This picture is like most photos, it likely has more meaning to myself the taker than it does to you, the viewer.

Postpartum Depression Recovery

This photo has immense meaning to me because it signifies recovery, hope and love. This photo was taken in hurry, a rushed snap on my phone while I had a lump in my throat threatening to swallow me whole. My face stung with impending tears and my heart swelled with guilt, pain and hope. A feeling similar to the one I get when looking at an unimpeded sunrise or hearing the beginning of that song “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies.

My daughter is 14 months old and if you saw the post I wrote for Scary Mommy then you know that I struggled with a particularly bad case of postpartum depression. PPD comes in many forms but for me it was a lacking, an absence… trying so hard to get a break from the responsibilities that overwhelmed me that there were so many things I *didn’t* do. They say “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” when you have kids, but not only did I blink- I laid down and closed my fucking eyes.

I punish myself for not enough holding, kissing of tiny feet, chatting in the kitchen. I had PTSD from a workplace incident while I was pregnant resulting in an early medical leave. I struggled with antenatal depression while trying to care for my teenager and high energy toddler. During this time there was a high profile case of a local mother losing her battle with postpartum depression and with my mental health history I felt that I was doomed.

And doomed I was. My baby was born and I slipped into a depression that threatened to pull me under. When they say that taking care of 2 littles is hard, it’s a fucking understatement. Despite taking good care of my kids I felt too often distracted, disconnected, and longed for an absence of responsibility that I haven’t felt since prior to becoming a teenage parent.

Today I went for a walk to the store with my daughter and her 3 year old brother. Despite the snow on the ground and the bitter cold, the sun was out and in this moment my beautiful daughter swayed in her stroller, enjoying the breeze through her wispy soft hair. Watching the sun reflect off her golden hair that is so unlike mine as it danced in the wind I felt a love so hard it crashed over me like a fucking tsunami. The whole time I felt as if I was drowning and now here I was- trembling and breathless, reduced to tears over the mere sight of a few glimmering silky hairs, lifted by the breeze.

There is no moment you recover from postpartum depression. Instead it is a collection of moments.

The one where you can’t stop crying listening to “True Colors” on the Trolls soundtrack (damn kids), mentally scrambling to grasp onto some rope and and to fucking WAKE UP because at that moment you were the closest you have been to just going limp and giving up.

The one where she is 5 months old and you feel like you are finally seeing her and she is seeing you.

The one on the floor where she walks to you. You see, she rarely smiled for you and you blamed yourself. For neglect, for not being enough, but to you *she walked*. And only to you; falling into your arms in a tiny victorious little pile.

The moment you laid on the floor and she climbed all over you and you held her close, breathing in the scent of strawberries and Penaten cream, realizing you are not dead inside at all- just the opposite. It’s the messy, ragged, discomfort of being alive that scares you.

Each of those were just moments, but collectively they paint a picture of recovery. Of waking up after a long nightmare or hibernation.

And this. The moment when you see that breeze lifting her sunkissed hair to dance as she sways in the stroller. She is beautiful and you feel hope because you feel those moments are snowballing into the life you have been living the whole time but were just too tired to see, to feel, to actively participate in.

So here I am, stripped of any comedy, outing myself as more than just a renegade wig with a penchant for Mexican food and foul language.

I am a Mother who is madly, wildly in love

Postpartum Depression Recovery

If you liked this, please share, maybe some poor bastard out there will feel less alone.

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21 Comments

  1. Honest K March 2, 2018 at 6:26 am

    This got me. Right in the heart. And my throat, I have a lump trying not to let the tears out. Thank you for sharing this. I’m in the middle of my moments. But at a good side, I see the live from my daughter and me to her. ‘ I laid down and closed my fucking eyes’ – exactly. I was robbed of my first 2 years of being a new parent. It’s a horrible pain, one I can’t dwell on for fear of returning to that ‘place’. You have no idea what it means to read another mum being completely honest, and sharing the heart break of PPD. Thank you ❤

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 7:32 am

      Thank you ❤❤ my husband always reminds me to stop thinking about guilt it just steals more time and make it worse so I try and shoo those thoughts as quick as possible too. If you ever need someone I am here for you

      Reply
  2. floweringink March 2, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Oh Mandi, I am crying, and not just a little. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. You sorrow and fear are in my heart, but even more is the joy, the coming into the light. You just become more remarkable the more I get to know you. This is the greatest story of love I have ever read, the most honest, the most real. I am immensely lucky to know you and to be able to read your amazing words. This piece is bravery and love and truth; it is beauty and light and perfection. You have a huge fan in me!!!!!!! Sending lots of love!

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 7:35 am

      Thank you so much I was afraid to share a serious piece here so your support means a lot to me ❤ I cried like a little bitch when I wrote it and was terrified to share but I am still living after hitting publish so maybe this will only make me stronger and help some stranger out there

      Reply
      1. floweringink March 2, 2018 at 7:43 am

        I think you have taken flight Mandi. I am still crying, I really am still crying. I can’t read anything else today; nothing will compare. I shared it everywhere I could. I feel like this is exactly what we have been talking about. You are already so incredibly strong. I am inspired by you, my friend!

        Reply
  3. scar March 2, 2018 at 8:11 am

    “There is no moment you recover from postpartum depression. Instead it is a collection of moments.”

    I’ve never lived with postpartum depression, never having given birth, but this spoke to me. I think it’s true of so many things that require recovery, and sometimes just of living. There’s such pressure, especially in today’s ultra-Instagrammable world, to create a ‘story’ for our lives, but a huge amount of life is just living it, moment to moment, and that has to be enough.

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Yes! You are so right

      Reply
  4. Blogging_with_Bojana March 2, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Mandi, what an honest post. This really, really touched me esp. since I’m a mom of a beautiful kid myself and have been struggling with anxiety for a long time. I’m grad you’re feeling batter and can start enjoying motherhood because nothing really compares, does it?
    Hugs, B

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Nothing does, being a mother saved my life and gave it meaning. Thank you for your kind words ❤

      Reply
  5. girlwithissuess March 2, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Took me back to when I had PPD. You explained it beautifully.

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you I am glad that it was only a memory for you ❤❤

      Reply
      1. girlwithissuess March 2, 2018 at 5:52 pm

        PPD is a memory, but I live with bipolar depression, anxiety and PTSD every day. None of them are fun, but I refuse to let them control my life 💜❤

        Reply
        1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 9:46 pm

          I struggle with depression and anxiety as well it’s funny how we can learn to live with these things and adapt. It is kind of amazing reallg

          Reply
  6. The Cupcake Witch March 2, 2018 at 10:53 am

    This is so beautiful, Mandi. Thank you for sharing this with us. I wish you all the best as you continue to move past your PPD. <3

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you so much that means the world to me

      Reply
  7. Sarah | On The Way To The Barre March 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    I don’t see how to ‘Like’ this. Maybe it’s because in fact I love it. I love your courage in telling your story and I love these glimpses of moments. I am struggling to write and your story inspires me to try. I am struggling in life with my mother dying and though our stories are nothing alike, your story gives me hope. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      Thank you so much that means the world to Me! I am so sorry about your mother I can’t imagine. Writing is so therapeutic I hope it can help you ❤

      Reply
  8. wildswimmermum March 4, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Just beautiful. 12 and 7 years after my own postpartum darkness, I am applying for a job as a peer support worker with mums in a psychiatric Mother & Baby Unit. I’m keeping hold of your blog to share with them if I get the job as it offers so much hope in the reality, the moments of recovery. You are awesome xxx

    Reply
  9. The Lockwood Echo March 5, 2018 at 2:16 am

    This is so beautifully written. Raw, honest, yet ultimately the best love story. I’m not a Mum, but I have twin boy & girl (all grown up now) godchildren who I would move mountains for if they needed me to. So I can’t begin to imagine the depth of emotion involved with a child of your own. I agree with Scar above, much in life is achieved with those individual moments that hopefully become more frequent till you can see through the fog into the light. Baby steps, just like your babies took 😉

    Reply
    1. MandiEm March 5, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you so much that means a lot to me

      Reply

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