“How’s that sweet new baby?” Such an innocent, loving question that moms hear almost the minute they set foot out of the hospital. It feels like such a kind gesture to ask this simple question of an already tired, probably milk leaking momma; and it is a kind gesture…But the question we so often forget to ask is what really matters… “How are you doing momma?”
In the last 4 and ½-ish years I’ve brought home three absolutely beautiful, healthy, and unique little babies. My home and my heart have grown and changed in ways I didn’t even know they could. Not all the changes that happened to me over these four years have been positive changes; and some of them were downright terrifying.
When my son was born in 2016 (first boy, second child), I was nearly unraveled by PPD. It took me months to come to grips with the fact that what I was experiencing wasn’t right, and months more to feel like an almost normal version of myself. It’s currently 2019 and I’ve had another baby since then and I can honestly say I’m just starting to feel great—not just “okay”. When my son was born I was still relatively new to my now hometown and hadn’t quite found my village. I felt so alone and so trapped by the supposed joys of motherhood that I think I forgot how to actually enjoy it. I felt like my only purpose was to answer to a toddler and screaming baby who needed something every second of every day; and to be honest, I didn’t feel like I could give them what they needed. My husband did all he could to help but I felt so lost in my own mind that I didn’t think anything could bring me back to the person I remembered once being.
In the two years since then I have found my village, and it is mighty; I have found ways to ask for help when I need to, and to say no when I have to. I know now how fleeting these moments are but that it is also okay if we don’t love every part of this journey—because cleaning ice cream out of a car seat is just really not for me. I remember how to laugh with my kids when we spill flour all over the floor when I once would have cried, and I know what they mean when they say the days are long but the years are short. Most of all, I know that I was given this one giant purpose to raise these three tiny souls to be good human beings.
Postpartum depression is unlike anything I have ever faced before. It feels like a fire that consumes you from the inside out and some days you feel like an ocean wouldn’t give you enough water to drown out the flames. As mothers, and especially experienced mothers, please, let us always remember when we ask about a new baby, to ask about the new mom too; for she was also just born. It may not always be the answer to her PPD; but like me, she may just be waiting for someone to start the conversation for her.