Here is another photo of me and my sweet Jackson from today.
I thought I would share this story today as it has been on my heart as of late and perhaps sharing my story will help someone else in a similar situation.
With both Sean and Luke, I suffered from postpartum depression. It lasted about 6 weeks with Sean, so I assumed it would last around the same with Luke and I opted to wave medication as I was breastfeeding. Well, as much as I tried to deny it, the depression lasted a long time...at least 9 months (perhaps longer). I honestly was living in a fog. I didn't enjoy my new found status as mother of two children. I went through the motions because I had to...Sean needed me and Luke needed me. The type of depression I suffered from did not cause me to feel like I would hurt my children or myself, rather it filled me with anxiety. I didn't want to be alone. I was sad. It was winter time when I had Luke so all I saw outside my windows were white snow and overcast days. Anyone who lives in the Northeast can sympathize with this as I couldn't take a newborn out to crowds of people due to fear of infection. As Luke's sole source of food, that left few opportunities for me to leave the house. I felt trapped, overwhelmed, and scared. I used to stare out my front window watching the cars drive by and wish I could escape from my house. I was so incredibly lonely.
Now some of you may be wondering how I ever decided to have another child after this experience and sometimes I wonder too, but I honestly did not feel like our family was complete. When I found out I was pregnant with my third child and learned that my due date would again be in January (the bleakest month of the year for me), I must say my throat closed and I was filled with fear. Instead of being overjoyed to tell people I was pregnant, I cried. All I could think about was what I felt after having Luke and I didn't want to feel that way again. Then one day, my mom and I were sitting on my couch and I shared my fears with her and she said something to me that impacted me greatly. She said, 'you don't have to breastfeed this baby.' And it was like a light bulb went off. Of course, I knew I didn't have to breastfeed, but to hear someone else give me permission was empowering. By not breastfeeding, I freed myself up to take medication to battle the postpartum depression. (Disclaimer: I know many people breastfeed while taking medication, it is just something I chose not to do.) I also, knew that with my third baby it would be hard to breastfeed, so formula feeding seemed like the best solution.
Fast forward 13 months and I can honestly tell you that I am happier now than I have ever been as a mother. God gave me such a gift with my baby Jackson. I have enjoyed every single moment with him and I know this is because I am on medication. I feel as though I was cheated with my first two children, but I am making up for it the third time around. I now know the beauty of a newborn and all that comes with it. I have not complained about the middle-of-the-night feedings. Instead, I enjoy the time I have with Jackson, just me and him. I also, pretty much carry him around all day with me in the Baby Bjorn. Some would say I am creating trouble for myself down the road, but I'm willing to take that risk. I love the closeness I feel with him.
God has blessed me so richly and I thank Him each and every day.
I hope by sharing my story, I can help someone who may be suffering from PPD. It is nothing to be ashamed of. You have no control over it.
On a completely different note:
*I also wanted to share that I am starting a photography business (hence the watermark on my photos now), so this blog will be largely for sharing family related stuff, scrapbooking/papercrafting projects, and my Thursday's thoughts. I will be starting a photography blog for my business. Also, if you are in the Buffalo area and are interested in having me take photos of your children and/or family, please email me. I'd love to work with you.
If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read my story. Life is a journey and a learning experience. I am learning each and every day.