I began January 2018 in darkness, with every intention of it being the opposite. Though I had a beautiful new baby, the postpartum blues hit me hard in the first few weeks. It felt like I was underwater and there was no way I would ever resurface.
The weeks turned to months and I hid the depression. I was ashamed that I was unable to deal with the overwhelming feeling of not being good enough. The darkness felt like it was going to swallow up all the good in my life, leaving me a crippled shell without love, joy or happiness. I faked a smile and went on with all my new responsibilities as a new parent; it went on like this for months. Naturally, I had good days where the darkness was just a fog, but then, there were the bad days.
And then suddenly everything shifted.
I started to read articles on depression, heard stories of other mothers who felt the same way and started to feel like I wasn’t alone. I learned that it was normal with this type of mental health problem to feel like all the choices you made were a mistake. There were moments I wanted to scream, cry and run away from it all but somehow I ended up here, regardless of it all. The moments that were good seemed fleeting, or worse still, like they were happening to someone else.
Emotional, distraught and feeling lost about the path that I had taken to become a mother. There were so many moments I know I missed because I was afraid to ask for help and I was embarrassed by how I was feeling. In an odd way, I still loved every second of being a mother to my son, I just didn’t love myself.
I wanted my life back but, more than anything, I wanted myself back. Even when it seemed like there weren’t enough hours in the day, I tried to focus a little energy on what made me happy. Spending time writing, reading a new novel or walking with the dog allowed me to connect back with the person I remember from before my pregnancy.
I knew I needed to change my perspective, focus on self-love and improve my mental stability.
Over the course of a year, I went on a rollercoaster ride of emotional ups and downs. When I was in the midst of the downs, I started to try to remind myself that the world was good and I deserved to be happy. I didn’t know how to love myself because I wasn’t quite sure who I really was anymore. I needed to learn to love myself when I felt I deserved it least because I had a life that I was meant to live and a baby who I was meant to live for.
I am still healing and I still have bad days. It’s not about being positive every minute of every day, it’s about trying to find the silver lining in the darkest times.
How I learned to find positivity in my life:
- There is always someone who can relate to what you’re going through, you just need to find your people.
- You will have bad days, even if you try your darnedest to ignore the feelings of inferiority, confusion and sadness.
- Social media lies. When you compare yourself to the mom with the perfect hair, baby and life, remember that she might be struggling the same way you are. Social media often shows only our highlights, not our lows and dark days.
- Celebrate the milestones in your life, regardless of how small because one day those will turn into big wins.
- If all you did today was look after your baby, you’re doing everything you need to do.
- Life won’t wait for anyone. If you don’t make the changes you need to today, you’ll lose the opportunity until the next day. Ask yourself everyday if you’re satisfied with the way you lived your life that day.
- Never give up on what makes you happy. It’s easy to lose sight when you’re in the midst of a bad day but write yourself a list and remind yourself what made you happy in the first place.
You can be a mess and still be a good mom.
We are allowed to be both.