I had heard the phrase Postpartum Depression prior to conceiving. I had heard it several times on television, mommy books and forums but no one in my inner circle really talked about it. I thought Postpartum Depression (PPD) was used to describe women who cried all the time, who resented their babies or who sat in rooms with the blinds and curtains closed. So what I felt weeks after delivery was not Postpartum Depression.... at least that's what I thought.
I actually didn't know I had any symptoms of PPD until a few mommies who didn't know each other ask me the same questions. "How are you?" "Are you getting enough rest?" " Are you eating and taking care of yourself?" So I answered these questions...
"How are you?"----- I'm great!! I finally have the blessing that I've waited so long for. I'm really great!!!! My baby is beautiful and my husband is amazing! I'm good!
Are you getting enough rest? ---- I'm getting enough rest as expected. We were blessed that Baby Braylen began sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks of age so nights were not as tough as they were weeks 1-3.
Are you taking care of yourself?-- I had no answer. Am I taking care of myself? This question hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized I wasn't taking care of me. Braylen was well taken care of. She was fed, bathed and dressed to the nines everyday. What happened to me? This is when I had to take a step back and reevaluate where I was.
At that very moment I felt like after June 28, 2016 at 1:25 a.m. my world stopped. I felt like I was put on pause while everyone else went on with their lives. My reality was everyone had options of what their days look like except me. My reality was I just got blessed with a newborn baby who needed and only wanted me for everything. I loved being around this sweet little girl and loved playing dress up with her everyday but I forgot about me. How do I get me back? Was it even necessary while I was on maternity leave? Did I really need yoga and meditation like I needed it before? Who needs manis and pedis and days at the hair salon when you have the most gorgeous baby girl God blessed you with?! Me!! I needed it.
My form of PPD involved me resenting everyone who had a "normal" life and I didn't. I remember getting upset with my husband who was able to shower, lay out clothes and leave for work everyday. When my girls had busy schedules where they couldn't meet for breakfast nor brunch I remembered and longed for the days where I too had committee meetings, sorority functions and days sipping mimosas with my friends planning the next event we wanted to host. Going out and grabbing something to eat was an event. I had to pack an overnight back with all of Braylen's things and once I was dressed, face beat with makeup and ready to go out, her crying once put in her carseat made me really want to cancel the trip and grab my favorite lactation tea and cuddle with her with my feet propped up.
When I mentioned PPD to some of my girlfriends who had babies around the same time I did, and to my relief and sanity, they too were experiencing what I was feeling. We committed to sincerely being there for each other motivating each other to take time for ourselves.
After having a heart to heart talk with my husband I had to let him know exactly how I felt. I don't think he got it at first because he assumed since I was on maternity leave I could handle all that came with being a mom. The fact was, I couldn't. I wanted to feel relevant beyond being Braylen's Mommy. He realized it and made sure I felt important. He even hired a stylist to come to the house to doll me up as well took me to work with him one day to help with getting the church database completed. I felt like myself again.
So what did I do to make sure this mild case of PPD didn't get worst? I had to remember what made me happy. Whether that meant not sleeping when she slept and taking a long hot bubble bath and eating a hot fudge sundae with a brownie. I did what made Deronda happy. I also invoked my creative side again. My husband and I own a Graphics and Designs firm, and I began thinking of creative things I could do with Legacy Tees (www.legacygraphictees.com). This brought back so much joy and my clients were happy that we were back in business. I began working on Braylen Jael's tshirt line that she will be debuting in the Fall. I danced!! It felt good to dance and move again! Any chance I got, I danced. I began spending intentional time with Braylen. Intentional? Yes beyond nursing, changing diapers, getting her dressed or napping. I planned outfits so that we were dressed a like and coordinated. This ensured I got dressed beyond wearing yoga pants and a breast milk stained tshirt. I read to her and made faces with her because I realized I would be headed back to work soon and I would truly miss these moments.
Taking care of Braylen has been the most joyous roller coaster I've ever been on. I'm beyond grateful to my sisters Gretchen Morgan, Tomekia Lennon, Ebony Webster Joy Stoney and my sister in luv Key Jenkins for being there morning, noon and night and not wanting anything from me but to be well to be able to take care of Braylen and be who I needed to be. You ladies are beyond amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. A HUGE shout out to my Mother in Luv Lorraine J. Washington who babysat while I got my hair done and finds so much joy being with her granddaughter.
Why was I so transparent in this blog? There are so many women talking about it in their inner circles but no one is speaking up about it. Some women are dealing with severe cases of PPD and have no one to talk to. I'm grateful that my mild case of PPD will be able to help someone along the way.
What's next now that I'm soooo happy?!!? lol. My goal is to find joy in every poopy diaper., satisfaction in every smile, happiness in each 3 am feeding and understanding when all seems to be out of control
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