It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on my postpartum depression recovery, but with a big change approaching I figure now is as good a time as any. Two years ago today A was 22 days old, and I had just spent my first few weeks with her. I remember not feeling the PPD symptoms as strong the first month, honestly because I was exhausted, but as time went on things slowly got worse. And now here we are two years later. A just had her second birthday, Tyler and I get married in a week, and we move. Those are the big elements of my life that are changing. But to tell you the truth, I still feel like a wandering duck. So let me explain…
When I first realized I had postpartum depression most of my free time was spent researching every aspect of this disorder. The one thing that always stuck out to me was the average recovery time. Every article I read stated that recovery took about 1-2 years, and I’ve held on to those numbers for the past two years. After A’s first birthday I can say my recovery was going well. A was in a daycare twice a week, I was going on auditions, and life was starting to return back to normal. By then I could recognize my triggers, when my lows would start, and I had a plan to get through it. Life seemed to be on track, and then we started to plan our wedding.
I always hear how stressful the wedding process can be, and I believe we’ve experienced the worst of it. Situations I never thought I would find myself in have met me head on, and my mental state hasn’t been the greatest. At first it was easy to brush off the little inconveniences and just move on. And I’ve relied heavily on my Mom and Tyler to be the voice of reason, to talk me down, and remind me of the end goal. But you see this entire wedding has been one big trigger for me. It set something off that I’ve come to realize hasn’t been addressed, my partnership.
For Tyler and I this recovery was just about making it through, and getting things back to “normal.” But our dynamic has completely changed, not only because we had a child, but because darkness consumed this life event that was meant to be so joyous, and put a wedge between us. We didn’t worry about date nights, or breakfast in bed because we were just trying to make it through. I tried my best not to make this recovery a burden on my family, and instead I separated them from it all. I didn’t ask for help with my lows, or even explain what was going on. In my head I thought they should already know, but if you’ve never experienced it before there’s no way of understanding the process.
So I started explaining my experience, and exactly what I needed. I reached out to friends that were always there-the friends that told me countless times they were around to talk. I stopped pushing people out because this is no longer something I can deal with on my own, because the depression hasn’t subsided. As stressful as this wedding process has been, it’s taught me a valuable lesson in how I will move forward with my life…I cannot do this alone. Which is why I have made the decision to seek outside guidance, to talk to a third party who isn’t invested in my daily life, who can offer guidance and help me map out a plan. And I won’t hide my experience from my loved ones as if it’s something I should be ashamed of.
Your maternal mental health can’t be defined by numbers or statistics. The recovery process will take however long it needs to take. It will be an aspect of your life that made you a stronger mother, partner, and human being. As hard as this time in my life has been it’s shown me how far I can go, and has helped me understand an aspect of health I always took for granted. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and should be treated as such.
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