When I gave birth to my second baby I felt a sense of healing and restoration. After my first, I developed a bitterness and lived in a constant state of questioning. I became confused about things I had been so sure of before. Some examples of this would include my faith and my purpose. As time passed these feelings didn’t go away, instead, I pushed them to the back of my mind and avoided them. Then, Abraham got here. There was a peace that came with his birth. It was like it undid what the first one had brought on. I was freed from this bog.
This freedom lasted about two months then the bog came back with a vengeance. One of my biggest fears was postpartum depression. I think I may have experienced it a touch with my daughter, but it was nothing compared to this past summer. I kept telling myself, “keep fighting this off, you can will it away and do things to prevent this turning into depression.” Little did I know it was already too late. I gave in and called my doctor. She asked me some questions during my appointment and I was officially diagnosed with postpartum depression. I felt like this was my first failure. Instead of relief that I now could have help, I felt I had failed to keep this from happening.
Failure became the word that haunted me in my every move. I looked at myself and saw failure in every aspect. In the mirror, I looked run down and unkempt. The home I was supposed to be keeping looked like the remains of a natural disaster. I lost my temper quickly. Tears came more frequently. I couldn’t get my kids on a schedule. Dinner was never made. I was spending time with my kids, husband and pups in anger, missing the joy, making them and myself miserable. At the end of each day I looked back and only saw regret and failure.
It was an endless, vicious cycle. My doctor recommended an antidepressant. I did the research and found that there is no research for the affects of the medicine on children who’s mother took the medicine while breastfeeding. Just the thought makes me feel guilty. My reasoning for declining the medicine is that I could not take it with a clear conscious that my child would be unharmed and the anxiety of that in itself would be counterproductive to taking it in the first place. I know this probably sounds crazy to most, but again this was my failure. My job is to take care of this baby and keeping him from harm is part of that job.
So what was I to do?
I felt that talking about had helped. Being able to address the problem was a progress. My doctor also suggested vitamins B12, B6 & D. I also believe they helped. On days that I forget to take them I noticed a difference in my mood and energy. I am also doing the best I can to make a conscious effort to be aware of the impact it has on me. Some days are better than others. Some days I need to try harder than others. And some days I need to ask for help; and accept it. Lastly, I need to recognize and remind myself that this is a phase. This is not a forever for me. I will persevere through this time and if it naturally improves I will be grateful. If not, when I am no longer breastfeeding I will accept the need to address things medicinally.
I want to show my children goodness. I want to be the goodness in their life. In order to do this I have to be a more positive, patient and consistent mother. I am working daily to keep a calm, steady voice; and provide structure in our day.
I want to give myself grace. My husband always tells me I have impossibly high standards. Naturally, it’s often when he’s referring to my standards of him, but he also says I do it to myself. When I’m honest, I can see this to be true. I see how I can do better in every situation rather than being satisfied that it was the best I could do at the time. I’d like to cut myself some slack and really believe that this is a a phase with small children that I will not only get through but on the other side I will have succeeded.
I want to do better. Yes, this already sounds contradictory to my previous goal, but it’s the truth. I want to do better and I can do better. I can work on my patience. I can look presentable each day. I can pick up the house and cook dinner… occasionally. I want to realistically do better.
I also want to give credit where credit is due. I am a good mom. Yes, I fail daily. But, I also succeed daily. Life might kick my butt more often than I’d like, but I’m fighting back and I am still winning. I mean look at this: it’s what I have, it’s what I am and it’s what I want.
Now, this post will be the first. It will not be the only. This journey is not over. I am still in the bog. But I see the light. I have more smiles than tears. I know that the real failure would be giving up. I haven’t failed. I’m looking forward to the day I can post again and say, “I won.”