Depression. I feel it just reading the word on any given day but right now I am it.
I am an open book. But this is a topic I struggle to give voice to because the very nature of depression is to close you off. It convinces you nobody will listen, nobody really gives a shit what you say so why bother. Why burden people with your bullshit? They have their own shit to deal with. You’re so selfish, just stop.
I had my third (and final) baby on October 1st, 2015. She’s gorgeous. She’s perfect. She’s a goddamned goddess. My postpartum anxiety I had after my second child came back full swing within the first two weeks. I know how to deal with you well, anxiety. We are not strangers, sadly. So I do my coping. I deep breathe. I confide in my loved ones. I sometimes just survive and sometimes thrive. Mostly, I continue one foot in front of the other, making sure I remember to take care of me, too. It’s been slowly dissipating… fading… I start feeling more like the me I know and love… a breath of fresh air… and BOOM. My daughter, in her teething and thirst for independence, decides to cut back on nursing.
It seems a silly thing, I’m sure, for those who have never breastfed to feel depression from weaning a baby, right? I would agree if it hadn’t happened to me before. This is the third baby I’ve weaned and the third bout of PPD or postpartum depression I’ve experienced. How can I have PPD? My daughter is 14 months old. She’s not even considered an infant anymore.
It’s not uncommon for PPD to wait until after weaning to show up and that’s why I’m sharing this. Depression sucks and it can seemingly come out of nowhere sometimes. My hormones are telling my brain that I’m unhappy with things (even though I’m not) so I cry, for hours on end sometimes, for no reason. Or I feel indifferent sometimes. Sometimes I feel overly excited as a distraction. The most important thing is that I stay mindful. I’ve been down this road twice before and I’ll go down it again, this time better equipped. So when I have those thoughts I mentioned already, ‘nobody really gives a shit’, ‘why bother’, ‘just stop’, etc, I know they are the disease and not me. In my first experience with PPD, I didn’t know it wasn’t me. I went to a pretty dark place before I finally reached out. I want to help other mothers before they follow my first footsteps with PPD.
So. If you’re in your first year postpartum, or nearing the end of your breastfeeding relationship with your child regardless of their age, be aware of the signs of PPD. And if you happen to be one of the 1 in 7 women who will experience a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder, you’re in good company. I’m going through it, too. And I know I’m still pretty kickass, no matter what PPD may say.
A last note to all mothers: cut yourself some slack. It’s funny that depression is such a similar word to depressurize. We all could use some depressurizing, so let’s collectively do that. Mommin’ ain’t easy, yo. ❤