I have postpartum depression. It doesn’t mean I am not overjoyed by my baby. It means that despite that, I struggle most days. I feel touched out, worn out, exhausted, overjoyed, mentally and physically drained.
So many tasks seem overwhelming and impossible, but having an almost 3 year old and a 6 month old means carrying on with day to day activities despite those feelings. Frustration comes swift and quick most days and I find myself having to actively remind myself to take a deep breath or walk away when I need a minute so I don’t feel like I’m going to start yelling. The majority of the times, it is me and my feelings that make me have “rage” or feel like I’m at a breaking point, it’s not Colt (my almost 3 year old) or Sawyer (6 months old) or even my husband Kyle.
It’s just my own feelings of being overwhelmed and just wondering how in the hell I’m going to do everything. But that’s the thing. I don’t have to do everything. I have my husband, I have a support system. My parents, sisters and in-laws are all close by. They all pitch in and help. I have great friends, both local and ones I’ve formed online friendships with over a bonding of having children and a love of reading. I have outlets. I’m taking medication to help with my postpartum depression and I go to therapy every 2 weeks.
The coping tools I have in place are exactly what I needed. I wanted to write this blog post not to scare anyone, but to say it’s okay and normal if you have similar feelings of overwhelm and mom guilt like I do. Especially if you’ve got a toddler and a new baby. But, it’s important to reach out. Have a support system, have someone to talk to. It doesn’t even have to be a therapist. A friend who can either relate because they are a fellow parent or even just struggle with depression themselves. Depression shows up for people in so many different ways and there are so many different triggers that can set you off and make you feel like your bouts of depression and low moods can last forever.
The other coping tools I’ve formed for myself since 2022 has started has been exercising. A lot. It makes me feel good about ME. And coping with my postpartum depression is about me so it is important that I feel good about myself and give myself an outlet like exercise. I found a great program in the beginning of January called obé fitness (this is not at all sponsored). It’s a great site that has so many different types of workout videos (live and on demand) from hiit to cardio to jump roping to spin, yoga, meditation, etc. I’ve found a community there through their facebook group for members of the site and I’ve really enjoyed posting my #sweatyselfies after I do a workout. They have videos that last from 5 minutes to an hour so there’s nearly no excuse to not at least try to get one video in a day. I also have been paying more attention to eating healthier. Although I am vegan, there is still so much opportunity to eat junk food and not eat the right foods. I’m actively trying to eat more whole foods plant based and eat less processed stuff. I’m rediscovering a love for salads which had gone away when I was pregnant with Colt back in 2018.
I think coping with postpartum depression looks different for everyone and while the tools I have used for me might not work for you, it is important to try to find what helps. Dealing with postpartum depression by yourself or trying to mask it behind fake smiles and nightly tears can be a lonely place. No one should have to go through it alone. If you feel you don’t have anyone to talk to, please reach out, even to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to message me on Instagram.
I hope sharing my experience with postpartum depression has made you feel a little less alone. It’s still on going with me. I’m 6 months postpartum with Sawyer and every day is a challenge, but I’m open about my journey and hope it has helped. If you’ve struggled with postpartum depression, or any type of depression, I’d love to know what has worked for you in terms of tools to support your mental health.
Much love, Stef
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