Thought I’d give ya’ll a bit of an update that also ties in with me speaking (eee! 😬) at the Daisy Dash 5K (proceeds go to Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota to help continue with their mission to support new and expectant parents struggling with perinatal mood or anxiety disorders, loss, birth trauma, and anything else that comes along with having babies) on Saturday, May 21 (full moon, peeps! 🌕🔮 coming full circle!).
I remember two years ago attending the Daisy Dash just shy of eight weeks postpartum. At that point I couldn’t even go to Target, face my friends, or drive in the car alone with my son, so I don’t know how I was able to find the inner courage to make it to the walk, but I am so glad I did.
I look back now and notice super small seeds of strength being planted, and I am so grateful because today those seeds are now beautiful flowers in my life that I get to enjoy.
So, to back up, two years ago I had postpartum psychosis which was followed by postpartum anxiety and PTSD. Undiagnosed anxiety during pregnancy due to a miscarriage and a traumatic birth landed me in the hospital for psychosis when my sweet son, River, was just over a week old.
I am so glad I was able to get the care I needed so quickly, with the help of my supportive family, otherwise I don’t think I would be here right now.
Here I am now, two years and a few months postpartum…being asked to speak out loud about my experience. I never thought that would happen. And it’s not because I’m special or unique, but because I had the bravery, maybe just like you, to say “It can get better” coupled with a passion to make sure mamas know they’re not alone.
Along the journey, and it has been a winding one, sometimes full of dark caverns and raging rapids, I’ve learned a few things. I’ll share three today and I hope they bring you peace. First…
You are exactly who your child hoped and wished for
Very simply, no matter what happened, or what will continue to happen with those little parenting slip ups that are bound to be a part of the journey, you are the perfect mother for your child…postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis, PTSD, and all. Keep showing up. They don’t need you to be different or plaster a fake smile on your face, they just need you to be there and care. By showing your child that life isn’t always perfect and we aren’t always meant to be all sunshine-y and happy is an incredible GIFT. We’d never expect our children to be happy all the time. It’s just not gonna happen. Allow your children and your experience to open you up accepting the present moment (no matter what!) and embracing imperfection.
Accept that you will never be the same again
I am hearing a resounding “Duh,” but this one is a toughie. I know it was for me. I thought I could as they say, “Keep calm and carry on” with my old self after I had my son, but what actually happened was a complete rebirth spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It is HARD to say goodbye to that person you were before. And on top of what is probably the toughest experience you’ve ever had, you’re expected to land on your feet and be the same person you were before. That won’t happen. You will never be the same again, but you will be better. This may sound crazy, but that horrifying experience you survived is full of so many gifts and underneath it all, a beautiful new person who is so much more capable of loving not only her new child and family, but herself. This new person is also more sensitive (one of the most glorious gifts, friends), someone who has the ability to sustain life just by simply being, and someone who knows when it is time to use “The Golden Rule” with herself first. Allow this new you to unfold in its own time. You may not recognize this person yet, but in time you will love her with all your heart as you do your own child.
The path to healing is a winding river
Some days are gonna be amazing and some days you’re going to wonder if you’re getting better at all. You are. I promise. Healing is very rarely a straight line. Healing looks more like a river…winding through the rapids, maybe a waterfall or two, and then peaceful calm. Don’t forget to continue to ask for and seek out the help you need. And remember, healing is going to look different for all of us and that’s OK! Do what you need to do to be your best in this moment without worrying about what it looks like to others. And paddling upstream has never been easy for anyone. Just keep flowing and have faith that wherever the river takes you today is where you are meant to be.
I leave you with this…
“Our scars are someone else’s signs of hope.” The wonderful Danielle La Porte wrote that and it is so fitting for those in the postpartum mood disorder recovery tribe.
Just your presence and bravery to be here is powerful beyond measure.
So that’s where I’m at two years postpartum. I’m so happy I chose to stay. And so, so grateful.
My heart is hugging your heart, friends 💜