This quote perfectly sums up my 4 trimesters. Yes, you read that correctly, the 4th and least talked about trimester is the first few months of motherhood....and it's THAT one that really knocked me on my you know what!
I didn't exactly enjoy pregnancy. I was nauseous for the first 4 months and then the last month gets pretty uncomfortable due to size and sleeplessness. So, as you might expect, I couldn't wait to pop that baby out and start the journey back to what I thought would be a blissful life of pushing a stroller with my super cute babe while wearing my fancy Lululemon pants in the same size that I wore pre-baby with a huge smile plastered across my face from all the joy I was finding in my newfound role as mother. I delivered Paxton on 12/12 and within a week or so, I realized how OH.SO.SO. wrong I was about ALL the pre-conceived notions I had about how I'd look and how I'd feel about motherhood. As you've probably gathered, this blog is not about yoga in the asana sense although motherhood feels very yogic to me. It is about me finding balance again and it also relates to a topic that is far too UNDER discussed... post partum anxiety and depression. On a somewhat side note, kudos to Chrissy Tiegen for making is a talked about topic. I appreciated her candor on her experience. Google it. If you haven't read it and are interested, it's worth the read.
Ok back to me, because the only place I can write from is a place I've experienced, one that was dark and had me second guessing my decision to become a mother at all. I hate writing that statement. I still find that shame surrounds some of the feelings that I experienced during the worst days of my post partum depression. But, I was brought up to be an open book, have no secrets and share my life with others in a way that feels true to me. So I'm just gonna let it all hang out. Post partum anxiety & depression sucked. I felt completely paralyzed for about a month. I did not leave the house alone with baby. I cried .. a LOT! My body felt life-less even though I had just delivered LIFE...what an oxy-moron. I was emotional. The anxiety is something that I had never experienced and gives me so much compassion for those with on-going anxiety. I was not able to sleep more than one hour at a time for the first few weeks of Paxton's life due to extreme anxiety and panic attacks that sent shivers through my entire nervous system. This led to me feeling that psychosis was setting in some moments. I felt anxious about every little thing including leaving the house with Paxton, changing diapers, feeding, cutting his nails, bathing him, sleeping next to him, etc... pretty much everything baby related drove me into a tail spin. My 3 dogs put me absolutely over the edge. Thankfully my mother in law came to the rescue and watched them for over a month while I put myself back together so that they didn't have to suffer the brunt of my PPD. For about 4-6 weeks, I felt unable to care for myself and Paxton in the way I wanted to and I definitely could not do the things for Kleyton that he had become accustomed to me doing. There were a few different occasions where I passed the baby to Kleyton during a fit of tears and desperation and told him I just could not deal with it at that moment. I remember clearly an evening where I doubled over in my kitchen, told Kleyton I had just had a panic attack and assured him that I was 100% incapable of being a mother. 4-6 weeks sounds like a blink of the eye and can feel like an eternity when you are living it.
About a month after my son was born, I knew things needed to shift. With the encouragement of some new friends at a mom's group and my own mother, I began taking Zoloft. I had so many pre-conceived notions about medicine and people who take Rx drugs. Life has a funny way of showing me things that I judge.. that was one of them. Well, judgment no more.. these meds have helped me immensely to feel like myself again. In addition to medication, the support of an awesome baby sitter who allows me to do things like take a yoga class, work on the behind the scenes stuff at 3 SISTERS that I love so much and go the dentist, etc. That helps a ton. So does my supportive husband and other awesome people in my life including family, friends and other moms and even some strangers who have helped me along the way. Everyone needs support in this life. I'm convinced more than ever that no one can or should do this motherhood thing alone.
Fast forward to now, Paxton is 4 months old and (almost) every single moment I love him a little more ;). Our bond is stronger than ever. I am finding confidence as a mother and finding my way partially back to the old Lauren too. The Lauren who loves Sauvignon Blanc and travel.. she's still in there, she just doesn't show her face as often and that's ok for now... in fact, I'm very blissful staying home snuggling Paxton in my pajamas.
This post feels important for a few reasons. One is that I felt like my instagram account of cute baby pictures was not showing the whole picture, it felt a little bit like I was hiding something. But much more importantly, I want any mom out there who is experiencing PPD&A to know that it is 100% temporary and that while it feels long and arduous right now, it will pass. You are strong and will be even stronger because of this. You can do it. You are a good mom. Don't forget to be good to yourself too.