By Beth McNeil
I was a single mom when I had my son at 24. I was living with my parents and everything that comes with being a new mom was obviously new to me (despite working in childcare for several years prior). There’s just nothing to prepare you for real life motherhood.
About a week or two after having my son I started feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t do it. I would rather go out and do something else instead, and I would end up crying myself to sleep every night. I would ask myself: why do I love this tiny human so much but I take every chance I get to get out? I went to my doctor and he put me on anti-depressants. Bad call!
It took me several months of trying to figure everything out and trying different meds, going to counselling and thinking I was going crazy only to find out that I had Post Partum Depression.
I later suffered from a TBI when my son was 1 which further triggered my anxiety and depression.
Fast forward 4 years: after 32 months of infertility, including 5 miscarriages, I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter. I am now married, but I was instantly terrified about PPD again, not to mention the 1000 other anxieties going through my head following those miscarriages.
Giving birth in a pandemic comes with its own bag of stress and anxiety. Sure enough, a week after my daughter was born, it hit me like a ton of bricks. And 11 months later I’m still dealing with Post Partum Depression and Post Partum Anxiety. My husband was so confused and concerned as he had never seen me like this. I kept telling him there was nothing he could do.
I am a stay at home mom, and with my son in school it definitely helps my mental state – obviously the news of Ontario school closures is terrifying – he is a stage 5 clinger with high anxiety as well so it’s difficult with both of them home.
I have reached out to counselling several times after my daughter was born – even just to talk.
I write this because I realize there are many moms who can relate: You feel alone, you feel like you can’t do it, you feel like you’re not good enough. I get it!
Please repeat these words I tell myself daily: It’s hard, but mama you aren’t alone! You can do it! And you are good enough! You were chosen to be your baby’s mama for a reason. You’ve got this! Everything is going to be okay, we’re going to have a great day!
These feelings don’t go away overnight and they are only masked while medicated. Now don’t get me wrong, when it’s bad, the medication definitely helps. But this time around I am determined not to go on meds – I don’t like how they make me feel.
Things that I am doing that help to calm my anxiety and PPD without medication include: going for walks, counselling so I can voice my feelings, seeing people (very hard in a pandemic), watching movies with the kids, having a bath, asking for help, and asking for a hug from my husband.
Though our collective anxieties stem from several different things, what we might be going through is similar. So please remember that the mom community is here to lend support, you’re never alone!
I am so thankful I was able to be a part of this amazing campaign to bring awareness and normalize the topic of Post Partum Depression and Post Partum Anxiety.
Thank you Bethany. We wish you strength on your continued journey working towards calming your PPA and PPD naturally. We are here for all of you, even if you just need an ear to vent to. We hope your family fills you with all the hugs you need on your worst days.
xoxo, Geddy’s Mom