenever possible but there is absolutely NO shame in needing to be medicated.
In just weeks after coming to terms with my PPD, I felt the overwhelming rush of love that I had longed for, for my entire motherhood. I looked at my sweet baby and thought my heart would explode. I also came to the realization that what was wrong with me was entirely out of my control which onset a major rush of guilt. I longed for the time I had lost with my baby, I worried that she wouldn’t bond with me like she was supposed too, I worried about attachment issues. I felt sad, I mourned over baby books yet to be filled and cherished moments that I let slip away. I was mad at myself for being stubborn.
I felt immense shame.
I felt empty in so many ways for not being there for my sweet baby in her first months of life, but I also felt in control of my brain for the first time since I was a child and for the first time in months I felt hope.
All I can say to my fellow woman is not to fear Postpartum Depression, it is completely out of your control and more common than you would think. We need to talk about it to remove the stigma. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are being experienced by women and men of all walks of life at an alarming rate and yet individuals feel isolated and alone in their struggles. If you are suffering or suffered in the past… I GET IT.
There is hope and things DO get better.
Now excuse me while I go make up for stolen moments.