By Guest Blogger Tiffany Lazenby
I’ve always been envious of women with perfect pregnancies. You know the ones with little more then a hiccup and look like a Greek goddess? I looked like Gollum from Lord of the Rings because of all the vomiting I did. I was so over pregnancy my c-section came as a welcome relief.
It’s amazing how quickly those first few days fly by. We couldn’t have been more overjoyed with our sweet baby girl. So, it was a surprise to me when I felt the first shadow of Postpartum Depression.
With my first baby, I barely had the Baby Blues but this time, I felt empty. I wanted to believe my hormones and lack of sleep were playing with my head but, something told me this was more.
The agonizing struggles of breastfeeding, just as she would latch on, would bring instant tears and take my breath away. It brought the darkness of postpartum depression to the forefront. Before long, I stopped making an effort at life. Weeks rolled into months and I found a painful rhythm to life. As if my new zombie-like state wasn’t enough, I started crying. Literally ALL. THE. TIME.
Then one day, right in the middle of my nothingness, I felt something I hadn’t felt in awhile. Awareness. I could see myself and my mental tangle of lies. I closed my eyes and with a shaking voice said out loud: It’s OK. I’m going to take care of you now.
I called my doctor and was seen right away. Words failed me but my tears spoke loud enough for her to make a plain of action. My husband was right by my side and within a few weeks the emptiness was starting to fade.
As I sat in the calm and quiet of nap time I began to think of what I wanted out of life. It’s so easy to forget all of that as a mom. I had just enough energy most days to go through the motions of what had to be done.
The passion inside me had lost some of its focus and narrowed in on being a mom. I began to make a list of things I knew I was. Literally wrote them down, I needed to see it. Crafty, strong, loud, witty, encouraging, loving, compassionate, intuitive, intelligent. I needed to remember who I was and these words were my stepping stones. I read them over and over until I felt them.
About this time, I started to notice a theme in the news and on social media: the lack of mental health support and awareness. Even though people know about depression, they don’t talk about it. There’s a stigma attached to it. Why wasn’t there enough education out there? Why wasn’t there more support?
Seventy to eighty percent of mothers experience postpartum depression and 60% of these women also have anxiety. One in seven women experience postpartum depression up to a year after birth and 10 percent of those, end in suicide.
I’m not sure what made me realize I had a problem. That remarkable bit of oomph pushed me to take action. But what about the people who didn’t get that magic oomph? That’s when I decided I had to do something, even if it was just in my local community.
Postpartum Strong, a community group on Facebook, was created to give a safe, loving, and judgement free space for all who need it. Its OK to admit you’re not OK . My goal is to create an environment of hope and positive motivation. I’m in the beginning of this new and exciting journey. My passion in life is to love and support others. I know what its like to be in pain and to feel alone, to dread the night because you can’t stop thinking in all the silence and to dread to morning because you have pretend.
I am more than postpartum depression and anxiety. I am a strong compassionate woman who is holding the hands of those lost in the depths of depression, sharing hope, love, and strength as they climb out.
If you would like more information on Postpartum Strong join our Facebook community, and take note of kick-off event this coming Sunday!
Facebook page: facebook.com/postpartum.strong
Description: Facebook group that offers support and motivation through postpartum depression and anxiety. Group meetings, outings, and classes offered. A way to contact with others in a judgement free zone.
Kick-Off Event: Brunch & Munch on Sunday, May 5 from 1 pm to 3 pm at 3337 Grandview Club Rd Pfafftown, 27040. Come out and enjoy funny, raw, honest mommy conversation.
*Photo credit: Brittany Steed Photography
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