I had postpartum depression and it didn’t look like what I thought it would.
As a new mom with twin girls who are now one years old, I will tell you nothing can prepare you for those first four months with your first child. I think we all have a little postpartum during those months, some just more or less than others. I believe postpartum is a very real thing that is very common and not talked about enough. While I believe this, I didn’t think I was suffering from it so I wasn’t able to really talk about it. I talk about what I know and this is something I did NOT know until now.
The entire first year of my girls life as been a roller coaster. They were born at 30 weeks and five days weighing just under three pounds. We started their first two months of life in the NICU and at 4½ pounds we brought them home. When I hit around the five to six month time, I remember thinking, “I’ve got this! I’m coming out of the fog and I’m ready to get back to work and get a hold on my life now with kids.” I am fortunate that we found help so I could go back to work during the day and that I have a husband who is all in and hands-on when he’s home. He is a firefighter so works 24 hours on, 24 hours off and is very supportive of my work and my mental health!
I really did feel like I was getting my groove back and then it happened: Around the 9 month mark shortly after I stopped breast feeding I started to get this very real feeling of insecurity and exhaustion. I questioned everything I was doing, what people were saying about me, what they were thinking about me and what I was doing with work and at home. I was exhausted all the time. Remember that exhaustion you felt when you were first pregnant? Well, I actually thought I was pregnant. I even went to the doctor to get a test and also had my blood work done because I just felt like something was wrong with me physically.
Emotionally I felt like a FRAUD.
A fraud of a mother because I was able to hire someone to help me and I had a partner who was active in taking care of our babies. Who was I to be complaining when I had all this help? So many people do so much more with so much less. I was failing. I felt like a fraud of a business person because there was so much work being done without me even being there and I was getting the recognition for it. This is one of the downfalls of having a business with your name on it. If anyone thinks I’m the one who has been running our business, that is incorrect. It is the trainers, our director of operations Lauren, my business partner Stephen, the front desk staff that have made the Jenny Schatzle program what it is today. And I am beyond grateful.
The more I felt the need to step back into work, the more I felt paralyzed. I was not creative, inspired, motivating. How am I supposed to be the voice of inspiration when I can’t even get out of bed? I became obsessed with that fact I wasn’t doing enough, being enough and I had an insecurity like I had never felt before. A voice in my head that would tell me, everyone is talking about you, disappointed in you, has resentment towards you. Look at how well everyone else is doing, you are an imposter.
I couldn’t wait until my kids took a nap so I could lay down. As hard as this is for me to admit, I started to feel resentment to these two beautiful beings for taking my life: my work life, my play life, my fun life. The life were I could go anywhere, do anything, be a go-getter and a doer. I felt powerless.
I would think to myself, “Is this just how motherhood is? Is this now how I am going to feel all the time?” I’m insecure, I’m weak, I cry at nothing and everything, I am always exhausted. I guess this is just what mom life feels like.
I couldn’t move and the more guilt and shame I had about not doing what I was suppose to be doing, the more I was unable to move forward. I was frustrating to my husband with my constant roller coaster of emotions and I could not step out of it.
I couldn’t be my best self because I felt she no longer existed.
I suffered something I had never felt before so I didn’t know what it was or how to talk about it. Until the day I went on a walk with a friend who is also a business owner and new mom. And for the first time someone knew how I was feeling, she understood what I was saying and we bonded over what we were going through. I can’t tell you how good it felt to know I wasn’t alone. I had mentioned how I felt to a couple other moms and didn’t feel like they related to what I was going through, so I thought it was just me. My friend called me later that day and said, “I’ve been doing some research and I think this is a form of postpartum depression.” All I knew about postpartum was that, I thought it typically happens in the beginning of motherhood and when I told my husband I thought I might have PPD,” he said, “Isn’t that when you don’t want to take care of your kids?” And the truth is, I really didn’t know what PPD was and all the different levels of it until now.
And that is the reason for this blog post, I need you to know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
PPD is very real and comes in all shapes and sizes and whether you had postpartum, you have it now or may face it in the future, this is the truth: Nothing is wrong with you. You are not a bad mom, a bad person or bad co-worker. You are going through something very real. I am only able to write this now because literally just a couple weeks ago after my girls first birthday, something shifted and I feel like a weight has been lifted, the clouds have cleared and the fire inside me has been re-lit. I am now seeing clear and here is what I see.
I am on the other side and I will tell you it’s because of my friend Leela. She made me aware that I am not alone and brought the PPD to my attention. During my depression I felt like the bud of a flower that was wrapped up and could not bloom. I believe my bloom has begun. Those little girls of mine are the light in my world and so is the relationship I have with my husband and with my co-workers.
I couldn’t share a lot of what was going on with me because I didn’t know. I kept thinking it will get better but it didn’t until I talked about it, reached out, got help.
And this is the truth, no one can or should try to do any of this motherhood life alone. No one can run a household or a business or be part of a business all by themselves, we need help. And what I learned as I felt the gripes of PPD start to loosen up is we have to ask for help, we have to share our experiences and if who we share with doesn’t relate, keep sharing until you find the person who can.
PPD looks different for everyone. In my case, it was insecurity (on a whole new level) and exhaustion. I had a friend tell me that she felt like she struggled going into public places for an entire year. I’ve had other friends tell me they hit points where they truly thought their child would be better without them and had thoughts of just leaving and walking away from their child. Multiple people have shared they had thought of throwing a screaming child, they never did it and they came out of it but they all shared the thoughts were real and they were dark. This list goes on and on and it does not look one certain way.
I believe how I got out of this PPD honestly, is through connection with others and movement. Every time I went for a walk, did an at home workout, made it to the gym or I was open about how I was feeling with my family and friends, I felt better. I really do believe movement creates energy and a mood shift, and so does human connection.
I encourage everyone to seek help no matter what you are going through. Please remember you are not alone and NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU. Find a therapist, a counselor, a group of moms who get it. Go for walking dates with friends, join a fitness program, talk to your spouse or your mom or your cousin or whoever will listen, and be open and honest about what you are feeling. You need to cry and sleep and move and communicate. Please don’t push these feelings down because all that will rise up is guilt and shame.
I love you all thank you for allowing me to continue sharing my story.