January 6, 2018

All the Things Left Unsaid – How a Baby Changed it All

FILED IN: Lifestyle, Personal

I’m going to share with you all on a very personal level. Like, lay all the cards out, super vulnerable type of personal level.  It’s a long read, so bear with me here. This has been weighing heavily on my heart and I could never find the words to express how I felt. After months of debating what I should do, I feel like it’s finally time to share a piece of my life with you that has been my day to day reality for months.

 

As most of you know, I am a wife and a mother to 3 beautiful children. They are my world. Taylor, our first baby, was rough. Mostly because when we found out I was pregnant, we went from clueless newlyweds to clueless parents. He was a happy boy with an itch for adventure. Natalie, our second, was the best baby there ever was. She slept all night from birth, loved all the foods, asked for naps, and loved everyone around her. We thought she would be the final puzzle piece in our family.

 

Fast forward 2 1/2 years, we found out I was pregnant with our little caboose. I honestly can’t say I was that excited, I’m pretty sure I actually cried. Pregnancy does not agree with me very well, as in I am sick at least half the time I’m pregnant. I knew I would be sick within days of finding out, so I tried to prep for it as best I could with peppermint gums, ginger candies, and I pulled out my trusty giant “puke bowl” (you know you all have one) for the days I didn’t have a toilet nearby. I’ll spare you the gross details, but I was so sick. SO sick. There were days I could barely move at all without running for the toilet (and staying there all day).  Having two other kids at home while this was going on was way harder than I thought it would be. I was frustrated because they needed me so much and they were frustrated and confused as to why mom couldn’t move from the bed 9/10 days. It wasn’t a happy time for anyone those first few months.

 

Once baby girl was big enough to feel her kicks and flutters, we were so excited and anxious for her arrival. The kids were excited for their new sister and Josh and I were excited to have a new baby in the house. We thought she would be much like her siblings were as babies since they were so similar. Yeah, that was a very wrong assumption. I know I’ve blogged about that before, so if you want to read about it, you can find it here.

 

Anyway, after weeks of inconsistent contractions, the day finally came for her arrival. Four hours after getting to the hospital, she was finally here! She was a beautiful, squishy baby from the start and our hearts overflowed with joy. She was a good baby, for the first 48 hours. Things got harder, like way harder. I became overwhelmed. I had too few hands for too many kids. My mind raced. My anxiety soared. Things were not as easy postpartum as they had been previously as I assumed they would be. Madeline screamed, and she screamed a lot. She never slept, I never got time to myself. The time I did get was basically just enough to cry in the shower for a few minutes before going back to being overwhelmed by this precious baby that I loved so much.

 

This is where a “dirty word” comes into play; depression. Postpartum depression to be exact. Taboo. We don’t talk about that, Lauren. Sweep that stuff back under the rug. The words crossed my mind more than once as I felt a range of emotions from utter despair to small glimmers of joy. I couldn’t have depression, though. I never had before. So I did sweep it back under the rug.

 

I continued to try and push through all these overwhelming feelings as we prepared to relocate our family closer to the metro, and I struggled. When we did move, things really just escalated. My anxiety became unbearable. I spent HOURS crying over the smallest things. Anger dominated my every day life. I no longer wanted to leave my house because I got so anxious, I always ended up crying as soon as I got back into my car. If there was the tiniest bump in my plans, I turned into an anxious puddle of mush, and my entire day was unraveled. Instead, I sat at home, stared at the empty walls of our new home, and I closed myself off to everyone around me. I felt empty, devoid of all feelings except sadness and anger. Joy came and went like little bursts of light on the darkest of nights. I pretended to be fine so no one would ask questions that I didn’t feel like answering. Loneliness ruled my life. I was so alone, and by my own doing. Again, the thought that something definitely wasn’t right came to the forefront of my mind. Along with that thought came the memory of a nurse telling me shortly after the birth of Taylor, that “only selfish moms have postpartum depression”. Now, I know this is NOT true. I know that postpartum depression isn’t something you choose, and it can affect anyone, but those words still stuck with me after all these years (be careful what you say, friends. You never know how it can affect others). I wasn’t a selfish mom. I cared for my kids more than I cared for myself. Again, I pushed away the need for help.

 

“I felt empty, devoid of all feelings except sadness and anger.”

 

My relationships suffered. I pushed away those closest to me. Josh and I argued over the smallest things. I know he was seeking the same answers and was just as frustrated as I was. He just wanted to know what was wrong and how to help, but I didn’t even know that for myself, so how could I answer him? I desperately needed the help I was so desperately avoiding. I didn’t want to call the doctor. She would put me on medication, and medication meant I was broken, right?

 

Eventually these feelings of loneliness and emptiness became so incredibly overwhelming I couldn’t stand them. I wanted to feel like myself. I wanted to save the relationships I was unintentionally destroying. Help was only a phone call away. I did what I felt (at the time) was the most horrifically embarrassing thing ever, and I contacted my doctor. I laid it all out on the table for her and I begged for help after months of dodging the issue. This was supposed to be a happy time, yet all I felt was a gulf of emptiness.

 

This is where my healing began. This is where I began to feel again. Shoutout to all you fantastic nurses out there. My doctor’s office has the best nurses. They care, like genuinely care, for all of the patients that they see. Tiph, I’m looking at you. One of the first things she asked me was if I felt suicidal. What a slap back to reality. Can postpartum depression get that bad? Yes, it can. If you EVER have feelings to end your life, PLEASE get help. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor, a family member, a friend. It is vital to seek help when you need it. I know that now. Tiph talked to me about my feelings, recommended some things I could do on my own to ease the feelings of loneliness and self doubt, and told me if I wanted medication, all I had to do was ask. It took me a week of beating myself up for feeling like a failure before I accepted the medicine.

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking medication. It is there for us to help us. Yes, it can be harmful if taken other than prescribed, but that is why it is so important to follow your doctor and pharmacist’s instructions exactly. They know what they’re talking about. If you question their advice, get a second opinion! There is nothing wrong with that either.

 

“This is where my healing began. This is where I began to feel again.”

 

And so I started taking my medicine to help balance my crazy hormonal body. I’ve taken anxiety/depression medicine for the past 2 1/2 months and I can honestly say I’m so glad I took the help offered. The feelings didn’t go away right away, but it was like a lighthouse in the dark when they finally did. I began living again rather than just being. I felt joy, real joy, in my family rather than guilt for the lack thereof. I reached out to those I knew who had suffered the same problems I was experiencing and I found acceptance, relief, and solidarity. I was NOT alone.

 

Fast forward to now, I am finally feeling like myself again and I’m able to wean off my medicine. I am so grateful for modern medicine and the benefits it can provide. This experience wasn’t one I’d consider a fun one or one I’d want to ever have again, and I am lucky that it was only a short period of time. I know this is the lifetime reality for many others and I have so much respect for those who suffer from anxiety and depression more than just a small period of their lives. It was an extremely hard experience to be in my own head every day, battling myself for the lack of a better explanation. It’s easy to pick a fight with someone else, it’s hard to win a fight against yourself.

 

The top 5 things I have learned throughout this experience are:

#1 – I am important. It is easy to lose yourself in the raising of your tribe, or even the hustle and bustle of every day life. Your children are SO important, but so are you. They cannot have the proper care if you are not taking care of yourself. Take the time to feel like you. Shower, go to the gym, have a girl’s night, take a shopping trip by yourself (even just for groceries), or just buy the shirt that makes you feel like a million bucks. I promise, it will help your mental health. I love my children to infinity and beyond, but I’m also counting down until bedtime by 5pm most days.

 

#2 – You are not broken just because you need help. Help is not a bad thing. If you need help, all you have to do is ask. Sometimes it’s hard to humble yourself enough to ask, but in the end, it’s better to ask than to risk what could happen if you don’t. Help will always be there, because at the very least I am here for you. You need a friend? I’m there. You just need an ear to vent to? I’m there. Need a Chic-fil-a date? I am definitely there. It’s okay to not be okay, just make sure you get the help you need. Don’t be like me and stick your head in the sand while everything is crumbling around you.

 

#3 – Depression is not something you choose to have. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that people “choose” to be depressed, they’re just sad, and need to “man up” or “suck it up”. I’m sorry, but I did not choose that great void of nothingness. I don’t know a single person that WANTS to have a lack of emotion or an excess of the more unpleasant emotions. Depression is a disorder and that isn’t something you can just choose to turn on and off. It’s a real thing, whether it’s postpartum or everyday. Do not judge what you do not know.

 

#4 – Prayer was an important part of the healing process. It was through the grace of my Heavenly Father I made it through this. I would literally pour my heart out to Him every day and every night. He filled my heart with peace, and helped me to understand my needs and how to care for them. Prayer does not make things go away, this was my trial, but the burden was made lighter through Christ. He experienced my loneliness and feelings of inadequacy when he took on the pains of the world. Even if no one else around me knew how I felt, He did. I could feel the love of Christ and my Heavenly Father throughout the whole experience, which helped me to get up every morning and give my best effort, even though I really felt like just staying in bed. Even if you aren’t a religious person, prayer is a good way to meditate and put yourself in the right state of mind for your day. Take that time out to evaluate yourself and what needs to change to get where you want to be mentally and emotionally. It helps, I promise.

 

#5 – Enjoy those babies, because they won’t be babies for long. If you are suffering from postpartum depression, I know first hand how hard it is to enjoy those little moments with your baby. After getting help, be sure to not take anything for granted because after having had 3 children of my own, they really do grow up so fast. I have a 6-year-old, A SIX YEAR OLD, and I’m not sure how that happened. Cherish the time you have with your littles, because they’ll be grown and leaving the house before you know it. Also, you need to remember how sweet they were for the days when they yell at you and act like you’re the devil.

 

It may seem like a weird thing to say, but I’m grateful for this experience in my life. It has helped me to better understand how to be more empathetic toward others who are suffering from these issues on a daily basis and how I can personally help them. I’m grateful that it has taught me to be more patient with not only my family, but with those around me when I really don’t know the battles they are fighting within themselves. Until now, I had only shared this with a very limited number of close family and friends (whom I am so grateful for – your support was everything. You know who you are). I was ashamed and embarrassed by the fact that I had an illness I couldn’t even help. Why am I sharing it now? Because I have hope that it will reach someone who has or is experiencing the same thing and they can know that they are not alone. They can know that it really is a normal thing, and they shouldn’t feel ashamed. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. You are not broken. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me, either. If you just need to talk about how you’ve been feeling and you think I can relate or you just want an unrelated party to talk to, I’m always here. Don’t keep everything bottled up, leaving the most important things unsaid. And with that, I’m going to have to sign off because I’ve got a baby that just woke up from her nap really hangry. Let’s all resolve to spend 2018 a little more self-aware, a little more understanding, and a lot more loving.

 

Until next time,

-Lauren B.

 

 

 

 

 

comments +

  1. Bonnie says:

    Sweet Lauren, I am so glad you had the inner strength to say, ok. I need help. Thank you for sharing this. From one mom that struggled after the caboose to another, good job momma. You have to take care of yourself too.

    • lbeauregard says:

      Thank you so much, Bonnie! I appreciate those sweet words. Momming isn’t easy, and I’m so glad we as women can come together to support each other throughout our struggles!

  2. April says:

    Been there. It was hardest after my second baby. I took medication for several months. I really started to come out of it once my daughter started sleeping all night. Amazing what a difference sleep makes! You are definitely not alone! I’m so glad you asked for help!

    • lbeauregard says:

      I can’t wait until I can get some real sleep again! I surely do miss sleeping longer than 3 hours at a time. Thanks for sharing, April!

  3. Aunt Becky says:

    Ah Lauren I am a so sorry you are dealing with this. Anxiety certainly rins in the Cronk genes. Lisa, Deanna, Leslie, Eric and I all take medication for it. We don’t talk about it much but are so thankful for meds to help us through each day. Having three small children compounds the problem. I am so happy you got the help you needed. You are so loved!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's be friends on the 'gram!

FOLLOW ALONG @laurenbeauphoto

All the pretty on the daily:

@laurenbeauphoto