As parents and really as people we strive to create some semblance of a balance in our lives. Balance as a worker, balance as a partner, balance as a parent, and of course balance as an individual. In talking to many of my parent friends we find ourselves so overwhelmed to make sure our household stays in order and our children are provided for. How do we find that balance. Keeping our minds and bodies and our souls in check so that our children and our circles know that we are ok. As a mom and someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety with a tad bit of a type AAA personality and ADHD, I am always on the move. If I am sitting I have to be doing something. I am still breastfeeding so proper medication is not an option so I have to create balance somehow. I smile to the outside world, but I am constantly struggling on the inside.
Balance? What is it really? Do I have to sacrifice some creature comforts to achieve this well being? Do I have to compromise some of my drive to be balanced? So many questions and yet they will remain unanswered. I alone have to make the decision. A conscious decision to be ok at what I am doing at this current time. A decision that I may just be an ok parent, teacher, and partner for a little bit and that is ok. My therapist asked me if I have ever not exceeded or gone above and beyond in the roles that I play and I quickly responded in a sheepish manner, No. In my bio I even state that. Here is to trying to be ok at being ok. To find happiness and "balance" in this very unbalanced world I happen to live in!
A really good friend of mine reached out to me a few days ago asking me if I suffered from Postpartum Depression and/or Postpartum Anxiety. She was asking because she has a family member who recently had a baby that is a fairly private person and she wanted to let her know that she had been through it and it is ok. Now this friend of mine is a woman who I have been on a long mental health journey with. We have gone through similar things and have both struggled for most of our lives with forms of depression and anxiety. I replied to her yes I did experience it and also that because of the way everything went down it brought up old feelings of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that I experienced 16 years ago with the death of my brother (a whole other post...one day for sure). As she said her womanly sorries that she had not been there, I assured her that life is busy and truthfully I did not talk about it that much. This made me ponder the fact that most of us do not talk about it at all.
We are women hear us roar right? We know what we are supposed to do to be moms and to try to be strong for these little humans, but nothing can prepare you for the shock of all of your hormones changing and flooding in and out of your system. You can set everything up in preparation but it still hits you like a ton of bricks! I have been in therapy for a long time, with a GREAT therapist, we talked about the possibility of PPD/PPA. We tried to get Matt ready for the reality that it could happen. My chances of getting it are higher not only because of my history but because I had twins, and they even say that because we went through fertility treatments. I was screwed but I could do this, I knew I would be fine, because I prepped so hard, because I had supports in place, because blah, blah blah!
When I delivered my twins at 32 weeks and 3 days after a 2:00 doctors appointment, a magnesium drip that prevented me from seeing those boys, not knowing what was happening and my blood pressure still soaring I was a friggin mess. 5 days after I had that doctors appointment I had to go home. I had to leave my babies on "layaway" and go home. I felt hopeless. I felt like I had failed those little boys. I even felt like I should get pregnant right away again to prove that I could "do it right"! I cried, I cried, I cried. Matt thank goodness is a pretty laid back guy to my type AAA personality, but I am sure he felt lost. And I just cried. In the shower, in the car, if you said hi to me wrong, I cried. When you first have your babies you have the baby blues with all the hormones that fluctuate, so this is what I choked it all up to.
I called my therapist to report the news of the boys birth. No appointment was made yet, I could not drive due to the c-section and shit I had to pump and go see the boys every day. Or else I would be an even worse mother in my head. I went through the motions. The motions of pumping liquid gold for my fellas, eating maybe, trying to avoid pregnant people because I couldn't handle it, and trying to function all for those guys. In my past this is how I've survived. I function to function. I know how to put on a happy face and get shit done. And during this that is what I did. It is what I forced myself to do.
Days and weeks past I was still crying. I had seen my therapist, got my babies sprung from NICU, and I was still a hot mess! I had seen the pediatrician and my OB and they give you this quiz that indicated I was heading towards depression but I chalked it up to just getting my boys home. I could NOT take that darn questionnaire anymore. I knew. I knew I was miserable. I knew in my head that I had failed and was failing. We had a Bris for the boys and I do not know why people even spoke to me, because I was a hot ball of crying mess.
But I still waited to let anyone change my meds or even talk to psychiatrist about a med change or postpartum anything. By the end of March we were past this 3 month mark that would change the diagnosis from "baby blues" to actual postpartum depression and or anxiety. My therapist called my shrink and got me in quick. He drilled me on my thoughts, told me to stop breastfeeding and added a miracle drug to my regimine.
If you think for a minute it changed when I snapped my fingers and took that first pill you would be wrong. Its a process. I still struggle. I have to say to people at times I know that I look ok, but I am not. I have a lot of anxiety and depression and something I long ago accepted that I may be on meds and in therapy for the rest of my life. Which is ok. I will be ok. You will be ok.
Jenifer Roth is a full time super woman...in her mind! Well she is good at being ok at the all the roles she takes on. Enjoy the ride!