I have always been a positive and confident person, always uplifting others with the right things to say to make them smile. One day I woke up and I wasn’t that person anymore. What happened to me?
Postpartum depression is a Bitch; there is no other word to describe it. It changes you and it hurts you, even if you are strong and positive it will break you into tiny pieces that will take so much to put back together. After having twins I suffered from PPD, I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror, what I saw was ugly, embarrassing and unflattering. A voice in my head said: look at you; you’re so fat and ugly, what happened to you, you’re a disgrace. Your life is a waste; you better throw in the towel because you aren’t going anywhere, this is it for you. Every single day multiple times a day that’s what I would hear and see in the mirror, little by little I started to believe it. I felt ugly, I felt so disappointed in myself, I felt there was so much I should have done at that point and I felt useless.
I also battled with “mom guilt” because although I love my babies with all my heart I had moments where I didn’t want to get up from bed to do anything because I was so tired or didn’t wanna hear them cry, or just wanted a moment to myself to do stuff for myself. I remember lock-in myself in my bathroom because the babies were crying so much that day and I just sat on the floor and cried. I cried because I was tired because I hadn’t slept well in lord knows how long. I cried because I wanted help, and then I also cried because the amount of guilt I felt for locking myself up in a bathroom was enormous. I had days I would wake up and even though I didn’t want to do anything I still got up and cared for my kids because I knew how much they needed me. Being alone with them was hard especially being tired because I still had to get up and attend to them and my 7-year-old. It was overwhelming, to say the least, and I remember at times falling asleep on the couch while my 7-year-old would be doing homework and the twins would be napping. I felt like such a bad mother every night before going to bed, thinking about all my feelings throughout the day and asking myself: how could you be so ungrateful? But I couldn’t help what I felt, I felt unmotivated, I would start to do things and couldn’t get myself to finish them. But I will say that as tired and overwhelmed as I was my kids kept me going. I was full of shame, guilt, unmotivated robot, or at least that’s what I felt I was.
I didn’t want anyone’s pity or thinking I was being overdramatic or ungrateful, so I didn’t tell my family what I was going through, I only confided in my sister and my husband. My husband told I was me beautiful every single day, yet I stood there and wondered why he lied to me? Because I knew what was the reality and it was ugly. He would try to uplift me with words that before would make me feel like I was on top of the world, yet now I felt like he was mocking me. PPD is a bitch… I thought I can deal with this on my own, I don’t need to tell a doctor, what for, yet I was dying inside. The person I once was, was no longer there, and this new person did not love me. Crazy thing is that I was still in there, far, deep inside but I was, because every time that ugly side would come out, a little tiny, tiny voice would say, you are strong; you are great, you are beautiful. But the ugly voice was far stronger and louder so it would always overpower it.
I needed help because I realized that I didn’t like who or what I saw in the mirror, I decided to move in with my parents in a different state. My family and I relocated to Florida, it was a hard decision but being in a different state made me realize even more how deeply lost I was. I no longer loved myself or who I had become and was miserable with my reality. I decided to start voicing my feelings to see if it helped me get through it. I confided in a cousin of mine who is younger than I am but always managed to uplift me with just the right words. I spoke to my husband more clearly about PPD and the way it had changed me because in our culture PPD isn’t something that is acknowledged therefore it is unknown. So I spoke to him daily and got him to understand that I was no longer that confident girl, that it will take time for me to get there. I remember one day as I was talking to him, I got so choked up explaining how I felt about myself and he was staring so deep into my eyes and he said: ‘Wow, I can’t believe you see yourself that way when all I see if how beautiful of a person you are.’ At that moment I smiled and believed him. My 7-year-old is my little hero and my saving grace, when I am at my lowest or had felt like the worst mom in the world he would say: Mommy I love you so much, you are the best! Those words right there resonated with my soul and were part of the tiny voice that would try to uplift me in my worst times.
I remember the day I told my parents about struggling with PPD, they, of course, had no idea what it was, but I gave them a summary of it and that day my father also opened up about his struggles with himself and things he is working through as well. And it was this day, with tears coming down my face that I realized that I have to love myself and I have to come back to who I was. It was such a powerful and meaningful day because it changed me and my dad for the better, we all learned from each other. Since this day I decided to feed positivity to my mind and allow the tiny voice to become the louder one and the negative voice to become tiny. I started reading uplifting articles and listening to Joel Osteen’s daily word. I also decided to put on paper what I went through as a way to let it go from inside. Writing down my experience was tough because it’s like reliving the moments over again. But it is therapeutic also, and I felt I wanted to find a way to help others to start the conversation of PPD. Since in our culture it is non-existent and is shamed upon, which is sad because there are many women who struggle with PPD and don’t have the resources to get help and we end up losing them to this.
Every day is different and challenging in its own way, I have woken up so happy and positive and something as small as my hair not looking how I want it to will make me sink into a negative space. I began writing in my journal as well, little feelings whenever I felt them, or if I remembered a negative time. But even writing is challenging, some days I am inspired other days I feel uneventful and unmotivated. It is a work in progress and some days are easy others aren’t. But for me, I decided to stop focusing so much on the should’ve, could’ve and would’ve and the unhappiness for the shape of my life. I decided to try to enjoy my path and stop feeling like I’m too old to follow my dreams. I decided to love myself for who I had become, love the skin I am in and search deep, deep inside for that woman who was confident, positive and motivated.
I stand in front of the mirror and smile now, I no longer dislike who I see, and I enjoy looking at the women who I have become flaws and all, I have found myself again and love knowing she is strong. I know I am not where I want to be but I know I will get there.