It is almost a certainty that the universe was trying to teach me a lesson about wearing leggings as pants. I work in a business casual office with emphasis on business, but my boss was out of the office and her boss was out of the office. It was Wednesday morning and I would have preferred to pull the covers over my head and wear pajamas all day. Instead I rewarded my go-getterness (i.e. getting out of bed) with the decision to wear leggings to work.
In high school I worked at a Hallmark. The day before and Valentine’s Day were always busy and often came with the desperate man. 80% of our customers were women on a usual day, but the holiday of love brought in many more men. Two things struck me about these desperate men: They didn’t want to screw up and they hadn’t planned at all. This was exemplified in their desire for me to pick the perfect gift for their significant other, because clearly my gender made me an expert.
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.