I was her.
I was the first time mom-to-be that spent so much time preparing for the baby's arrival.
Decorating the nursery. Making registries. Cleaning. Watching hundreds of youtube videos. Just prepping my home, in general, to add another human to the mix.
What I didn't prepare for was postpartum...I mean I didn't know how to prepare for it. Honestly, no one around me talked about what came with postpartum. At least the emotional and mental changes.
Maybe it was because no one wanted to put their experience on me.
Maybe they weren't comfortable sharing.
Whatever reason that no one talked about it, is the exact reason I promised myself I would when I was ready.
I share my experience with the sole purpose of normalizing what we women go through mentally and emotionally post-baby. Not to give unsolicited advice and not to take a mama's personal experience away from them.
If you have been following me on my Instagram @blacksupermamas. Then you know I had my child in the middle of a pandemic. So my postpartum journey is one that was a little unique considering we were confined to the house and consumed with changes of a new normal.
I would like to note that pre-baby, I had my fair share of battles with anxiety and overthinking. Which meant I was more at risk of developing Postpartum Depression (something I didn't know at the time.) Being a black woman also put me more at risk, because we are more than twice as likely to experience postpartum depressive symptoms as white women.
Looking back at my experience. I can confidently say I suffered from a mild version of PPD. Unfortunately, I never got a professional opinion. So my PPD journey was mixed with a lot of questions...
"Why am I like this?
"What is happening?"
"Is this normal?"
To dive into my experience and what I went through, let's start after the first couple of weeks we brought my son home. Those first couple of weeks are such a blur and I was in true survival mode.
IF YOU KNOW YOU KNOW
Once my partner went back to work, that's when postpartum hit me like a ton of bricks. When he was home, it felt like we were in our own world just in awe of our son. (Thankfully, I had him home with me for a little over 2 weeks.)
Reality definitely set in that first day alone with the baby. I was like "damn I am really responsible for someone, it is all on me."
The emotions started flowing in.
Overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a child and breastfeeding.
Loneliness from everyone only checking in on the baby and not having any friends or family around (I lived in a different state at the time)...
The anxiety of all that can go wrong and the pandemic...
Worrying if I was capable of raising a kid and how the world will perceive my black son...
Sadness. I can't pinpoint why I was sad, but I was so sad...
Guilt from missing my pre-baby life.
Then to add the icing to the cake. I was sleep-deprived.
It was a tough season. I didn't recognize the person I saw in the mirror. I didn't know how to ask for help. I didn't know how to adjust to the new normal.
These intense feelings lasted for MONTHS. Honestly, I still experience them. They're just not as intense anymore. I give credit to God, therapy, and a lot of grace.
I am grateful for the experience because out of it came a stronger woman. A woman I am proud of and have the utmost respect for.
It took me about a year to feel "normal"
So if you are in the season of postpartum. I can assure you that the sun does come out again. Be patient with yourself and give grace to yourself.
Please know you are not alone. So many moms have similar experiences. That's not to invalidate yours, it just means that there are women out there that are waiting to support you. Who sees value in your healing.
Sis, you got this. You are doing your best, and that is more than enough.