If there is one thing every new mom needs to know it is, “You will survive.”
The baby will eventually sleep. She will learn how to feed – whether it is from your breast or a bottle. You will get used to her cries and one day they will no longer flood you with helpless terror. She will be happy and laugh – and you will too.
For some mothers, it may all fall in to place quite easily. The new routines, the sleeplessness, the worries – they may be able to take them in stride.
But for many of us, it is hard, staggeringly hard.
The time between feeds is so short – how can we shower, eat and sleep in one hour?!? The nights are so lonely, with exhaustion stirring fears. The depression is so relentless, crushing us as we try to crawl out of bed each morning.
It isn’t our fault. The chemicals in our brains just aren’t working as they need to be. The hormones washing through our bodies left us unbalanced and broken.
We are not bad mothers; we are not weak people. We need medical help just as if we had lost too much blood during birth or as if cancer cells had started multiplying in our organs.
There should be no shame. NO shame.
But as it all swirls around you and you wonder if you really will lose your mind, let me tell you, “You will survive.”
It might not be pretty. The laundry might pile up. The dishes may not get done. You might survive oncereal and hotdogs.
But it is ok. And you will be ok. And, yes, your baby will be ok.
My depression and anxiety didn’t end with onesies and dirty diapers. No, it is ten years since it began during my first pregnancy and I still struggle.
Some days, like today, I have to go back to bed and sleep to find enough strength to stand up under the weight of it.
But it is so much better than those early, black hole days when I sincerely felt my mind slipping out of my control, when the panic and depression was unbearable and I couldn’t bear to be left alone with my baby.
I got medical help. And I got physical help. My husband did a night feed. I hired babysitters when I had no one else. I called my sister just to say, “I am so depressed — I can’t bear it.”
Do what you have to do to make it through the days and nights. If you don’t have family and friends to help, try to hire help. If one day you will hire a babysitter so you can go on a date night, do it now! Get help and sleep.
And, repeat it every ten seconds if you have to. Believe it because we have lived it. You will survive. You WILL survive.
Janice Croze and her identical twin, Susan Carraretto, are the bloggers behind 5 MInutes for Mom. Both Janice and Susan struggle with depression and anxiety, but they prove that life can be lived successfully and fabulously even whilebattling mental illness.You can talk with the twins on Twitter at @5minutesformom and on their Facebook page.
Donations to Postpartum Progress can be made here: http://postpartumprogress.org/donate-postpartum-depression-2/