I've heard that becoming a mother can be a lonesome thing, but I thought since I'm an introvert who enjoys solitude, it wouldn't feel that way for me. Wrong. Perhaps it's harder, because my instinct is to nest and stay to myself, but it's not helpful for me as I continue to deal with postpartum depression/anxiety.
Note: this post was originally published in October 2019, when I was four months postpartum with my first baby. I have republished to generate awareness about postpartum anxiety/depression. Comment below if you can relate or need support!
I Thought I had Conquered it
Speaking of…so our little guy is now 4 months old, and things with him have been going super well.
He's gaining weight, exclusively consuming breast milk, and no major illnesses or issues. But my postpartum anxiety and depression is rearing its ugly head and after getting my period again for the first time since pregnancy and childbirth the yucky, lonely, angry feelings from immediately after postpartum resurfaced.
The anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, inability to just deal…I'm on a pretty low dosage of anti-anxiety medication, and the psychiatrist had told me I most likely would have to increase in the future, though I was reluctant to do so (there is still so much stigma related to psychiatric care) but after feeling those old simmering impulses come back, it's worth it for me to feel my regular/balanced self. So I am on a stronger dose now, and I feel immediately better.
FOMO and Lost friendships
It's not come without issue, though. Hubby is concerned about the effect of it on my body, and breastfeeding (I'm on the medication I'm on because the doctor said there has been tons of research on the medication's effects on pregnancy and breast milk) and because we would like to try for another baby soon. Anyways!
I knew friendships were going to change after giving birth, but it's still a hard thing. I'm grieving my old life and want to remain relevant with friends and it's all so fraught with a mixture of happiness and joy (because I'm a mother and I wasn't sure I would ever be experiencing this!) and sadness, and anxiety, and….lots of FOMO.
I missed four weddings this past summer. And I don't have the words or capacity to explain how surreal all of this is: that I can experience both the most ultimate joy and fullness, but also emptiness and fear and sadness. Even writing about it makes me feel ungrateful! This new mothering thing is the hardest thing I've ever done, and while most of my friends do seem to understand, I myself am having a hard time making sense of it all 😭😫
Nourishing Myself and Baby
I'm focused on getting outside with the baby more, taking him on walks for both his well-being and mine. I hope I start to feel better again, and more myself, and not so stuck in my head and crazy. It's a scary thing, what this mixture of postpartum hormones and life can do to a person. I know that grounding myself in the practices that have made me remember who I am will also help me address these mental health issues: exercising, connecting with hubby, writing, and reaching out to family and friends.
It's a scary time but hubby and my inner circle are giving me lots of support.