I know it’s been a while since my last blog post, and I’ve wanted to write about my postpartum journey, but I felt as if it still isn’t quite complete. I know it’s only been 4 months but from everything you read, no one really tells you how long things can linger, how much things change (physically, mentally, emotionally - YOUR WHOLE LIFESTYLE) so, I wanted to write this blog as an informative post to anyone who may come across this that is expecting, has recently had a baby or anyone who can relate. Surely I am not the only one struggling here, so that’s why I want to talk about it. I’ve never been a person to keep things I’m struggling with to myself because it helps me to talk about it, so if you’re in for a lengthy read and wanna listen, here we go.
I am now 4 months postpartum and although my body has healed physically, I am struggling mentally. I’ve never been a person to have anxiety, worry about every little thing, have depression or to generally be unhappy... but what’s suppose to be one of the happiest times of my life is seeming to be a lot of that these days. When people told me they struggled with anxiety before, my first thought was “It’s all in your head, you just gotta tell yourself otherwise.” - for any and everyone I’ve ever thought this of, I’m sorry. I have felt your pain and I’m sorry. No, you can’t turn it off and it is the absolute devil. I know as a new mom that you are going to worry for the well-being of your child, that’s being a parent... but things that never bothered me before are eating away at me and I can’t help it. Simple things such as going to church, going to work, answering a phone call have all been nothing but straight anxiety for me - for at least the past 3 months. It’s crossed my mind several times that maybe it’s PP Depression but the thought of it makes me want to break down and cry. I don’t want a label... and the thing is, is that it’s not consistent. I can have so many happy moments and the slightest thing can flip the switch and totally throw me in a mood swing. I know hormones are trying to regulate again and that’s just being a woman, but it’s been pretty severe. It makes me so upset that my husband and family have to deal with such a crabby person for most of the days. Will gets very concerned when I start crying for no reason and I have no way of explaining it. I don’t enjoy making people miserable and I sure as heck don’t enjoy feeling miserable myself. I am generally a happy person most days of the week. I work with the public, so I have to be... but when it gets so bad that I can’t even open my own store because I can’t deal with people that day, then something is off. I’ve done good covering how I felt by trying to keep myself busy but now that things have calmed down a bit I feel like it’s all hitting me at once. I think all this stemmed from being put on bed rest at 33 weeks for hypertension. For 4 weeks I was pretty much confined to my home, then was induced which took 2 days, stayed in the hospital a week from the time I walked in to be induced to getting out of the NICU, to getting home and settled, Thanksgiving, to the busy holiday shopping season, to Christmas, New Years, preparing and going to Market and now here we are. I’ve been non stop and although I’m entering another stressful time of year with wedding and prom season for tuxedo rentals, I’m scared. Scared that at any moment I may start crying in front of a customer for no apparent reason. (I know that when I got home with Hadley to begin with I experienced ‘baby blues’ - I was very territorial over her, I wanted to be alone, I couldn’t adjust to people coming in my home, I had severe anxiety of the thought of it.) But just the other day, Will was leaving to go somewhere for a few hours and I started crying for no reason. I’m not scared of being alone with my child or anything, it’s honestly unexplainable. I’ve never not wanted to be with my baby or anything like that, if anything I’d rather be just me and her. I know a lot of the worry has to do with getting sick. Never in my life have I been so worried to get sick, but it’s honestly become a phobia. It’s so terrifying of thinking of even going back to a NICU environment if Hadley were to get sick. The flu has had the highest outbreak, I’m scared of RSV and now the darn Coronavirus - people don’t understand the whole ‘Don’t touch my baby thing’ and it’s frustrating. They don’t care they just touched all over their smartphone and now are touching your babies hands that go straight to their mouth. I do not want to be back in a NICU. It was terrifying!! I will be so glad when spring is here and the flu is gone, I want to be able to get my baby out of her car seat and hold her, take her outside in the sunshine and let her play. — side note: this weather also might have some relation to it. I know seasonal depression is also a thing and I’m praying that when the rain chills out and some sun starts shining with warmer weather my mood changes.
There are a lot of different pieces of this puzzle that could be a factor in how I’ve been feeling and I’m just ready to feel normal again. Nobody tells you what you’re in for other than less sleep and taking care of a baby. They don’t tell you that you have awful mood swings and that the sound of your partner’s breathing even annoys you, or that you just sometimes don’t want to be around anybody, or that body image can be a struggle.
That’s another topic- body image. I knew when I got pregnant what’s suppose to happen. But I think after having her I thought I would magically look how I did before. Although I’m 4lbs from pre baby weight, my body doesn’t look the same and never will. Things aren’t tight where they once were and it’s so hard to accept and be okay with it. I’ve always had an athletic build and for the most part been fit. And let’s not forget about the stretch marks, it’s probably been the hardest thing to deal with. I didn’t get them until after having Hadley but they cover my entire body. From my tummy, hips, thighs, butt and breasts. I’m trying to be patient and hope they fade. I’ve tried oil and other things to help... but keep telling myself “Kimberly, God gave you something so worth all of these things, look at her.” - but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard to look at in a mirror every day. I completely lost it the other day when I came across a blogger on Instagram posting a picture of herself 3 days PP with abs.. I immediately started crying. Then saw the next photo that said “Just keeping it real” — I’m sorry but NO, that’s not real life. Maybe for 3% of America, but for someone with such a huge following to show that’s what you look like after having a baby is so wrong to all the women who are struggling with this issue. I unfollowed her and couldn’t get it out of my mind all day. I’m happy for her that she looks like that, but to post that for a ton of people to see and compare themselves to just shows character.
On top of everything, I am still on blood pressure medication. I was never put on meds prior to having her but a week after having her, the day we got home the anxiety hit immediately when I had several people in my home and I knew I didn’t feel good. My blood pressure was sky high. I was put on meds then and I’m wondering if the anxiety has any part in my blood pressure remaining high. I’ve been put on a new one because the first was causing terrible headaches. I hate depending on medication for ANYTHING. I’m even stubborn about taking ibuprofen if that tells you anything. I certainly don’t want to be on BP meds at 24. So, I’m hoping within the next month that I get to come off of it.
To conclude, I know being a new mom is an adjustment, your whole life changes, but I also know it’s not normal to feel the certain ways I’ve been feeling and no one else knows how I feel other than me. I know that life is stressful and sometimes you have to cope with things. The last thing I want to be is a complainer. I hate complaining and making excuses - that’s not me. I’ve always been the one to volunteer for everything and have always been told that I try to be superwoman and it’s taken me this long to figure out... I CANNOT DO IT ALL. I have had to learn to let go of some things and say no to things. I have to be a wife and a mother first and to be those I have to be in good mental health so taking care of me is more important than anything. I’ve been to the doctor and cried my eyes out at the OBGYN telling her all of this from the panic attacks, to not wanting to be around anyone, to appetite loss and everything and we’ve swapped my Birth Control meds to see if it helps and I also was prescribed something to help with anxiety and panic attacks as needed- which I also don’t like (I DO NOT WANT TO BE DEPENDENT ON A MEDICATION TO FIX WHAT’S WRONG). She didn’t seem to be concerned with PPD so I am praying to God that things start returning to normal so my family and I can be happy, that I can enjoy work again and that I can go places without the fear of someone coming up to me or my baby, that I can answer a simple call without freaking out and that my heart doesn’t drop to my stomach when I think about things I don’t have control over. God’s got this and we are going to turn this around.
It’s okay if you’ve had the same or similar feelings, I understand! Whether you’ve had a baby or not - I GET YOU! Being a business owner, wife and mom is hard. But I know with God but my side we will fight the devil off trying to get to me. Please keep me in your prayers that things get better and if you need someone to talk to, I’m here! Please let me know though if you’ve been there... I need to know is this normal? Should I still be having these issues at 4 mo PP? And always remember to please treat people nice, you don’t know what they are struggling with behind a smile they may be putting on. Thanks for listening 💖