May 15, 2017

Postpartum Depression Health and Healing

This is a post I’ve written and unwritten a hundred times, but every time I’ve opened up about my battle with postpartum depression, I’ve received a flood of responses from women who have gone though something similar.  This tells me it’s something that needs to be spoken about more and I believe sometimes just putting it out there is a good place to start.

photo credit: Veronica Reeve

My recovery from Vivienne has been quite a bit tougher than with my other two babies.  I’ve kind of dismissed it as the fact that it was my third, or that it’s because Anna and Vivie are only 19 months apart.  Possibly it’s because I’m getting older.  Whatever the reason, there is certainly something different this time around and I’m desperate to heal and get back to the healthy and happy version of myself.

Happy.  I almost hate writing that word connected to this topic.  Of course I’m happy.  I have three gorgeous daughters.  I have a loving, supportive husband.  I have career(s), hobbies, friends, people I love.  Why wouldn’t I be happy?  And most of the time I feel just that– happy.  I don’t believe postpartum depression is a sign of being unhappy.  In fact, I think that’s a hugely misunderstood part of PPD.  A new baby is a wonderful, life-changing experience filled with happiness, yet at times I feel like the pain is so bad I can barely breathe.

So how can I tell the difference and connect the way I’m feeling with PPD and not with unhappiness?  I’ll have a great day.  Nothing out of the ordinary goes particularly wrong, yet my ability to deal with the normal stress of the day seems diminished.  Typically I can let things roll off but it’s like I’m drowning in a sea of black tar, and it’s pulling me down.

That feeling is something I experienced after my middle daughter, Anna, was born.  I shutter to think about how dark some days were and how much I remained silent.  We were in the middle of our home remodel, Jon was working long days at work then working long nights on our home.  I didn’t want to add to his stress so I didn’t tell him.  Or anyone.  And where my mind went scares me.

With Vivie, it’s been a little different.  First, I’ve been much more open with Jon.  Secondly, the lowest lows seem to have hit later.  Vivie is six months and I still have really bad episodes, particularly around my period.  With Anna, six months is where I finally started to come out of the dark haze I had been living in.

After a pretty rough day, I found myself sitting in the nursery, rocking my baby while my two older daughters made a giant mess of the playroom, in tears.  What was wrong with me?  Why did I feel like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin and find the darkest, quietest place I could find to try to make the pain stop?  Sound awful?  It was.

In desperation I started texting an angel friend of mine who has gone through her own hormone balancing journey.  We had talked some time back about some testing she had gone though to find deficiencies in her hormone levels.  I’m at the point where I’ve got to figure out what’s going on and I know I’m not alone in this battle.  And PPD is a battle– a battle a lot of you are fighting as well, and more than anything I want you to know you’re not alone as much as it will make you feel like you are.

Postpartum depression isn’t the only issue lingering from my pregnancy and delivery.  I shared on instagram a while back I’ve been dealing with some sciatic nerve and hip pain.  It’s been really frustrating and frankly, ticks me off daily.  I mean, hey body– I’m just trying to do you a solid and workout all the time like I love to and you’re all not so fast.  I’m going to make it miserable for you.  Ughghghghghghghghgh.

I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of anything that could have caused this and the only thing I can think of that was different with Vivie’s delivery was my epidural.  They hit a nerve when it was going in, giving me a strong dose of epinephrin and sending my body into shock.  It was terrifying and I’ve never felt anything like it, and I hope I never do again.  They pulled it out and re-inserted it, but I was pretty sore and bruised.  I don’t know if that maybe caused some nerve damage or something?  But I’ve had a few weird symptoms– random numbness in my fingers and arm, and then the hip pain which literally keeps me up at night.  It is extremely frustrating, especially since I’m a pretty active person.

I’ve tried a gazillion things (many of the ideas came from all of you on Instagram– thank you!) and there have been a few things that have helped: walking doesn’t bother it much so I load up the stroller and walk a lot, foam rolling helps, and I’ve been switching up my workout routine a bit to try to avoid lifting heavy weights and also a lot of jumping/running, as the propelling motion seems to aggravate it.

So, okay, that’s a lot of talking about the issues.  Let’s talk about some solutions.  After all, I’m a take-charge-and-get-off-your-bum-if-you-want-to-change-things type of gal.  And back to why I’m sharing this all to begin with, let’s get to some solutions together, shall we?  Whether you’re fresh out of pregnancy like I am, still baking a bun in the oven, years past the baby stage, or haven’t even entered it, women are notorious for putting all others needs, health, and well being above their own.  Well, I say enough.  It’s time for me (and you, and you, and you) to put health at the tippy top of the priority list.

I’m going to share what I’m doing– what’s working, what’s not.  Eating plans, supplements, workout plans, all of it.  And I hope you’ll do the same.  Be sure to follow me on Instagram as well– instastories are going to be full of testimonials and also questions about what has worked for you.

These little babies take so much of you, don’t they?  But they give it back a million times over.  And those gummy smiles and squishy baby rolls deserve the very best version of me.  I deserve the very best version of me.  And you deserve that too.

 

  1. Ruth

    May 16th, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Absolutely, it is nerve damage. I had some from an epidural. It has gone away. My mom has some and it still effects her on occasion. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jen

    May 16th, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I’m hoping to get some answers soon. xx

  3. Heidi Nelson

    May 16th, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Love you jen! You got this. You are amazing!

  4. Jen

    May 16th, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Love you too, friend!

  5. Char Bateman

    May 16th, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Perhaps you are doing too much! When I get over-loaded I brake in hives. And I am in my middle 60’s! You are such a PRETTY lady and you are SO talented. Between the Spirit, your Husband and you, I am sure you will figure it out! Love ya!

  6. Jen

    May 16th, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you so much! Every comment means so much!

  7. Karin

    May 18th, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It must be very painful to write about such a private and personal experience. I often feel that we set very unrealistic expectations for ourselves as mothers and wives at times. Having three small kids is challenging! It certainly sounds like you are on the right track. Best of luck!

  8. Jen

    May 24th, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for your sweet comment! xx

  9. Dawn

    May 18th, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Hi, Jen. Long time reader, first time commenter. You’re right, you do have 3 beautiful girls. I can understand how all of these other factors can be very frustrating. I’ll cut to the chase; I haven’t been pregnant in years and never had an issue with the placement of my epidurals. I was having crazy sciatic pain which I never had during my pregnancies. I was working out regularly, watching my form, etc. but still having pain and it was getting worse. I finally had an MRI and turns out I had a protruding disc. Could that possibly be an issue? It’s been a long and very frustrating road. Praying it’s not that. And praying for your hormones.

  10. Jen

    May 24th, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Dawn, thank you so much for your comment! I’m actually going to have an MRI tomorrow because the neurologist I just had an appointment with thinks it is exactly that. I hope it’s not! But at least I’ll have some answers. Thank you so much! xx

  11. Stephanie

    May 18th, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for sharing this! Your post really resonated with me. I had my 2nd baby in January and while I would love to have a third in a few years, this past pregnancy took everything out of me. With my first, physically i bounced back so much faster but was an emotional, anxious wreck until after she weaned. With this one the opposite is proving to be true. The last 6 weeks of pregnancy had me feeling like i had a broken tail bone and major hip flexor issues. I spent all of February and March seeing a post natal chiropractor 2-3 times a week that made some major headway on the issues, but there is still some lingering pain. I hoping beyond hope that the anxiety isnt latent and just waiting for the right moment to rear its ugly head. I look forward to following your progress and that maybe i will find some tactics that will work for me. Much love!

  12. Jen

    May 24th, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I love hearing what other people are trying, and also knowing we are not alone in this! xx

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She’s Jen. He’s Jon. We’re believers in the power of home, fearless DIYers, and eternal optimists who know with a can-do spirit, elbow grease and some guidance, you can create a home you love. We love a good project—or 20. Stick around and we’ll have you pulling out the paint brushes and fluffing throw pillows in no time.

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