While my last post got too long so I broke it up (Part 1 and Part 2), this post is a result of what happened after I shared my story of PPD. Like my PPD story, it is something I have a very difficult time articulating coherently out loud with those that I love most dearly.
“I didn’t realize your PPD was so bad.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this when it was happening?”
This statement and question, spoken tentatively, vulnerably, and filled with emotion from the mouths of my people… the ones I can’t live without… cuts me with fear. I don’t want them to feel bad or think they could have done more. I don’t want them to believe it is about the trust in our relationship.
This got to be too long of a post so I have broken it up into two parts. If you missed Part 1, it is here.
Medication put me in an uncomfortable fog, but quelled the voices. More importantly I started seeing a therapist weekly. Stephanie saved and changed my life. Our first session, I got to her windowless office waiting area and started crawling out of my skin. When she finally took me into her office, I told her that my ears were bleeding from the white noise and didn’t care about my privacy, but just wanted it to stop. God knows what we talked about for the next hour, but I walked out with blood shot eyes, a runny nose, and short of breath. In the following weeks, she started convincing me that I could do things I thought impossible: asking for help, building a support system, saying no, and practicing self-care.
This got to be too long of a post so I have broken it up into two parts.
Four years ago on a quiet Sunday night at home with three week old and toddler while my husband worked was the unknown beginning of my postpartum depression. The past three anniversaries of this day, I have wallowed in the blame I place on myself for not stopping it from happening. As women with similar stories have shared them with me, I saw that they were not to blame for the events that increased their risk of PPD. I have worked to forgive myself for the mistakes I made and accept that some things simply are not in my control. Having or not having PPD isn’t in anybody’s control… it is a terrible thing that happens. I share my story in hopes that it unlocks another woman from the prison of shame she feels about her PPD, as Candice did for me.
One year in my annual review, my boss wrote, “Ruth uses her intuition to perform her job well. I encourage her to continue to listen very carefully to the voice deep inside and to sit quietly as she determines whether her indigestion is nerves or something that isn’t right.” The voice inside me has guided me for a very long time. Sometimes it comes softly saying something isn’t right and other times it screams for me to flee. My inner voice… my intuition.
One of my favorite sessions of the Warrior Mom Conference was Kate Kripke‘s presentation on Thriving After PMAD (Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders) where she asked all of us, “What does a thriving mother do?” Her list of ten blew me away and they aren’t just for moms with PMADs… they are for everybody! You’re dying to find out?