This is a blog I have been wanting to write for a long time. I wanted to wait until we made the news of my pregnancy public before I wrote it though.
We decided we were ready for another baby, but then very quickly fear began to take over. We decided, "let's just wait another 6 months and revisit the idea then." Well, too late. I was apparently already pregnant. I knew it the moment it happened, but I stayed in complete denial until the day I took a pregnancy test. I took the test and instead of joy, there were hysteria. I was crying so hard I could barely breathe. Believe me, it wasn't from joy. I was terrified. All I could think of was how hard postpartum was for me with my son. I could feel the depression. I could feel the anxiety all flooding back. Overwhelmed was an understatement. As if all those feelings weren't enough, guilt began to creep in. How could I feel such sorrow and heartache about a positive pregnancy test when so many women cry and pray for this? I had a lot of very loud, very aggressive voices screaming my head.
Emotions are fierce and strong. They can also be so misleading. We cannot let our emotions win. We are in control of our emotions, not the other way around. I had to take a lot of time to process, and I talked to some other friends who had experienced surprise pregnancies. I feel like there is a lot of stigma around not being on cloud 9 because you're pregnant but i'm here today to say it's really okay. If we don't work through our emotions then we are never going to be able to move past them. They are part of our story, but they are not the dictators of our final destination. I think that is something any woman who has had a perinatal mood disorder needs to know.
I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety for 15 months. That's not a short amount of time. It took a toll on every aspect of my life. I think it's normal and okay that those fears from my first postpartum popped up as soon as I found out there would be a new baby with its own new postpartum. There's one big difference now though. I know so much more. I'm not going to let the depression catch me by surprise. I'm going to start now to prepare for a better postpartum.
Here are some ways I'm going to do that:
- Plan on having my placenta encapsulated.- So many women swear by this. They say that they can feel such a difference when they take their placenta pills. There is several fantastic placenta encapsulation services out there now. Do your research and find the right one for you.
- Process who had a positive impact last time and who had a negative one.-This is a big one for me. There were several different people who were a part of my overall experience last time. Some of which really did help but others who really only brought stress. I don't want to sound like a jerk but this time the people who brought stress won't be invited. It had such a negative impact on me. I was already completely overwhelmed with my new baby and all the breastfeeding issues we were having. People who spoke negatively of what I was trying to do or disregarded my wishes for my baby are not people who I can have around me this time when I am trying to protect my postpartum. Boundaries are important.
- Have a list of postpartum resources ready.- I was too overwhelmed last time to even look up counselors, much less find ones who really understood postpartum. This time I have that ready as well as lists of supplements and oils that can help too.
- Attend a postpartum support group now.- I attended a group as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I was welcomed with open arms. It didn't matter to a single person there that I wasn't currently struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety. I had been there just like they were currently there in their struggle. Motherhood is a tribe. It has to be, it's too hard to do this solo.
- Realize God has my postpartum in His hands.- My faith is a big part of my life. I trust that God is a God who redeems and restores. He can absolutely do that with my postpartum. When I try to stay in control then things are overwhelming and more than I can handle. When I trust God is in control, then I know He promises that His strength is strongest in weakness which will get me through all of it.
I do not have this all figured out, I promise. Some days fear wins, and it wins big. So I shake that day off, go to sleep, wake up, and try again. I fight for peace and joy. I hope over time that it will get easier for me, but even if it doesn't it is still worth the fight. I was not created to live a life in fear and depression and neither were you. Life is meant to be full of joy. Try to take joy in even the smallest things. Sometimes it's just the starting point you need to head towards a better postpartum.