A note from Michelle…
Many mother’s experience the baby blues in the weeks after a baby is born. I have four children of my own and I know this! I’ve been there. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had a serious case of the baby blues with my last two babies. I could have held them all day and was content with life. Everything was well… except for my tears which happened at the drop of a hat. If someone asked how I was the tears would start and wouldn’t stop, not even just tears but full out sobbing. It was so strange because I knew I was fine, my babies were fine and life was good. I just couldn’t control my emotions. I realized later that it was ok. I really was fine and eventually those tears did stop and life went on. I’m chalking it up to the love I felt for my babies, maybe it was just too overwhelming. My second baby is another story and here it is:
Because I don’t know the majority of the people that may have come across this page and are reading my story I’m going to keep it short. I’m not embarrassed to admit that after our second child was born I suffered from post-partum depression. Thankfully in the hospital they had given out some pamphlets and being bored one day I actually read them and retained some of the information while in my sleep deprived fog that comes from having two babies less than two years apart. I’m also thankful for Oprah. While laying on the couch one afternoon with two babies napping on top of me Oprah came on the tv and the show was about Marie Osmond and her postpartum depression. Half way through the show I had a lightbulb moment and realized this was me too. I hadn’t even realized, and probably didn’t have time to stop being a mom for long enough to realize that something was missing from my life. That something was the word “Happy”. I should have been happy. I had everything I had ever dreamed of having, an amazing husband, two totally perfect little boys, a house i loved… but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. A couple of weeks after the show I crumbled. I started to cry and the tears wouldn’t stop.
My husband was at work and I was home with two little ones. I sat on the bottom step of our two story home and cried. The boys came to comfort me and my tears fell in to their hair, down their cheeks that smelled so sweet, on to their little shirts. I hugged them fiercely and cried until there were no more tears. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I can still feel their little arms around my neck and the comfort they gave to me when I should have been giving it to them. Their little kisses on my cheeks, their sweet words when they could barely talk. Somehow they “got it”. They weren’t scared like I would have thought they should be. They were strong and amazing and I’m so thankful for that. After climbing my way out from under the boys and up off the stair I opened the phone book and searched for the word “postpartum depression”. I couldn’t believe it when it was actually there. Plain as day. I stopped and stared. I had taken the step to open the phone book (yes, those must have been the “old days” because now I would be looking on the computer). If I had taken that one huge step I could take then next couldn’t I? I could.
I did. I called the number and when someone picked up the phone the tears started again. I could barely speak. The lady on the other end, Marta was her name, was gentle, loving, understanding, encouraging and perfect. She listened while I sobbed, she told me everything would be okay and she offered the support I needed. I hung up, took a deep breath and took her advice. I made an appointment with my doctor and then I went to the support meetings that are offered by Families Matter. At that point I was so embarrassed to admit that I was having troubles and I didn’t want to go to the meetings. After all, my whole life, all knew for sure was that I wanted to be a mother. I wasn’t sure what (or who) to expect when I walked in the door to the first meeting but I was surprised and oh so happy to see that these mom’s were just like me. Really, really just like me. I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t strange, I wasn’t a bad mother. I was normal. After just six meetings I felt like a different person. I had some of the happy me back. I had support from my family whom I finally admit to that I was having troubles, and I had support from friends. I got through it. Some days it didn’t feel like I would but I did. I went on to have babies number three and four and worried through the whole pregnancies that I would go through it again but I didn’t. I had the blues, a few weeks of serious tears that had some people looking at me like I was nuts and my friends and family walking on eggshells and helping out in any way they could. I saw a few sidealong glances when they thought I wasn’t looking. Looks that were trying to bear right in to my soul so feel what was inside. Worried looks. The difference these times was that I could smile through the tears. I could be sobbing but when someone asked what was wrong I could smile, and laugh at the same time as I cried and I could say “nothing is wrong, it’s so silly. I just cry”. I knew I was okay, my baby was okay. My LIFE… was okay.
If you are suffering postpartum depression like SO many mom’s out there are. Please get help. It’s easy, it’s really easy. It’s not easy to take the first step but it is easy to start to feel better and once you ask for help you already feel so much better! Just knowing that you aren’t alone is the best feeling. Be happy again. Look after yourself. Get sleep! Know that there are millions of other mom’s that are exactly like you. More than you know. Most mom’s don’t admit it to themselves nevermind admit it to others. I swore to myself that after I got better I would always take that step to tell my story because if it helps even one person… it’s worth it.
Families matter is a not for profit agency in Calgary that helps with Postpartum Depression and they are amazing. (403) 205-5177.
Please note – there are other mom’s out there that will feel much worse than I did. There were some mom’s like that at the support group. One that wanted to harm herself, one that felt she could harm her child even though that was the last thing she wanted. If you feel this way please don’t hesitate to contact Family Matters. Let them help you. Or call me. I’ll come over and help you figure out what to do next. 403.890.8732. There is a light at the end of every tunnel.