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The Truth About Postpartum

Shawna Kitchin

Ever since we got pregnant with Arya, I had the fear of having postpartum depression. The entire pregnancy I was anxious that something bad was going to happen, and I just had this feeling hanging over me that I wasn't allowed to be happy for this new baby in our lives. Why should I be allowed to be happy? Isn't that selfish? How can I be happy about something when it gives me so much fear. What if she has a heart condition? What if I'm a terrible mom? What if there is something else wrong with her that we aren't prepared for? I mean, let's face it. You can never prepare yourself for your child becoming ill, or terminal. 

Even after we had the checkup that gave us the all clear with Arya, I still didn't feel happy. It was more of a sense of relief. I could finally start doing stuff around the house to prepare for her, but I never really felt like it was actually going to happen. I never got that excited feeling that we were bringing our baby home, because we never got that feeling the first time. But we did get to bring her home, and I think that's when I finally felt like I could get excited. 

Here we are with this new human in our house, who doesn't know anything bad in the world. She just knows the love we give her and she's so innocent. She doesn't understand emotions, and doesn't understand why I cry. Which, maybe in some way, she does know. I know she can feel when I'm upset, or having a bad day. I try not to let it show to her, but sometimes it just has to come out. 

Let me back it up a bit to when I was a sophomore in high school, because that's how long i've battled depression. I didn't know that's what it was at the time, but it's always been an issue for me. At that time in my life, I was at an all time low. I didn't know how to handle my emotions and I had serious thoughts about ending my life. I had it written out how I wanted to do it. I had given it to a friend, and thankfully, she turned it into someone and I got help. I was hospitalized for a week. All because of something stupid. I look back now and think wow, that's what I was depressed about? That's what was so hard in my life, that I thought about ending my life? Over that? Come on now. You're stronger than that. I put on my big girl pants from then on out, and hid my emotions alot better. 

Then Jaxton happened, and I felt a whole new kind of depression. I think ever since him I have been battling postpartum depression and it just never went away. I was on medication and I was in therapy to help me cope, but it was all just to help cover it up. Yes, I felt better, but I wasn't 100%. I'm sure people could tell, they just didn't want to say anything. They still don't, which is fine. I'm good at dealing with things on my own. I still go to therapy, which really does help. 

Now let me say this. Not once since bringing Arya home have I thought about harming myself or her. That has never once crossed my mind. However, I have never felt so alone in my life. And I have told Craig all of this, and thank goodness for him, because he is truly my rock. Craig works the night shift, half of the week. So when he's home, he's usually sleeping. He's stayed up on his days off but I know he's exhausted, but he does it to help me. Just to give me a break. I feel alone in the sense that the conversation I have throughout the day is baby babble. I don't have adult interaction. I feel alone because when I go to Walmart for 30 minutes to grab something, I'm almost having an anxiety attack because I feel like I'm gone too long. I feel alone because of the comments we get about co-sleeping. But guess what, that is what works for us. I know its dangerous, and I never wanted to start it, but I have to compromise. If I didn't get sleep, I think I would be much more depressed and I need to be there for my daughter. I feel alone because all these comments make me feel like a terrible mother. I feel like everything I'm doing is wrong and I am not providing the best for her. I remind myself everyday that there is no better mother for my daughter than me. And I tell myself that over and over and over again. 

I know that anytime the comments are made, they're said with the best intentions. But let me fill you in, I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I'M DOING. And that makes me feel like a terrible mother all over again. So when we find something that works, we roll with it. If that means laying down with my daughter at 7pm to get her to sleep through the night, well by all means goodnight. I feel like because of the way things have gone for us since we've gotten home, I've lost some important people in my life. I hardly see friends because honestly, I don't have the energy to keep up anymore. Trying to take Arya anywhere is scary because I don't know if she'll be in a good mood, or bad mood. So that gives me anxiety too. I hear someone cough, and I run the other direction. I'm trying to do the best for her but I don't feel like I can because I'm not 100%. 

But then she smiles. I can not even be paying attention to her as she's eating, but I look down because she's stopped and she just smiles. So big. And in that moment, I know I have to be doing something right. 

I'm not even sure what the intentions of this post were. It was just one of those things, I need to get it all off my chest. I'm sure it was a lot of rambling and none of it made sense, but that's fine because that's how my mind works now a days. Please know, if you are battling postpartum depression, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are enough, and you are the best mama for that baby. If you need help, seek it out. Whether that be medication, therapy, or just talking to a friend. Seek that help out. 

Until Next time, 

XOXO

Shawna 


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