My story started the day my precious Ivalee Lynn was born. November 12, 2014. After 25 hours of intense labor and an unexpected, unwanted c-section my sweet baby girl entered into this world!! The experience in the hospital was nothing short of tramatizing, horrifying, forced, bullied, and emotional! 4 hours after her birth after fighting with the nursery staff to bring me my perfectly healthy child I held my daughter in my arms for the very first time. That moment was short lived because there were numerous family members and friends in the room when they finally brought her to me and I felt obligated to pass her around. Later that night after everyone left and things settled down I can remember looking into the eyes of this precious miracle and feeling, well, nothing! I felt numb, I felt confused, I felt hurt and complete guilt for not feeling the intense bond and emotion i had always heard other woman speaking of! I now know that was the start to my long and dark postpartum depression/anxiety journey.
I can remember the first day my fiance had to go back to work, only 3 days after we brought Ivalee home from the hospital! I laid on the floor like a child clinging to his legs at 6:00 in the morning begging him not to leave me here alone to take care of this innocent child by myself. That there was no way I could handle this alone, that i was a terrible mother and had made a huge mistake bringing a child into the world when i was such an unfit mother. That she deserved better than me and that i just couldn't do it! This was the morning the anxiety creaped its way in! Every second I was obsessing over if she was breathing, if she looked jaundice, every noise and every sound she made was it normal for a newborn or was it a sign of some crazy disease that was going to steal my daughters life. Then came my own physical health anxiety. What is wrong with me? Why is my heart beating life this, am i having a heart attack? Im going to die right here in the house alone with my newborn! What is this spot on my arm, I am sure I am going to die from skin cancer and leave my daughter alone in this world with out a mother. I could not watch tv and hear commercial or anything on the news about cancer or any disease without grabbing my phone and googling the symptoms and convincing myself i had this disease and I was going to die from it and again.... leave my child alone in this world without a mother! The thoughts would come constantly and were far beyond my control. These thoughts were taking over my mind, consuming my every moment. These thoughts were now consuming my entire life and taking over my every emotion sending me into a constant state of panic! The panic ran its course through out the day and into the night leaving me with severe insomonia! Sleep depervation alone is to much to handle but not sleeping at all!!! Bring on the halucinating, the derelization, the impossibility of functioning. Nap when the baby naps everyone told me. That sounded so nice and so easy except for when your mind would not stop convincing you that if you shut your eyes for even a second that you would die in your sleep never to see your child again, or that the baby would smother herself or just stop breathing and die if you were not watching her every second. It was a nightmare I could not wake up from yet I was living this nightmare fully awake and aware!
This is just a glimpse into the life of a mother batteling Postpartum depression and anxiety. Just a tiny clip of what a mother goes through on a regular basis living and fighting this evil illness! To the social media world, facebook, instagam, to family, friends and coworkers I was just a tired mom who still had it all together and was rocking this mother hood thing! Thats the thing with PPD/PPA you can get up every morning, dress up, fix your hair, put on your makeup and go out and about convincing the world you are this glowing new mother and everything is wonderful! That is a mask us moms who have experienced this can wear all to well! I was that mom! But inside I was fighting suicidal thoughts on a moment to moment basis, trying to ward of panic attacks that were striking numerous times in a day, focusing so hard to try to cut off the obsessive thoughts that were controlling my mind!! Not spending a second of the day actually living life just spending every second trying to survive to make it to the next moment!
SUPPORT! I can not speak on support enough!!!! Without it I truly believe i would not be here to tell my story! This is the biggest thing that can work wonders to pull a new mom out of this very dark place we have fallen into! My fiance is truly 1 in a million! Everytime i hear the Rascal Flatts song "Stand by You" I break into tears to this day! The words in that song were Charlies constant daily reminders to me. I could be fading and zoning out heading to that dark place in my mind and he would simply grab my hand and say "Come back to me Momma" and then allow me to talk to him about whatever thought was trying to take over my mind and send me to that dark place. No matter how bizarre, irrational or crazy that thought was i KNEW I could truly tell him what was taking over my mind. He truly stood by my side, he held me when I cried, he pulled me out of so many dark moments and brought me back to reality and tried his best to keep me in the here and now, in the present moment! He never ever gave up on me no matter how bad things got, he was my strength when i just didnt have it in me to fight anymore, he fought for me! He was there to catch me every time i fell, he allowed me to fall but always picked me back up! He was the rock in this family keeping us together! Some people do not realize how much PPD/PPA affects the entire family! Not just mom! Everything mom is going through is affecting every person around her and Charlie was the glue that held everything all together when i just couldnt keep up! I know with out a shawdow of a doubt his unconditional love, support and fight pulled me through this dark journey!!
Postpartum Progress became a huge part of my life when my sister stumbled across the website while doing research to try to find me any help she could while living hours away from me! She connected me with another mom in my area who she found through the organization! PostPartum Progress truly was a life saver for me. It became a daily tool! Somewhere I could turn to for help and understanding of what I was really dealing with! It was in connecting with this organization that i finally allowed myself to accept what was happening to me and recognizing that none of what I was going through was normal. But even more so that everything i was going through was CUREABLE! There was a light at the end of the tunnell! I could come out of this I just needed to ASK FOR HELP! Reading other mothers stories i think was the biggest help for me! PPD/PPA can be considered so taboo. No one wants to talk about it. I mean who wants to admit as a new mom that they actually dont have it all together and even worse that there actually falling apart! Reading other moms experiences made me feel that I was not alone! Finally women who understood and better yet stories of woman who SURVIVED! It helped me to realize, how unfortuante but true it was, I was far from alone in my battle!! The tools this organization offers is saving womans lives every single day! And I am proud to say I AM ONE OF THOSE WARRIOR MOMS who was lucky enough to find the support of Postpartum Progress!!!!! I am a postpartum depression and anxiety SURVIVOR!!
My sweet Ivalee Lynn is my entire world! The bond we have is unbreakable and the most amazing thing to me in this world!! When I once thought I would never feel the joy, love and excitement of being a mother I am beyond BLESSED to stand here today and say that being a mother is my absolute greatest joy!!! The excitement of being a mother is real, the joy is real, and the love is real!!! 19 months ago I just knew I would never survive and I also knew i would absolutely never have another child and put myself through this again. Now here we are 23 weeks pregnant with another baby girl and I am so excited and so blessed and can not wait for the journey ahead!!
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