I was feeling so miserable, and wasn't pleasant to be around. I think it hit me when Pawel said that the way I was feeling was also affecting him. I wasn't affectionate anymore, I was always sad, I was always mad. Sometimes I didn't want to be around my son or Pawel. It made me feel so horrible inside, because deep down, I wanted to feel the opposite and I just couldn't.
I had enough of feeling the way I was feeling, so I decided to seek help, and go speak to a therapist. After a session with her, the advice and tips she gave me to get through it didn't happen over night, but in steps. It was a process, but eventually with time it got better. She asked me how I was feeling, and what was making me feel the way I was. If you read my previous blog "The Meaning of Unconditional Love", I explained that I had a pretty traumatic childbirth, so I think that set the tone for my PPD. With my therapist's help, I was able to pinpoint the root cause of my PPD:
1) I was feeling angry, sad, disappointed, guilty, desperate, and mentally exhausted. I think the expectation of really wanting to do a vaginal delivery, and ending up with a c-section really got to me. Because I was so angry with myself, I wasn't pleasant at all to my partner or with my baby, and that in turn made me feel really sad, guilty and in despair. With all of that stress, add on sleep deprived... and there you have it... one really cranky mom.
2) I hadn't slept since I was pregnant. Having to pee multiple times a night, and rolling around in bed witha huge belly, trying to get comfortable, kept me up during most nights my entire pregnancy. Then motherhood hit, I woke up every two hours to breastfeed my baby, and trying to bare the pain of the incision of my c-section that was still fresh. I was in so much discomfort. And having a baby crying, and getting to know their cues was another thing... especially when they won't stop crying.
4) I had anxiety about major surgery already. The fact that post-surgery I had some breathing problems, to the point where I felt like I wasn't going to make it, scared the life out of me.
5) I hadn't felt like myself in over a year. From feeling sick my first two trimesters of pregnancy, and developing Eczema two months after my delivery, I felt like my body was compltely out of wack. I developed hives that lasted two months, which got me scratching myself from head to toe. I was on Atarax to make me stop scratching and cortisone cream to help ease the Eczema. The medication depleted my milk supply, and ever since it was hard for me to gain back my flow. My son had to drink more formula, because I wasn't producing enough milk for his appetite. Shortly after I got Eczema, my son got it too. Being a parent of a child wih Eczema is a whole other blog, which I wrote on The Anchors Life, "Baby Life: Living with Eczema".
Life was hard for me, but I tried to implement the healing process as soon as I started to heal from the Eczema, and my son was healing too. It is so hard to focus on yourself when your little one really needs you.
The Healing Process
So how did I come out of PPD? I was lucky that my PPD wasn't as severe as some extreme cases where some moms actually hurt their babies, or even (I don't even want to say this), kill them or kill themselves. I watched a documentary on PPD when I had it, where mothers drowned their kids. I was in such disbelief and wonder "how could they even do that?" I really made me realize how severe it can get, so I really made it my preiority to give my son all the love and care from me that he deserves. By doing that, I really had to take care of myself.
1) I talked to a professional. Don't be afraid to talk to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist about how you are feeling. It is really worth it to talk about feelings without being judged, and finding tools to help you cope. Without my psychotherapist, I think I wouldn't have gotten through it as quickly.
2) I started eating healthier. Because I had Eczema, my Naturopathic Doctor put me on the Elimination Diet, which cut out all inflammatory foods, including allergens, refined sugars, certain types of meats, veggies and fruits, caffeine, dairy, eggs, and gluten. In turn, it also helped me with brain fog, and feeling lethargic. Kai and I were also put on probiotics. After a month I started to feel a huge difference. I wasn't itching anymore, my mind started to feel more alert, and I was in a better mood. For the first few months, I tended to just order out, or grab whatever I could to fuel my energy to take care of Kai... and yes lots of coffee. Until this day, I still keep up as much as I can with the Elimination diet, however I've reintroduced some foods. Still though, I am lactose intolerant, and gluten gives me itchiness. That will be another blog post!
3) I started working out. Although I wasn't in a regular workout routine yet, I slowly started getting back to Yoga, jogging, brisk walking, Zumba. This really made me feel more energized and alert.
3) I started doing the things I loved again. My fiancé made it a point for us to keep going on dates at least once a month. I loved going out to good restaurants and having delicious cocktails. Working out and eating healthy was also a part of me, since I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was 15. Feeling put together also made me feel nice... having the time to blow-dry my hair and put on make-up. Really, little things that make a woman feel good. I also love writing, hence the reason I started this blog. Although I have no time to record or write music right now, listening to music and going to concerts are still things I love to do. Pawel and I went to a Metal concert a few months ago (not a metal fan at all), BUT I really enjoyed seeing that type of scene and seeing Pawel mosh! We also had the privilege to travel when Kai was 4 months old. I constantly need to visit new places, and move around, so it really felt good to change scenery, and be on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, and relax (although at first, the trip was stressul, traveling with a baby - another future blog post on The Anchors Life).
4) I started hanging out more with my friends. Most of the time, my girl friends came over to visit me, but seeing them felt great. Sometimes we'd go out to eat too, or hang out at the mall. Most important though, was to socialize outside of the walls of my house, and to get some away time from Kai. It was nice to talk about other things than Eczema, poops, pee, feedings and other baby related stuff. It really keeps you sane.