Postpartum Secret!- LMM LOVE

Friday, June 1, 2012

I have to admit I have a little blog crush on Ashley over at Little Miss Momma! If you do not follow her already, I highly recommend it. Not only is she and her family totally cute, but she is super crafty, and such a great writer! Her blog is everything I want mine to be an so much more. So today I was reading her latest post "The One Where I Sort of Freak Out" and was once again inspired by Miss Ashley and her honesty about being a momma... so I thought I would share my story with all of you.

Postpartum Depression.... that's right, I said it. It's like a dirty little secret, something that no one ever wants to talk about; not pregnant woman, not first time moms, not even women who have struggled through it numerous times. I have to admit, even I get really anxious talking about it. I'm often scared of what people will say to me, or about me when I'm not around, how they will judge me as a mother...but the older I get, and the more my beautiful babies grow, the more I realize how important it is that we do talk about it. So that is why I am straying from my normal babble to share my story.

My husband and I met when I was 16, married at 20, and I became pregnant with our first child at 21. The pregnancy was very unexpected, but a blessing none the less. I did not find out I was pregnant until I was already 19 weeks along (long story- i will save that for another day) so we literally found out I was pregnant on a Wednesday and two days later found out it was a boy!!! We were thrilled. The pregnancy was horrible. I was sicker then a dog the entire 9 months and when my due date came and went, I was miserable and ready for it to all be over. Then one day it was... the pregnancy was over, and I had a beautiful and healthy baby boy. I remember holding him on my chest after he was born and instantly falling in love! I had never felt anything like it before. A love so deep and so strong that it made me the happiest I had ever felt and also the most terrified. Terrified that I wouldn't be able to be perfect enough for him.

Bringing Jonathon home was the scariest day of my life. Once we were home, I remember sitting on the couch and holding him and crying for hours. Crying tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of fear of all the unknown. I remember feeling so much joy that I could finally hold my baby, and so much sadness that he was no longer in my belly- that now I had to share him with the world. I loved him so much and he deserved the best mom in the world and I didn't think for a second that that could be me. I spent weeks like this, maybe even months, where my emotions so were completely out my control. Some days I would cry about the fact that I couldn't stop crying. Every time I looked at my baby I felt so much love and so much fear that I felt like I was falling apart. I was fortunate though... I have the world's most supportive parents. My mom would come over and spend time with me during the day, or I would go to her house, or she would spend hours with me on the phone. We never actually talked about "it". We never really talked about the "postpartum depression" itself. We just talked and talked and talked. It wasn't until years later that my mom told me how much she truly worried about me during that time. About how scared she was that I would fall apart while no one was there. Over time I regained control of my emotions and my postpartum depression seemed to have passed, never to be talked about or heard from again... right?

Wrong! When my little sunshine was only 10 months old I found out that I was once again pregnant......and soon after, found out that it was a little girl! Once again we were thrilled... and once again I spent every moment of every day sick as could be. Again my due date had come and gone... and it wasn't until 13 days after that day that my little Bella was finally born. The hubby and I dropped Jonathon off at my parents house on a Friday morning before the sun had even come up, we drove the 20 minute drive to the hospital where my labor was induced. Labor with Bella was nothing like my labor with Jonathon... It didn't last half the time, it was half the pain, and I was half as scared. Bella had arrived by dinner time that day. She came out with a full head of jet black hair- nothing like the little blond boy I had delivered not long before. Bella was amazing at breast feeding instantly- something Jonathon struggled with for months and caused me so many worries. I held her, I cuddled her, and told her I loved her; but inside, I felt nothing.

That may sound horrible to some of you... and it should, because it sounds horrible to me too, but it's the truth. I remember looking at Bella and thinking how beautiful she was and how happy I should be, while inside all I felt was guilt. A day or two after having Bella I remember saying to my mom, "What have I done?", "How could I do this to Jonathon?", "I will never have enough love for them both and I refuse to share my love for Jonathon with another baby!" I remember holding her and crying for hours, uncontrollably. I remember fearing that I would never love her the way I love Jonathon! I remember being so mad at myself for even wanting a second child and being even more mad at myself for having those thoughts. I was lost... I was scared... My postpartum depression with Bella was a million times worse then it ever was after Jonathon was born. While my feelings after Jonathon were highs and lows, they were still "reasonable" fears and thoughts. My feeling after having Bella were nothing in comparison. To be given such a blessing and feel so lost was the scariest thing I have ever lived through.

Weeks upon weeks passed. I took care of Bella, I cuddled her, I told her I loved her but inside I was still not allowing myself to bond with her... and one night I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic- the same way I did when Jonathon was a baby- ran into Bella's room to check on her. I stood beside Bella's bed looking in at the perfect little girl lying there peacefully asleep and for the first time I felt that uncontrollable, gut wrenching, LOVE that I felt every time I looked at Jonathon. I held her for hours that night... I felt happy, blessed to have such a beautiful daughter. I felt scared, that I would never be perfect enough to be her mother. These were all the emotions I had felt instantly with Jonathon, but because of my postpartum depression it took months for me to have that connection with Isabella.

Today I love Bella and Jonathon both more then
anything in this entire world. They are my entire life. They are amazing children and someday they will grow into two of the greatest people this world has ever seen. They are my best friends.

I had postpartum depression! Some days I am ashamed at how it made me feel... how empty, how out of control, and how scared. I am a good mom!... make that a great mom! I love my children more then sunshine. (our favorite thing to say to each other)  My postpartum depression was bad... worse then I would wish on anyone, but I am lucky... there are women that struggle with it far worse then I ever did. Normal women, just like me, really good moms, that hurt themselves or maybe even there child because of something that is out of their control. When I got pregnant postpartum depression was the last thing on my mind and it was one of those things that I never asked about and that no one ever brought up. I wanted to share my story and let the world know that it's not something to be ashamed of. It's not something that should be so taboo to discuss. It's a real thing and it affects so many of us!
It is something that you can't defeat alone!
Thanks Ashley for being such a huge inspiration!!!!

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8 Responses to “Postpartum Secret!- LMM LOVE”

  1. hi Shannon, Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing this post with me. I can relate to so many of the feelings you wrote about here. Don't you feel so much better after writing it all down?! And you will never know how many people your story with help :) thanks for your honesty! xoxo! ashley @ little miss momma

    1. Ashley thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and for commenting! I can not tell you how much that means to me. I must admit I am a little star struck:) I honestly feel like more women CAN relate to this story, then women that CAN NOT! I absolutely feel a million times better after writing it down and sharing it. Whether 2 people read it or 2,000 it feels good to acknowledge that it happened. Thanks again for being such an amazing inspiration. Blessings! Shannon

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really wish this issue received more attention, and not just judging disdain towards the mothers. Women take birthing classe, mommy&me classes, baby yoga, and a million other things...why not take an informational seminar on PPD? Does something like this even exist? It seems like most women go through these feelings at some point.

    1. Amanda, thank you so much for reading my story. I couldn't agree with you more that we need to be more informed about PPD. I feel like it is something that most women deal with to different degrees, but for some reason we try to keep it such a secret. Hopefully my story can help in some small way. Thanks again for your comment.

  3. You're amazing and courageous to tell your story. XOXO

    1. Thanks Amanda. That means so much to me. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and to leave a comment. I appreciate it more then you know.

  4. Stories like this need to be shared more often. I've battled with post-partum depression (without even realizing what it really was at the time) and my friend is still recovering from it. This is so helpful in putting the pieces together. I'd love if you'd link this up to Titus 2 Tuesday on Cornerstone Confessions. Hope to see you there.


  5. I just followed your link from TT&J and I am so happy that I did!
    This really hit home for me in so many ways. I was so blessed not to have PPD with my first two babies, but with our 3rd {he is nine months old now}....I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet! I felt hopeless, helpless and at the time worthless. I had never been that person before, it was so hard for me to grasp. To have to look at by beautiful kids, and for the first time feel so afraid that I couldn't take care of was a feeling I wouldn't wish on anyone.
    I am so, so grateful for the people I had around me during that time, for my hubby {who must have been just as scared as I was!} and for my doctor who talked me through it all {I was in his office a lot during that time} I do know that everything happens for a reason, and just like you did with writing this post, you are helping so many! Thank you so much for sharing, I am so proud of you! {PS: your kiddos are so beautiful!}


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