After years of wishing for this moment, here I was, a new mom- again. I imagined myself feeling an overwhelming sense of love; you know, like a moment from a movie. I imagined nursing my baby, latching perfectly and bonding uncontrollably.
This wasn’t the case.
I am a mother of two beautiful girls. My eldest is eight years old; she’s quite possibly the absolute best behaved child that ever walked this earth. My baby is almost one-year-old. I dreamed of her. I honesty dreamed of her. Her face, her hair, her chunky thighs – everything.
While trying to expand our family, we unfortunately experienced two losses. This took a toll on me in ways I cannot describe. I persevered- and here I am, a mother of two girls.
I’m proud of my daughters
I love my daughters, more than I love myself.
I live for them.
But I struggle. Every. Single. Day.
With my first born Danity, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I suffered silently for a year before I decided to seek help. I was told to not tell anyone my thoughts because “they would take my child away”. I’m not sure who “they” were, but I feared them. Whoever they were. I quietly kept to myself, thinking of ways that I could take my life, because I was not worthy of her. Never did I ever want to hurt her; but in my head, I didn’t deserve her- she would be better off without me.
I was in a bad place. I was a young mom. I wasn’t financially stable. Her father and I were not together, and I moved back into my parents’ home.
I remember having $3 in my checking account and feeling like a failure. How dare I bring a child into this world, when I am not able to care for her? I thought about this every second of every day. It consumed me. And so did the hate for myself. I cried. I cried every day.
I got help. I spoke to a therapist once a week for two years. I also was prescribed Zoloft. I only was on the medication for a short period of time.
Jump to six years later.
My daughter’s father and I rekindled our relationship. I packed my bags and we (my daughter and I) moved out of state, leaving our old lives behind in hopes for the “perfect family.”
It wasn’t long before I was pregnant. We were excited. That ended eight weeks later in June of 2014. We conceived again in October, and lost that baby in December of 2014. Finally, we conceived Ava, and welcomed her 9 months later.
For some reason, I believed that I wouldn’t be a victim of PPD again. The circumstances are different. I’m older. I’m more stable. I have the love and support of my significant other. There’s no way that postpartum depression would happen again. I’ll breastfeed, that’s supposed to help PPD, right?
Only in my wildest dreams.
Once the euphoria stopped and exhaustion kicked in, postpartum depression reared its ugly head. My significant other did everything in his power to help. He even took three weeks off of work to be home with his growing family. He tried everything to make the transition from one child to two children, easy for me; but it was still anything but.
I started to wonder; am I just impossible to please? Am I just tired? Maybe. Maybe both of those things. I’m unsure as to what exactly it was that I was feeling. But it wasn’t happiness. It wasn’t joy. It was sadness. It was regret. It was disappointment.
Here I was holding this tiny baby, so beautiful, so innocent; and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Here I was giving her nourishment, but it was the last thing I wanted to do. Breastfeeding was a nightmare for me. I hated every second of it. I’ll never forget being so envious of my friends who were breastfeeding magicians. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still green with envy.
I felt like a prisoner.
I felt alone.
I felt isolated.
Even though I wanted to be a mother again so desperately; I hated every minute of it.
And… Cue the guilt
The everlasting guilt. It was like the Gobstobber candy. Once I finished one layer of self-hatred and guilt, another flavor of self-hatred and guilt set in.
I was ashamed.
I still am.
I struggle every day. Days morph into nights and nights into days. Everything starts to run together and everything feels grey. I find very little joy in anything. But I am really good at finding a way to dislike everything.
I’ll never forget the moment that I had a breakdown four weeks after Ava was born. Danity wanted a ride to her friend’s house, and I needed to make a quick transaction at the bank. So I packed both kids up, loaded them into the car and we were on our way.
Danity’s friend lives 30 minutes away. Ava cried the entire way. We dropped Danity off, I trucked through the snow with baby in tow, then headed to the bank. Ava cried the entire way there. It began to be too much to bear. I didn’t go to the bank. I drove home. Sobbing. Screaming right along with her. We got home. I summoned my significant other to get the baby. I cried up two flights of stairs- undressed and sat in the shower. I sat there crying for an hour.
My anxiety that partners with PPD likes to show up like your enemy at a party she wasn’t invited to. Like, who let you in, anxiety? You’re not welcome here.
Anxiety likes to show up when I least expect it. I can be having an okay day. What I like to call a stable day. Then all of the sudden my body begins to feel tight, and I feel out of control. Then I get angry. And I get short. I yell. Oh God do I yell.
Then the guilt kicks in. The guilt and the self-hatred.
Postpartum Depression is one of the ugliest of the mental illnesses. We aren’t allowed to talk about our feelings, unless we want to be shamed.
Just recently I Googled: “I hate being a mom.” That’s when I found a beautifully written blog- so honest and so raw. I finally felt like someone understands me. Then I get to the comments and it’s filled with judgement and pity. How dare the author have these feelings? Wow, she’s so ungrateful. Women everywhere were shaming her – left and right -for being human. This is why so many women take their lives. Because it feels like a subject we cannot speak on; without being judged left and right.
I can guarantee you that every woman who has suffered from the ugly bitch known as postpartum depression doesn’t want to feel this way. I can guarantee you that she tries every single day to put on a brave and happy face. She tries to make the world a bit less exhausting.
I know I do. I know every day I try to put on that happy face. And most of you who know me, probably have no idea that I’m struggling. Because I try to be funny, and make others laugh. But I am. I’m suffering from PPD, and I’m just trying to make it another day. I’m just trying to be the best mother I know how to be.
I’m a woman. I’m a mom. And I’m exhausted.
So if you have a friend who is a mom, just ask her “how are YOU?” Be there for her. Be an outlet. Don’t judge the mom you see on her cell phone at the park, or the mom that looks like shit. Don’t judge the mom who hasn’t lost her pregnancy weight, or the mom who isn’t smiling. She absolutely could be struggling inside. Silently. Give her a smile, and maybe even a hug. She probably needs that more than you’ll ever know.
About the blogger:
Jacqueline Danielle is a Professional Makeup Artist specializing in Beauty. Growing up she found joy in quietly creating in her room with her favorite music. Now she finds joy in helping women find beauty within themselves. Currently residing in Chicago, she has worked and attended many trade shows, continuing education and seminars. She focuses her time on the wonderful world of bridal artistry, and in her spare time works for a makeup company as a national educator, where she shares her tips and tricks all over the USA.
Jacqueline’s Website: Jacqueline Danielle Makeup Artistry
Facebook: Jacqueline Danielle Makeup Artistry
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