Feb 14, 2017

Navigating My Way

Wow, it's been a few years since I've been on my small space of the world wide web.
I hope all is well with you!
So much has happened and so much to talk about
but for now I'll take some baby steps to get back to writing on a more consistent basis.
The biggest news I have for you is I just had baby number four.
He's beautiful and amazing.
A whopping 9 lbs, 10 oz & 22 1/2 inches long.
I'll post his birth story a little later
but there was one thing I really needed to get off of my chest.

It has been 27 days since I had little Lewis.
I absolutely love and adore him but I'm also experiencing a bit of the baby blues.
I have absolutely no ill feelings of wanting
to hurt him, my other kids or myself but I find myself constantly crying over nothing.
In a room full of people I feel so lonely.
I become ridiculously anxious thinking about going places.
I'm sad most of the time yet I put on a fake smile
and continue life as usual because that's what moms are supposed to do right?
I often feel embarrassed for having such feelings
and it seems hard to fully express myself verbally to
others because I feel shameful and because this is supposed
to be the most amazing time of soaking up the new baby and all their loveliness.
I sit here and wonder when and why has mental illness
been such a hush, hush topic?
Why do people like me feel shameful for feeling depressed?
Just because you can't physically see scars or the pain
doesn't mean that people aren't fighting their own demons
within themselves and doesn't make it wrong in any way.
Some would say that other people have
real problems so get over yourself and be happy.
But that's not how depression works.

I stare at my baby in amazement yet I never want to leave the room.
I am beyond joyful he has joined our family
yet I want to sleep all day because my body physically
hurts from emotional pain and anxiety.
We've been so blessed with another beautiful baby boy
yet in the same breath, I can't seem to find myself
or even get into a rhythm that feels familiar which in turn makes me feel selfish.
The day we came home, I felt so lost.
Like I should be somewhere else.
Like I should be doing something.
Everything seemed to be happening but it
felt more like an outer body experience.
My mind knew what I was supposed to be doing
but it took every ounce of me to actually do it.
I'm still trying to navigate my feelings and
obviously I can't quite explain them.
One minute I'm fine and the next
I'm crying over my spilled breast milk.
I'm helping with homework and then I lose it
over something so small as shoes in the wrong place or backpacks on the floor.
I get irritated and overwhelmed because I feel like
I need to declutter and reorganize yet my body is still
recovering from labor so I end up putting myself in more pain.
I'm feeling so many emotions or nothing at all.
You think that postpartum depression comes
in one size that fits all but it absolutely doesn't.
At baby's two week checkup, while in the waiting room,
I was given this chart I was supposed to mark to answer questions about baby and mom.
One of the questions said something like
How often do you feel like hurting yourself or your baby: always, sometimes or never.
In my mind I wondered where the other questions
and phrases were that I can mark because I'm in between.
No I don't feel anger towards my loved ones and kids
but I know I don't feel like my normal self.
Where are the boxes for anxiety when in public, sadness for no reason,
sleeping to escape or the extreme opposite nights of insomnia?
I tried to figure out if I had the baby blues with Khayleb
and I don't think so yet that time was such a blur.
I was so young and bounced back so quickly.
With Jack, I don't necessarily think it was postpartum
depression but more so due to the custody battle I was facing at the time.
With Kendric, I can only remember a handful of times
where I felt alone and sad but it was
so short lived and within the first couple days of his birth.
Now with baby Lewie, I'm baffled that after baby number four,
here I am and it's hitting me full force.
I often feel like I'm going backwards.
Last night I decided I needed to start writing
because that's usually how I navigate and process things.
Then a dear friend reached out to me on Facebook today
and asked how I was doing.
I expressed to her what I was feeling and
she told me I needed to talk to someone,
read books about PPD or join a mom group.
She even said to blog about it and that it might be therapeutic for me.
So here I am, trying to figure out this monster I'm faced with.

I know I'll come out fine.
I know eventually I'll find myself and
even end up creating a new me with bits and pieces
of the old me in tact and I know this will be another
trial to help strengthen me but while
I am in the thick of it, I will make sure to talk about it
regardless of how awkward it feels.
Regardless of whether I feel like people are judging
me even though that may just be all in my head.
I'll keep talking and working and navigating through
 this unknown path and I hope that if you are going through
 something similar you'll talk about it too no matter
how scary or weird it may seem.
I hope if you've been through this,
you share your experience so I know I'm not alone
because truly it feels like that sometimes.
I'll keep writing and hope you come back to read and share.
Until next time, I hope you stay well
and take care of YOU
because you matter!

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