Far Worse than Labor: Back To The Surface

 

My doctor reassured me that I wasn’t crazy. He told me postpartum depression (PPD) was a common disorder, one that could be helped. Some mild medication and a PPD mom’s group through our local health association were my prescriptions. He also told me to take yoga…but the thought of wearing yoga pants furthered my depression.

Next, my husband, without a hint of judgment, let me cry and process the news in my own time.

All the while, he remained Super-Dad and helped with the kids whenever he was home. The mundane tasks of home life (changing diapers, making meals, cleaning the washroom) were not “beneath” him, and he served our family with patience and love.

My mom and dad, upon hearing the news of my diagnosis (and even before this), were often at our house playing with our kids, washing loads of laundry, doing a sink load of dishes, and simply being present. It helped to know that I wasn’t going through it alone.

I know that God was with me through this difficult time in my life, and though I hardly had the strength to pray (it was often just an utterance of “Lord, help me”), I know he never left me.

His strength is made perfect in weakness—and weak, I was. 

A good friend of mine invited me to play on her soccer team a couple of summers ago. I agreed reluctantly as the PPD had not yet passed and I was still nursing my youngest. I also feared I would be so out of shape that I would collapse on the field. I had a myriad of excuses. However, becoming active again was a springboard for me to realize how much I loved and missed sports. Not only was I making friends and getting in better shape, but I loved knowing that I was regaining my mental health. I could actually feel it. Being outside, running, competing…all of these factored in to me returning to myself. 

Who was my “self” though? Was it the young, unmarried athlete with no kids? Was it the young mom of one child on maternity leave?

The mom trying to keep her head above water? No, the self I returned to didn’t look the way I thought it would. 

I now have dreams and goals that are bringing me life, and I’m taking risks. Along with continuing to play soccer, I’ve taken up Tae Kwon Do for the first time, started rock climbing again, begun an adult parkour class, and auditioned to be in a couple of local musicals (and even landed some small roles!). Even though I am busier (since I also work part-time at a job that I love), I am a better mother to my kids when I return home energized and, well, happy.

My husband notices my joy increasing, and I’m definitely more fun to be around. 

It was two short years ago that I felt I was stuck in a mire, a deep pit I would never be able to climb out of. Now, looking back, I am grateful to those who reached down and offered their hand to help pull me out. It seems almost like a distant memory… “Did that really happen to me?” I am living proof that one can survive PPD and thrive afterward. I am a work-in-progress, as we all are, but I know that I am created for a purpose: to be the best mother and wife that I can be, and to pursue the dreams placed within me. 

- Bethany