I will say this a million times over—motherhood has been a far better journey than I ever expected. My heart continues to grow each day and the love I have for my daughter is something I can’t quite put into words.
She is my heartbeat living outside of my chest.
Every night I pray, thanking God for giving us this sweet gift—a gift to love and cherish and nurture. I look at her in awe—awe that God chose us to be her parents. She is my reminder daily that just how she so desperately needs us, we also need God’s grace and mercy.
This past year has been the most beautiful journey.
But it also hasn’t been easy.
This past October I was confronted with the reality that I was dealing with postpartum depression. It was a stormy day and I sat in the car with my husband crying—I knew what I had been experiencing for the past few weeks, but it took me weeks to be able to say it out-loud. To confront the reality that I was struggling.
For me, postpartum depression started as PTSD like symptoms from pregnancy (I use that wording carefully, because I know people who really struggle with this, especially in our military community). I had a traumatic pregnancy and around the year anniversary of finding out I was pregnant and got super sick for the next 9 months, I started relieving those memories. I was extremely nauseous all day, couldn’t eat much besides toast (similar to my first 5 months of pregnancy) and had anxiety over the strangest things that didn’t really matter.
This moved into a state of depression, it started slowly but there were days were I could barely interact with my sweet Remington. That’s when it really hit me. I love her so much but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t smile around her, I couldn’t talk to her and no matter how hard I tried to stay positive, I couldn’t choose joy. I felt like I had no control over my situation. I would hear her laughing with our nanny or my husband and felt this wall, like I couldn’t participate, I couldn’t share her joy. I remember one day holding her crying my eyes out, she looked up at me with the sweetest face like she was saying, “Mom I love you and its going to be ok.”
It shattered my heart in a million pieces.
During this time, my postpartum health struggles were also reaching an all time high—after a difficult type 1 diabetes pregnancy, my body continued to suffer the stress and trauma of pregnancy. I dealt (and am still dealing) with a pretty serious thyroid complication that caused me to feel pretty sick and gain a lot of weight, this only made my situation emotionally worse. A year later I am still healing, I am still recovering both physically and emotionally!
Just by opening up to my husband and admitting I was struggling with postpartum depression gave me a sigh of relief. Just acknowledging I was struggling was the first and one of the most important steps to healing. I am thankful for the help of many professionals—a therapist, 2 medical doctors and a holistic nutritionist to help me through this time. Therapy was the most helpful for me and really allowed me to open up and talk about what was going on, both now and how past circumstances and traumas were affecting me. Therapy prompted so much healing, I can’t recommend it enough!
Looking back now, I see how God gave me this story, he gave me this struggle for a reason. It’s hard to see that in the moment, but this struggle made me want to fight more, it gave me a deeper love and bond with my sweet daughter and it also has given me sympathy for people who really struggle. I have never experienced depression before and now that I have I want to say it is real and something in the moment that you feel no control over. To anyone else struggling, please don’t give up hope, please don’t stop fighting, please get the help you need and realize your struggles do not make you weak. You are not alone!
I haven’t talked much about my struggle over the past 6-8 months because I needed to heal and live these moments, I needed perspective before sharing what I was going through! And for the sake of my sweet daughter, I needed to have time with her to heal.
If you are in the midst of the storm, please know you are not alone! Seek help, have courage and most of all snuggle your sweet babe—they too sense your struggle and even though they can’t yet speak and you may not have the words today, just hold them tight.
This struggle has only grown my love as a mother even more.