When Trying All The Things Still Isn't Enough [PPD]

[Content warning: Postpartum Depression]

This morning I went through with one of the most terrifying and simultaneously bravest things of my life. I felt like I was going to puke as I parked my car, felt like I hadn't eaten in weeks, and even though I was dreading the meeting, my mind was done fighting at this point, letting my legs walk me in rather than run the other way. At almost 23 months postpartum, I sat across from my doctor and asked her through tears if we could discuss medication for my postpartum depression. I rehearsed the simple question over and over on my way to the doctor's office, scared I would chicken out and skirt the issue, or make it out to be less than it really was and leave without a prescription.

The past 23 months have gone something like this…


"Women with a history of being on anti-depressants are more likely to have postpartum depression." - Not me, I'll be different. I didn't really need them those few months I took them over a decade ago.


"Women who have trouble conceiving can be more prone to PPD." - Not me, I'll be different.

It's just because I'm not sleeping well, it'll pass once she sleeps through the night.

It's just because I'm breastfeeding, it'll pass once my hormones level out.

It's just because I'm not working out, once I start working out again I'll feel better.

It’s because I haven’t gone to therapy in a while.

It’s because I didn’t take enough notes when I read, “Girl, Wash Your Face.”

It's because it's winter...

It's because ...

I had a plethora of excuses to miss events, dinners, surprise birthday parties, stagettes, business opportunities, you name it.

I slowly ran out of excuses.

And I got really f$@king tired.

Tired of cancelling.

Tired of having music fall dead on my ears.

Tired of missing out on my daughter's life because I was trying to navigate in my head how I could possibly keep up this charade of being the best mom I can be to her, while inside I feel like I'm being held under water with cinder bricks tied to all 4 limbs. 

Tired of "needing" a glass of wine to relax at the end of the day, without really tasting it anymore.

Tired of wondering, “is this it? Is this how it’s going to be the rest of my life?”

Tired of cancelling work project after work project.

Tired of being sad, but so much more so, tired of being weighed down by apathy.

And so SO tired of acting, of playing the dance. Because you can cancel a lot of things, but sometimes you have to show up for those big major life events. Put on your mask, it's show time!

I must have said "thank you" at least 20 times to my doctor today, she was the most wonderful person I could have asked for to speak those words to. She gave me so much hope that this is not the mind I have to live with for the rest of my life.

My doctor put it so simply but so perfectly, “Depression is a liar and a thief.”

Depression continuously tells us lies, keeping us in this dark place, and it robs us of the life in front of us. So many times I’ve felt robbed of the past 2 years with my daughter, while I’ve been there in physical body, my mind has clouded the experiences.

And the lies it tells. Want to know the single biggest factor that kept me from asking for medication earlier? I didn’t think I deserved help. Who was I to be depressed, when my life is so blessed. I’m a white middle-class Canadian woman, married to a wonderful man, with an amazing healthy daughter. What kind of a selfish ungrateful person am I, to have all this, and be depressed. The shame is unbearable. Couple that with the stigma of mental health, and add on the bias around medication? No thanks, I’ll just keep trying to therapy, sweat, and self-help book my way out of this. [Spoiler: It didn’t work for me.]

For you, if you are reading this feeling like I've opened up your head and am looking directly into your thoughts, please know that making the appointment will be the second hardest thing you'll have to do. The hardest thing you'll have to do, is keep that appointment, show up, and ask for help.

A Letter To New Moms

From this week until the end of December, we are expecting 7 new babies in our family and friends circle, and it got me reminiscing on those first days of motherhood. My daughter was born on the 7th, on a Saturday, so at this time exactly 9 months ago I was about to become a mom in less than 24 hours. And my world would be rocked!

Just shy of my daughter being 2 weeks old, my cousin came to visit for some baby snuggles. With a gift was a letter she had written, passing on some sage mom wisdom being a mom of two herself.

I BAWLED the first time I read the letter - I mean, I was 2 weeks postpartum and perhaps slightly (okay totally) overwhelmed and hormonal. But still. I think I only made it half way down the page the first time I read it because I literally couldn't see through the waterworks of tears.

For any women about to become a mom, or perhaps has recently become a mom, I would like to pass on my cousin's loving words (with her permission), in the hopes that perhaps it will give you a bit of reassurance and comfort during this absolute whirlwind time. Let's be honest, I just re-read it and cried again, it's great advice no matter where you are on your motherhood journey.

Let me start by saying how very happy I am for you and your new family! This is an exciting time that will without a doubt trump all other moments in your life thus far. As a fellow mom, I feel it is my duty to warn you about all the “super helpful” thoughts, ideas, and suggestions you will receive in the next while, and remind you that on those days you think you are going crazy…nope, you really are just normal. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts for you:
A little advice on taking advice:
Take all the “offered” advice with a grain of salt. Always remember, “mother knows best”…meaning you!
When someone offers help, take it! This does not make you weak, this makes you smart.
You will have those days that being short on sleep and overtired get the best of you, and you may look at that baby and say, “holy shit, what did I do!” Don’t feel bad, this makes you normal, and anyone that tells you they never had one of these moments is lying to you. Rest assured, when that sweet baby curls up in your arms and falls asleep to the rhythm of your heart, you will fall in love all over again.
Your baby does not come with a program, as each and every child and situation is unique, so take what you want from all those baby self-help books, and brainwashing Google sites, and toss the rest away.
Take guilt-free time for YOU! These are necessary sanity breaks, and YOU DESERVE THEM!
Join a baby group, but don’t get caught up in the comparison game. Some women will tell you that their child is perfect no matter what…seek out the ones that make you feel normal, not inadequate.
Lastly, don’t forget each other. After all, this baby wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the love that brought the two of you together. Some day that little baby will grow up and get a life of it’s own, and you don’t want to lose sight of each other and your marriage in the meantime. You will find date night takes on a whole new meaning once you have a baby – it means you get to eat a meal while it’s actually hot, wear something other than yoga pants and a hoodie with barf, poop, or snot on it, and perhaps even risk the idea of putting on a regular bra again, even just for an hour or two.
I can’t wait to watch your little baby grow and become the beautiful little person she is destined to be.
With Love
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