It’s a question I asked many times. I heard it often in support groups. When you’re suffering from Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety, you want this answer more than anything. When will I even feel better? How am I ever going to feel “normal”?
My opinion? With time. It’s not an easy answer to accept. Yet, each time I write about my own experience, the feelings from my past are more distant than they were before. As the weeks passed, I didn’t worry about the same things. I felt less afraid and my triggers didn’t have as much power over me as I used to. Those feelings and the person I was is just a thing of the past. Getting to this point took time. It didn’t happen overnight. It never does.
However, time itself doesn’t always result in healing. For some it does. For me, it was a combination of many things.
A support system is crucial. It doesn’t always mean the obvious people. Sometimes it means new mothers like yourself. It can mean a support group. It can mean therapy. Yet, it also doesn’t mean talk therapy. Support also means having someone help you when you need it. It means knowing that you have somewhere to turn to when tough times arise. No one should go through PPD / PPA alone. The feelings of isolation and helplessness will eventually disappear once a support system takes hold.
Self care is everything. When you first become a parent, this is the last thing on your mind. You would give your life for your child. Your sacrifice for them. Yet, there is irony in that idea. Your child thrives with the care and love you give them. The lack of self-care will eventually compound and it will take its toll. In my case, I never ate nor slept. I became too weak to care for my son. I became anxious and eventually came to believe that I was incapable of caring for him. It wasn’t until I starting caring for myself that I began to enjoy my son and motherhood. Self care became the turning point.
Don’t be afraid of medication. For a long time, I was anti-medication. I thought that I could get better without it. It turns out I needed it. There’s nothing wrong with it at all! I am much happier because of it. I was able to think more clearly, which in turn helped me thrive in therapy. Medication doesn’t make one weak. It just helps bring us closer to recovery.
Recovery for me took a lot of effort. I worked at it, and I sought help where I could. I took initiative because I no longer wanted to feel the way I did. The changes were gradual, but they were happening. In less than a year’s time, I no longer suffered.
If I could answer the questions for others, I would say: In time and with effort, the pain will be over. This is all but a temporary moment in life. Eventually, that time will be nothing but a thing of the past.