I continuously see post after post on the internet of lists of things I don’t know about this disorder, that disorder, having a baby, going back to work after having a baby. I’m sure they’re all true. I’m sure no one told me these things.
But here, right here, is the most important thing to remember that maybe no one will tell you about your postpartum depression:
It is your own.
You can look up PPD on every site you can find and none of them will fully touch what you are going through. You are going through hell, and hell is a very personal place.
What you do to survive this hell is also going to be different from what your friend, your mom, and the writers on this page are going to tell you to do.
Here is what I can tell you about surviving your postpartum depression:
Cling to something.
I remember feeling like a boat out at sea; right smack in the middle of the sea. I couldn’t see the shore. I would sob all day and stare at my newborn in her swing across the room from me and not know what to do.
What I did do was take her picture. I took maybe a million pictures of her a day. I would dress her up, each day, in an adorable outfit that I purchased while pregnant with her. I would remember what I felt when I was buying things for her: excitement, adoration, love. I would be in the stores, clutching tiny pink pants and little hooded sweatshirts, picturing how perfect my daughter would look in each thing.
I forgot all of those feelings when they pulled my baby out of me. So, I set to remembering. I would put her in those outfits, even if we had nowhere to go, and I would hold little photoshoots for her in my living room. I would put them online for the world to see. I would read the comments about how lovely my child was, and my isn’t that outfit perfect?
It was. It was perfect.
I did that every day as I sat in my old pajamas, ratty hair, and sunken eyes. I would cling to that one idea, to that one moment.
It wasn’t much but it kept my head above the water most days.
I am not saying this will work for you, or your sister, or your friend. No one told me to dress my baby up and take pictures of her. It just seemed like something that would shine a tiny light in my darkness and you, as a warrior mom, will have to find your own tiny light.
You can do this. I did.