We Don't Give Up

Linking up today with Shell

It has been seven months since I had my baby and started trying to sift my way through my recovery with Postpartum Depression. I've had really great moments, days, and weeks, where I feel like I'm myself again, I'm on top of things, I'm beginning to get things back in order. I take my boys on fun outings, I go visit with friends, I'm exercising daily (almost), I'm sleeping well, I'm not yelling or snapping as much at my kids, I do little things for my husband, I make dinners, I remember to feed the cat, even her Fancy Feast, not just the dry food.

And then I have have moments, days, and yes, weeks, like this current one, where I don't feel good in all ways, body and spirit. I struggle to get out of bed and I randomly start crying while reading my sons a story at nap time (and am fortunately able to quickly cover it up before they notice), where I pray in my heart and my head for help to just make it to the baby's morning nap ... and then to the afternoon nap ... and then finally to bedtime. To just survive.

I was venting to a close family member last night about the guilt that I have in my heart for having Postpartum Depression. I kept saying how guilty I felt that my family has had to go through this with me, to watch me and come along on this roller coaster ride. I feel guilty that no matter how hard I try, I am not enough. That right when I feel like I'm coming back to myself again, I fall back down. And I don't know why. That more than anything in the world ... I just want to be me again. And I am trying with every ounce of energy and strength that I have to win this battle and come out on top, if not for myself, for the sake of my family.

My family member said, "You keep saying that you feel guilty about having postpartum depression, as if you had a choice. Suzie, you did not choose to have this affliction right now in your life. It just happened, for a lot of different reasons. You didn't choose it."

It was as if the light bulb went on inside myself when she said this. She is right. I didn't choose for myself to be completely obliterated after I had this baby. Real depression is not a choice. It is not something that you can just say to yourself one day, "I'm going to be happy today!" and you are. It is a very real, dark, and incredibly lonely place.

That being said, I have searched my mind and heart many times these last 7 months as I have prayed for the understanding of what it is that I am supposed to learn from this trial. And there have been many things;

* Because of going through this, I have developed great empathy for people that really, truly struggle with depression on a daily basis. My heart goes out to them, because, I finally get it.
* I have always been very hard on myself and an extreme perfectionist. I generally give myself no allowances. This whole experience has been slowly teaching me to be nicer to myself, to cut myself some slack.
* It has also forced me to slow my life down, which has been extremely frustrating for me. I am someone who likes their downtime, but I also thrive on structure, routine, organization, schedules, predictability, and achieving goals, whatever they are. I have been forced to let go of some structure, to become more flexible with schedules, to recognize that life with two boys under the age of 3 is anything but predictable, that maybe my goal for the day is to take care of myself and my kids. That's it. Maybe the dishes got done, maybe not, who cares right now.
* It has made me begin to evaluate the kind of person that I really want to be, what things should truly matter to me. One major thing I've realized is that no one is going to take care of me except me. I mean in terms of eating well and exercising, getting the sleep I need, figuring out what my passions are and what I want to do at this stage of my life. No one will provide self care for me except myself, and it is important to do it, and is also empowering.

Sometimes I get discouraged that I have not been "cured" 7 months into the process. I've always been one that wants a quick fix and closure. But, that has not happened yet. So, I continue to wake up everyday and pray for the energy and strength to get through another day, to try my best to have a positive and flexible outlook on my daily life. I'm extremely grateful for my beautiful, beautiful boys, and hope that one day they will read these things and see that when trials occur in life, we don't give up. We put one foot in front of the other, one week, day, second, moment at a time, until one day, we're running with joy and confidence in what we have been through and who we have become.

Comments

Shell said…
I'm so glad you had someone point that out to you, that you didn't have a choice, this is just something that happened to you that you are working through. xo
Diana Oliver said…
I read "No More Perfect Moms" last year after having my second and it made such a difference for me. I learned to give myself grace which I never considered before reading that book. I hope you continue to have more good days then bad!
Olivia said…
Hi!

I'm sorry I'm posting this as a comment, but I couldn't find any other way of contacting you on your blog! My name is Olivia and I work at Salt Lake Acting Company. Every year we have a children's musical as a part of our season, and this year we are proud to present "A Year with Frog and Toad", a Tony-nominated children's musical based on the books by Arnold Lobel. We would love to offer you and your family comp tickets to the opening weekend of the show if you'd be willing to share some thoughts about it with your followers! If you're interested, please e-mail me at olivia@saltlakeactingcompany.org and we can hash out the details.

Thank you so much!!

Olivia

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