Within the first few months of being a new mother I knew something was wrong. I wasn’t feeling like me. It was more than just feeling sad. It was more than being exhausted. Something was off, and I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was. I suspected it was PPD, but being the way I am I tried to shrug off the notion. That happens to other people, not me.
Growing up I was the annoyingly happy person, and I knew it. My goal was to spread sunshine and daisies, bringing smiles and hope to everyone around me. So when this major shift happened I was scared. I felt alone. No matter how much I tried to shrug it off, it was still there. It was a shadow that wouldn’t go away.
I was ecstatic to be a mother, and my love for my daughter was larger than life itself. Life was oh so good. So why couldn’t I shake this feeling?
Among other symptoms, the crying fits happened increasingly. It wasn’t until I finally looked my husband in the eye with tears streaming down my face and saw his worry that I knew I couldn’t shrug this off anymore.
“I think I have PPD.”
I had no idea what an impact so few words could have. Acknowledging the darkness for what it was like cutting a hole in the fabric blocking the sun. It didn’t take the shadow away, but suddenly there was light. Hope. It was that pivotal moment that made all the difference.
One of my favorite children’s books is “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. In this world we so often go around placing stars and dots on each other. At one point I was afraid that admitting I was struggling with PPD would stick a big fat gray dot on me. It took me until just a few weeks ago to learn that, as simple as it seems, I am not postpartum depression. The dot that I thought postpartum depression has made of me is actually non-existent.
Though I am experiencing PPD, it is not who I am. You and I? We have potential to do all things, and that makes us special. Despite our difficulties, we have worth. That worth doesn’t go anywhere. And to me, that is wonderful.
There are still days that are darker than others, but that sliver of light keeps me going. That sliver of light reminds me that I can be happy. It reminds me that I am a good mother. It reminds me that I am not postpartum depression. That little sliver of light that came from those few words of acknowledgement made the world of difference for me. And knowing that makes me sure it can do the same for you.