I’m writing this for all the mothers who will come after me, and for all of the mothers that came before me and felt too ashamed to speak up. For fear that it might make them look less capable, crazy, or less of the amazing mother that they are.
I am the mother of a beautiful, intelligent, perfect, three month old baby girl. I am also the wife of a wonderful, caring, kind husband who has epilepsy. I am also a working mom, a breastfeeding mom, and oftentimes, it feels that the entire world rests on my shoulders.
Since having my baby girl three months ago, I have struggled with the upheaval that has become my life. I have all of this energy running through my veins, but I have no motivation to get up. I cry at the drop of a hat, I have panic attacks. The only thing that brings me joy is my baby girl. But there are moments- when she is inconsolable, crying in my ear, that I feel that the world is closing in around me. My breath quickens, I feel sick and sad, I cry with her.
Once I was holding her in the kitchen, singing Baby Beluga to calm her, tears streaming down my face. Adam appeared behind me and took her from my arms, and I buckled over and cried. Why am I feeling this way? How can I fix it? How can I function as the wife, employee, and mother I need to be?
The day I first reached out for help- eight weeks post partum- I was met with odd resistance when I explained my panicky moments. My OB wouldn’t prescribe anything and referred me to a primary care doctor, which I didn’t have since moving here a year ago- I frantically called every doctor, psychiatrist and womens health center I could find, hyperventilating in my car while my baby slept soundly in her seat- tears streaming down my face. “Help me, please. I need to talk to someone.” Each one said the same thing: “We can’t get you in for three weeks.” It was only when I said the words out loud that I knew I couldn’t hold inside any longer, “I can’t make it three weeks. I need someone today.” That I was taken seriously.
When I began to share my story, mothers flocked to me and shared their own post-partum struggles. “It’s normal,” they said. “I went through it too.” In fact, nearly 85% of new moms experience some sort of post partum mood disorder, but we don’t talk about it! We don’t know what to say to each other to help each other out, because it makes us seem less of a “put together” person- someone who is struggling emotionally when they have everything in the world to live for- how selfish can you be, so worried about nothing!
When you’re in the hormonal bubble, it’s hard to see outside the walls of it. It’s hard to explain it to your mom, or your best friend, or your partner. Some days, you just exist. Some days you stare at your computer and do your work and keep your head down, feigning a smile when a co-worker asks how you’re doing. At the end of the day, you race home to see your baby- the only thing that brings you joy. And for a few hours, everything is okay.
We need to erase the stigma that comes with post-partum mood disorders. You’re not alone; I’m not alone. The transition back to work is hard, the transition into motherhood is hard- but so incredibly worth it. I’m a work in progress. I’m a career woman chasing my dreams- while juggling a marriage, a household, my mental health- and my new, perfect, baby girl.
10 thoughts on “The Battle”
This is beautiful, Laylan. You certainly are not alone. Xxxx
Thank you, Amie!
Hi Laylan, I’m sorry you have to go through this. Your obgyn did not handle this correctly. I also suffered through this and was lucky to have a great doctor who monitored it closely. She put me on anti anxiety medicine, which really helped. You are wonderful for sharing and being vocal. Being a working mom with a husband that is sick is so stressful. You’re doing a great job and your girl is perfect :). -Angela
Angela, I think you and I share a sisterhood of knowing what “better or for worse” really means! Thank you for your kind words!
This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I too suffer from anxiety now that I am a mother. Never ever having had any type of mood disorder I had a very hard time coming and still do. Thank god for family, good Drs and my baby girl. ❤️ Thank you so much for sharing. You are not ALONE!
Thank you Amanda! The more I share my story, the more I realize I truly AM NOT ALONE! I wish that I had known that while I was struggling so quietly with this for months!
I hope that you realize how treasured you are by our family.
You have been a miracle working with Adam. I have never seen him so full of life and hope. You have been such strength to him.
Getting in school and back in the mainstream of life has been fantastic. People may have the ability to do something, but they need a cheerleader to keep reminding them.
Johnnie and I love you so much.
We think of you guys daily, but then the frequent pictures my granddaughter also help keeping you at the forefront.
My sweet daughter, i am so incredibly proud of you. You are amazing. I want to take all the stress and worry and anxiety from you. My heart hurts when u hurt just as you will for your daughter. I want to hold you and hug you, all the while telling u things will be ok. I want to be right there with you and ny precious baby, Marlowe and Adam. Life is a journey, a struggle , with all kinds of twists and turns. I know how strong u are and will continue to be for everyone in your life. No one should ever think less of themselves when needing any type of help. Asking takes all kinds of courage, like you have, the swalllowing of pride. You are my precious, beautiful, smart, courageous daughter whom i love with all my heart. You are a super star Mama. Your beautiful daughter smiles just because u walk by her. Thank you, my sweetheart for just being you. You are my ❤! Mom
Thank god someone’s talking about this. I went through a slew of post partum evils after my daughter was born. Everything from stitches accidentally falling out early, chemically getting cauterized by silver nitrate treatments that made me scream, breastfeeding in pain for 4 months with every feeding because my daughter had a tongue tie corrected and I had to retrain her latch, to 8 cavities and 3 root canals due to enamel loss while pregnant. That on top of going back to work, dealing with hormone ups and downs, and sleep deprivation – post partum is essentially torture. EXCEPT when you look at the little baby you’ve been given and it’s all worth it. But that doesn’t get you through every second of every day. Where were the post partum/life transition classes before birth? Every single mother and father needs that class to exist.
I hear you and know exactly what you’re going through. The only thing that’s helped thus far is being able to talk to other mom friends (really just my sister) and going to clinical counseling. That and time. Which no one wants to hear that answer, but it’s true. For now, chat as much as you can to a friendly ear or therapist (heck, email/call me!) and know that you’re one strong lady who’s an amazing mother for providing for your family at work and at home.