I’ll be frank with you. My postpartum journey wasn’t awesome. However, I know now in hindsight that it led me down a path of self discovery to where I am today – a person I am profoundly proud of. If you’ve read about How to Write in Your Gratitude Journal for Manifestation, then you know that gratitude journaling is one of the key paths I took to transformation. Today I want to share my full story so that if you are desperately googling “when does postpartum depression end” or, “what should I do if I have postpartum depression”, you can have some hope. So here’s my story about Overcoming Postpartum Depression With Gratitude.
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The First Step to Overcoming Postpartum Depression With Gratitude – A Spiritual Awakening
What in the heck is a spiritual awakening? According to something I read on the interwebs it says, “a spiritual awakening is a paradigm shift that reconfigures the way you experience everything.” And while some spiritual awakenings can come from firework moments like near death experiments or sudden downloads from voices, or a feeling of a a greater unknown. More often than not, spiritual awakenings are not that at all. They often come out of negative, sad, and depressing situations. And the common thread is that those situations that people come out of, often make them realize that there is so much more in life and that life is worth celebrating. So this is my story Overcoming Postpartum Depression With a Gratitude Journal.
I’m here today to share this story to help you if you’ve been on a Googling spiral trying to figure out what’s wrong with you and find someone you can relate to. I want to give you hope that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. I’ll be honest. I have never shared my experience with postpartum depression with anyone until now. And I think the reason for that – and the reason you don’t see it discussed in the media – is because there is a lot of shame surrounding this topic.
Why Postpartum Depression Isn’t Talked About
Society looks at the time after having a baby as a wonderful and glorious time. Therefore, moms going through postpartum depression don’t want to broadcast the fact that they don’t feel that way because of the fear of being judged. We think that if people knew about our negative feelings around being a new mom, they would think we were heartless, horrible people.
It also doesn’t help that some of the stories that have been more publicized in the media around postpartum depression are “fluffy” and don’t convey the darkness and pain that is involved. For example, Chrissy Teigen talked about how her postpartum depression made her “bitchy”. If only that could have been my problem. And let’s not forget how Brooke Shields talked about her experience, but it was vastly overlooked with the whole Tom Cruise rant thing.
The Darkness of Postpartum Depression
The hormone imbalance set in instantly after having my daughter. A fog rolled in. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. With the fog came an unending state of overwhelm. It showed up first when I forgot to tell our family that she had been born while they sat in the waiting room wondering if we were alive. Later, I found it incredibly difficult to group text my girlfriends to tell them I had a baby. It was just so…overwhelming.
When I got home, the same feelings continued as I found it impossible to prioritize tasks. A once organized multi-tasker, I was now a complete mess, completely confused on how the laundry, bottle-washing, and feeding was going to get done.
When it Rains it Pours
On top of the hormonal imbalance, there were so many other compounding factors at play. Breast feeding was not happening. Not only was I not making enough milk, but I was in horrific pain with open bleeding sores on my nipples. Lactation nurses just told me to “keep trying” – as if that was the only answer. After two weeks, I gave up. Which was another source of crippling guilt and shame.
Bonding with my colicky baby felt impossible. I couldn’t make her happy, no matter what I tried. While other moms told me about how they were constantly checking to make sure their child was breathing, I had complete apathy about the whole thing. “Why do people do this to themselves?” I would ask myself in the middle of the night, tears streaming down my face.
The inevitable question on your mind
Of course you’re probably asking, were you a danger to you or your child? Probably not. Most of my fantasy’s involved running away and just leaving it all behind. But then the thought of leaving this crying, unsatisfied child with my husband made me feel even worse.
At my six week checkup they gave me a sheet to identify “how sad I was” on a scale of 1-10. Of course I lied. I’m smarter than that.
Three or four months later I sent a desperate email to my healthcare provider while sobbing hysterically on the elliptical at the gym. Two weeks later they called me back saying they were sorry that they’d overlooked my email and did I still need help? Again, I lied. I didn’t want to get medication. I didn’t want to become addicted or have side effects.
So what did I want? I don’t know that anything anyone would have said would have helped. Maybe I wanted someone to tell me it would get better. Maybe I wanted someone to tell me I wasn’t a horrible person for feeling this way. Instead people offered the advice to, “Enjoy this time because it will be over before you know it.” I wanted to spit on them. I’d be happy when it was over.
Overcoming Postpartum Depression With Gratitude
Then one day as I drove my daughter to daycare, I heard May McCarthy on the Jenny McCarthy show. May had written a book called, The Gratitude Formula and for some reason it resonated with me. And that’s when I started my daily gratitude practice. You may have already read about it or heard me talk about it on my Podcast, The Celebration Effect.
My Paradigm Shift to Overcoming Postpartum Depression With Gratitude Journal
That moment, when things started to change for me after I wrote in my gratitude journal for several months, was my paradigm shift. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to insinuate that people who have postpartum aren’t struggling with a hormone imbalance. In fact, I probably did have a hormone imbalance that was throwing me off my game. However, I learned how powerful my thoughts were. I was choosing to think negative thoughts and play the victim in my life.
I was choosing to compare myself to other moms who had seemingly easier children than me. Choosing to feel like a crappy parent. And feel like this may have been the wrong path for me. I was playing negative stories over and over in my head.
I realized that I could focus on the kind of mom that I want to be and the fact that I have so much to be grateful for in my life. We had grandparents who were helping raise my child. I had an extremely supportive spouse, a beautiful house, a job and on and on. When you get really present to gratitude you realize that the list is endless.
The gratitude practice opened up a new way of perceiving my life as a mom and took me From Postpartum Depression To Positivity. Sure, I’m still not perfect and I sometimes I still feel shame and guilt when I think back on those times. But I know that I am building a great relationship with my daughter because that’s all I think about now. I am the mom she needs and I will continue to show her much I love and adore her. And that’s all that matters now.
How empowering is it that you can change your life with just your thoughts alone? To me, it’s everything. Change your thoughts. Change your life.
Lastly, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article, From Postpartum Depression To Positivity! I hope this gives you a little hope if you are going through it! I love to help you celebrate life through party decorations and positivity! But above all, I’d love to connect with you. Reach out to me on Instagram and let’s chat. Start transforming from the inside out on The Celebration Effect Podcast. You can also get more value by signing up to get my FREE gratitude journal printable to help you start celebrating your everyday life through gratitude.