My name is Jackie. I’m a part-time writer, and a full-time school teacher, but most importantly, I’m a mom, just like you. I have a 15-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. They are my world, and I can’t imagine my life without them; however, things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows.
My first born, as I like to call him, is my “angel child.” The only problems I experienced during my pregnancy were gestational diabetes and swollen feet- but that was all on me because I love food! He was a well-behaved and happy baby, and he slept through the night. What more could I ask for? I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t do the things I used to do. I couldn’t just get up and go shopping, or go hang out with my friends. I read all the books on proper child care, but they just prepare you for the essentials; they don’t tell you “your social life as you knew it, is over.” I found myself retreating to the couch and crying when my son wouldn’t go to sleep, and I just wanted a moment of peace. I felt like an absolute failure. The weight was my own to carry, and as a 19-year-old mom, I was too afraid to speak up. What would people say? “Well, what did you think parenting was like, little girl?” I decided that my fear, anger, and anxiety was the cross I had to bear for not being more prepared for this.
I eventually healed and became happier. I returned to work, saw my friends more often, and even found myself having more play dates with other parents and their children. Four years later, I became pregnant with my second child, my daughter. I was super confident; I’d just overcome this slump, so I could do anything I set my heart on. Turns out I was wrong, again. Morning sickness, along with head –to – toe body aches were a daily occurrence. I immediately feared the worst as those feelings of anxiety slowly crept back up and consumed my entire being. I had a rough time sleeping, eating, and enjoying life. I was truly terrified that I would not make it through. Childbirth was no exception; I was heavily medicated and I passed out. I don’t remember her birth. I just remember an oxygen mask and a lot of pain when I woke up. I remember a screaming child, and an endless pile of stress. I was terrified because this time around was so much worse, and I did nothing but cry and avoid eating. I was wasting away. I was trying to keep my head above water as I frantically waved my arms around in hopes that someone would notice.
Thankfully, a friend of mine noticed that I was not myself. She talked to me about postpartum depression. I didn’t want to believe that it could be my reality. I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a real life, mental illness. I joined a peer group, and fellow moms helped me get through it. It was refreshing to know that I was not the only one with such daunting feelings; this made speaking up a lot easier. I am extremely thankful for the support I received. I’m grateful that I could recover in time to enjoy not only my life, but also the lives and milestones of my children. PPD is a silent illness; far too many women experience it and aren’t aware, thus adding to their struggle.
Knowledge is power, ladies. Don’t look past the pamphlets in your doctor’s office, thinking PPD won’t happen to you. It can. It is very real, but it can be fought. View our website. Follow our blog. A new blog post is up every week, and we cover a variety of topics. We want to see you smile again. You’re not alone.