First I want to say, Gabriella is now almost ten months and I wrote this posting a while ago. I went back and forth on sharing it. If it was worth it. What people would think of me. Judging me. Looking down on me. But I knew that even if one person felt like I did and sought out help because of my post, IT WAS WORTH IT.
So here we go,
Lately I’ve been a little MIA, and for my dedicated blog readers I’ve been gone for awhile. I’ve been dealing with some issues that I never thought I would EVER face. Gabriella is now eight months and I realized shortly after stopping our breastfeeding journey, that I wasn’t myself.
You get past the newborn stage and normally would think “wow okay, the hard part is over” ! For us, thankfully, the newborn stage was by far the easiest when it came to Gabriella, my mental health, sleep, and getting my body back! I was always warned that if I felt the slightest bit of sadness, worthlessness, or anger towards myself or my baby to call my doctor, that she was there and she completely understood! But after the first couple of weeks, even days, I felt great! People even noticed and complemented me on how I didn’t even look like I had a baby and how flattering motherhood looked on me.
So I never thought In a million years I would look in the mirror and love what I saw, but have a constant battle of hating what was on the inside and going on in mind. It really started after I stopped breastfeeding. I became consumed with the thoughts of people thinking I was a bad parent for pulling out formula in a restaurant and not breastfeeding my baby. A constant worry that something was going to happen to Gabriella, and a fear of anyone holding her. Being scared to even drive thinking we’d be in a car accident. My fear is even higher knowing that I don’t want anymore children and that if something happened to her, I wouldn’t be a mother anymore. So at eight months postpartum I was diagnosed with severe late onset postpartum depression. Did you know postpartum depression can occur up to six months after birth? SIX MONTHS!! I had no idea and started feeling this way around 5 months postpartum. Late on-set postpartum depression Is WAY less common and usually WAY worse. And I want to clarify also this taboo around postpartum depression and Mother’s. Although it is very real, and a lot of postpartum Mamas suffer from this, for me, NO, NEVER, NOT ONCE did I ever feel like I wanted to hurt myself or my baby. This can absolutely affect some moms but for me this wasn’t case. For me I feel/felt absolutely worthless. I knew God made me to be a Mama, that was my purpose in life but I felt I wasn’t living up to a standard I should be at. The fact that I could no longer breastfeed and give my daughter the care I felt she needed had me questioning if I was supposed to even be a mom. If I was fit to be Gabriella’s Mama. I felt we lost our bond and we’re never going to get that back. Looking at Gabi you can tell she’s just thriving, so I would get comments like “wow mama must have good milk”, and that would absolute defeat me, because yes, most baby’s at her age, were still breastfeed.
I would randomly cry and my feelings were EASILY affected. I was angry for no reason at all, and my switch could be flipped in half a second (for no good reason) and people were noticing that. My anxiety was through the absolute roof and I didn’t want to take Gabriella around anyone.
Not only was I dealing with depression, but my stress level was so high and taking the worst toll on my anxiety. I’m planning a wedding, im finishing college, taking difficult classes, finals, and dealing with a loss of a very close friend. AND Im still learning what’s best for my daughter and our family. Im just trying to survive and ease my mind! I was having a rough time and I didn’t know who to talk to, how to bring it up, or if it was even worth saying anything about. I know I’m a good mom. I know I give one hundred percent. I know God made me Gabriella’s Mama for a reason. I just had a very very very hard time realizing that I wasn’t okay even when my daughter was perfect and our bond was never lost. So, I needed to seek help for that. I was really trying todo it naturally and enjoy the sunshine, “make myself happy”, but it wasn’t working and that’s when I knew I needed to see my doctor.
I saw my my doctor and she also joked about the SAHM Syndrome, and that people don’t realize how absolutely stressful it is to be a stay at home mom. To be the perfect wife, mother, and take care of your home while keeping up your image. That it’s nearly impossible. She told me to work on leaving Gabriella alone, even if it was to just go to the grocery store by myself. She told me “it’s okay to be away from them for a minute, because you will be there for a lifetime!”. That has really stuck with me. It’s sad how much an “image” is eveything. Making sure you look like the perfect wife, mama, and woman. I always had it together, always was strong, always knew what I wanted in life, and was the person my family and friends would always come to. But at this point I didn’t even want to leave my house or how to help myself.
I would have nightmares of something happening to my daughter and that I would be a childless mother. I had a dream Austin was in a car accident, and that I never got married and was left all alone. I would have terrifying dreams of being pregnant and feeling lost. These negative thoughts became a daily occurrence and I didn’t know why, all I knew was I was terrified of being alone.
I have started depression and anxiety medication, and although the thoughts of worthlessness are less, and I don’t feel as stuck anymore, I still have terrible anxiety. I’m still trying to grow and figure it out! I’m not here to tell you “it gets better”, I’m just here to tell you it’s okay to ask for help! That just because your baby isn’t a newborn anymore that these feelings and thoughts are “normal”, because they’re not! You are a great mom, you are trying your best, you are DOING ENOUGH and what is BEST for YOUR baby!
It’s so easy to smile and take picture for Instagram like life and everything is perfect. We need to remember how to be just as happy offline as we do online.
It’s important to take a breath and enjoy these days. They go by so fast.
Mrs. & Mama Maiuri
“DON’T RUSH YOUR HEALING. DON’T PRETEND TO BE OKAY WHEN YOU ARE NOT. AND DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR BEING TEMPORARILY BROKEN.”