My son was about 4 months old when I started to come out of my post-birth fog. I didn’t realize I was depressed, but I wasn’t taking care enough of myself. We finally had gotten into a rhythm for sleeping/breastfeeding and going out of the house was easier, so I joined a group for running moms. I had friends and family that didn’t live very far away at all, but I didn’t feel like I could talk to them. My family had their own things going on, and my friends didn’t have children yet. I am so thankful that I forced myself to join the running moms group because it introduced me not only to running as a way to cope and take care of myself, but also to wonderful friends who I know (and do) lean on for support. Being able to spend time out of the house, doing something for myself, and that also benefited my son, had a huge impact on me. I began to regain my self-esteem, feel more confident in my parenting choices, and my relationship with my husband was beginning to recover too!
Sometimes it’s hard to even know what is going on because hormones change so much so one day may seem easy and manageable, and the next day can seem like everything is falling apart. Seek out friends or professionals for support because you are not alone. Even people who seem like they have it all together all the time have their bad days.
Seeking support can be so difficult to do-to pick up the phone or send an email can make you think, “well, it’s not that bad,” or, “it’s not as bad as what my friend went through,” but that’s not the point. Think about it from your point of view, not comparing your experience to someone else’s. We all struggle in different ways, and can need different types of support and ways to cope.
Now I feel like if I were to have another child, I would know things to do before having the baby as well as after not necessarily to prevent the challenges, but to prepare for coping with things that may come up. It definitely changed how I view postpartum mood challenges because as my friends have now started to have children, it’s something that is on my radar. I want to be sure that they know what resources are available, and not just right after you give birth to look for signs, but can come many months and more later.