Dear New Mom,
Please allow me to say this to you: I KNOW.
I know how you're feeling. I do. I will never forget what it felt like.
On June 29, 2005, I delivered my third son. Exactly 12-and-a-half months after delivering my second son. Thankfully my mother came to help me that summer and I managed to hold myself together pretty well while she was around.
But in September my mom left and I returned to work part-time, 2 days a week.
Work was my salvation. At work there was no crying. No diapers. I was able to be Sarah, not Mommy. Yet I would feel guilty for liking being away from home.
The days I was home all day were rough. I found myself constantly on the edge. Constantly guilty that there was just never enough of me to go around for my three children all under the age of 4. I felt like I was failing motherhood.
If I had to use one word to describe my state of mind at that time it would be this: OVERWHELMED.
I cried. A lot. And when I wasn't crying, I was MAD.
Later that fall I was able to get away for a Girls Weekend in Myrtle Beach, but when I returned, I knew I couldn't go on pretending nothing was wrong. What kind of mother, after three nights away, dreads going back home? Me, that's who.
So I made an appointment to see my OB/GYN.
My OB/GYN was a godsend. I sat in her office, tears streaming from my eyes as I vented to her about all the ways in which I thought I was a bad mother. And how I just felt so damned OVERWHELMED.
And she listened. Without judgment.
At first, I was very hesitant when she suggested I begin taking an antidepressant for my postpartum. I mean, how could I have postpartum depression when my baby was already six months old? (Actually, symptoms can appear anytime during pregnancy and the entire first year after birth.)
Certainly more so then in 2005 than now there was a stigma attached to being on an antidepressant. Besides my husband and my mother, I didn't tell anyone. I felt like I had a dirty little secret.
It took about a month until I started to feel differently. And then my lows? Were bearable. Tolerable.
I slowly started to feel more in control. More able to handle the stresses of everyday life with three young children.
A new me; a better me.
SarahViz blogs on her personal website In the Trenches of Mommyhood, and lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three sons, ages 8, 5 and 4. She is a full-time paralegal and is thankful for TJMaxx, red wine and Celexa (not necessarily in that order).