When my second baby was born we were in a blissful newborn heaven of sorts. My parents and my in-laws flew in to help me with my 2-year-old daughter while I recovered from my C-section and so I could completely focus on the baby. It was such a wonderful time.
My husband and I were living in New Jersey at the time, away from family. After the baby was born we decided to move back to Florida where we started our story, and where both of our parents live. I was ecstatic I was going to be close to family again, it was too hard being far away.
After my baby turned three months, we packed our things and made trek. However, in that time we hadn't found a place to live and so we had to stay with my parents until then. Right before our trip I got hit with mastitis. I was stressed out (to say the least), and from that moment I started to feel completely overwhelmed by everything that was going on. And most of it had to do with my new baby.
I started feeling stressed out every time he cried, which was often. We had just been removed from our cozy environment into a completely different one and we were both feeling the change.
I started to really hate breastfeeding and though I desperately wanted to quit, my son wasn't taking a bottle, which forced me to keep going. I was hit with mastitis yet again, for the third time. I was constantly feeling sick, and yet with all of these symptoms I was completely unaware that I was having a hard time. I knew the transition to two would come with its hardships, so I just chalked it up to being normal. Motherhood is hard, so I just had to deal, right?
In my mind postpartum depression (PPD) only applied to women right after birth, and I had such a beautiful time those first two months that I completely threw the idea out the window.
I had heard that most women don't actually realize they are going through PPD, when in fact they are—and that was definitely me. Within that time I stayed off social media because pretty, happy posts of women and their children would only add to my worry and sadness.
I have to wonder why I didn't know I was going through this and think the reason is because this depression wasn't constant. I did have moments where everything would go smoothly and I would feel like myself again—however this wasn't always true.
I even had an intervention of sorts from my mom because she was worried. She noticed that there were days I didn't leave the house, days where I would stay in my pajamas all day and hours upon hours that I worried whether my baby was eating enough.
This continued for about two more months. Then one day I was watching an episode of the TV show Blackish where they addressed postpartum depression, and I realized that was exactly how I was feeling. I immediately was able to relate with everything Rainbow Johnson, the mother, was going through.
Now my baby is five months old, and I am finally starting to feel like myself again. My husband and I were able to find a new place, our home is starting to come together and I have started to get the hang of having two kids.
I am also purposefully taking time to take care of myself again: I'm dressing up again because that makes me feel good, I'm spending some quality time with my husband because that makes me feel loved, and I'm taking the kids out for activities because that makes me feel fulfilled. But most importantly, I am finally reaching out to friends and family for help.
This time was a difficult season in my life. And though I still have hard days and things don't always go smoothly, I remind myself it will get easier, that I am a great mom and that I love both of my babies so much.
If you are going through a hard time right now, mama, I just want to remind you of the brighter side of motherhood. You will experience it again. It may take a little work, but you will get there. I promise. Be brave and reach out to those who love you. They want to help.
But most of all I want you to know that you are not alone in this journey. I'm here cheering you on.