When my first son Lucas was born, I remember being at home and with him and wondering, “how am I ever going to do this?” I turned to my mother and asked her this question with the panic in my voice. My mom chuckled and answered, “Oh honey we all ask ourselves this when we first become parents, but we figure it out.” And she was right, eventually, my husband and I figured out a routine that worked and when that routine was not working anymore we adjusted.
My experience with my second son Levi was quite different. No matter how I adjusted our routine, I ended up feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and with a deep sadness at the end of each day. As the days and weeks passed, I realized what I was feeling and experiencing was more than the baby blues. I felt as if I was sinking into a hole but felt too ashamed to speak up. I had two healthy boys and a wonderful husband, yet why I was feeling this way. Why was I struggling? I now know that I was battling postpartum anxiety, which 1 in 5 moms experience. After a particularly challenging day, one in which both boys were refusing to nap and I got pink eye, I broke. I called my husband and cried that I needed help. I let him in, ignored the voice of shame, and spoke my truth. I was having a hard time and it did not feel like I was getting better. With my husband’s support and some God-sent friends, I slowly started to feel like myself again. This did not take place overnight or in a matter of days. However, I reached out and got plugged into the correct resources. The anxiety and sadness slowly started to leave and I began to enjoy my two boys again.
Mama, if this is you I encourage you to speak up! You are not alone and this does not make you a “less than” mama. Find that safe and trustworthy person in your life and let them in. Share how you are feeling and accept the help. There are mental health providers, healthcare providers, and many other resources on the internet that can provide the support needed in your recovery.
Postpartum Support International hotline: 1.800.944.4773