Postpartum Depression (and its relatives Anxiety and Rage) is a full sensory experience.⠀
-It smells like sweat and sour milk because you haven't shower since...what day is it again? It smells like the healing herbs you dump into the bath tub, praying they offer some relief to your aching body and lady bits- a mix of floral and mint. It smells like the coffee bean body scrub you use to desperately scratch away your incision scar or those deep stretch marks, a constant reminder of your body's flaws. It smells like that dirty hoody you slip over your head for the 6th time this week and unwashed hair, burned dinner and the trash you forgot to take out (again).⠀
-It sounds like the kids crying outside the bathroom while you step under the steaming hot water for the first time in as long as you can remember, the water pressure turned as high as you can make it so it ripples forcefully off your sore muscles. It sounds like you, crying inside the shower right along with the kids outside your door, anguish reverberating off the echoing walls. It sounds like exasperated sighs, canceling plans again because you just can't bear the thought of leaving the house. It sounds like your internal dialogue berating you with all the what-ifs and shortcomings, guilt trips and should-haves. It sounds like the beautiful sounds of your children playing in the other room but instead of joy all you can hear is noise and it makes your skin crawl and your ears ring and your brain shut-down.⠀
-It looks like another top-bun mom-hair day, spilled coffee stains on the counter and on your shirt (or is that from the last diaper you changed?). Sometimes it looks like desperate, dark circles under your eyes, and sometimes it looks like you're wearing just enough makeup and a smile fake enough to pass for "okay." And sometimes you really do feel ok not to fake it and it gives you false hope that the haze is finally clearing. It looks like chapped, cracked and peeling lips because you forgot to keep yourself hydrated until 8pm and no amount of long-lasting lip color can fake that. It looks like dirty laundry, dirty dishes, dirty diapers and dry shampoo. It looks like Mommy hasn't had a hair cut in 6 months and too many "awake" lines on your sleep tracker. ⠀
-It tastes like that extra dark chocolate you sneak at night when the kids have finally fallen asleep at the end of a long, brutal day. It tastes like failure, that cold, acidic flavor of unmet expectations, of goals unfulfilled, of hours wasted and days gone by. It tastes like reheated coffee and convenience foods because cooking just isn't in the cards tonight. It tastes like the prickly cactus lump in your throat when the house goes quiet at night but your thoughts just won't and even cold coffee can't wash down the bitter after taste of failure and resentment for this life that you desperately prayed for but still can't seem to enjoy or succeed in.⠀
But the worst part of all...⠀
Postpartum depression feels like never getting to the top of that yawn, never getting enough sleep but never being able to go to sleep when it's time.
It feels like losing your sexual and nourishment appetites and not even missing them. It feels like forgetting that self-care appointment (again) and the deep shame and disappointment that goes with it, forgetting to take your meds before you leave the house, forgetting to take your meds at all.
It means forgetting what day it is, forgetting your best friend's birthday, forgetting parent day at school and letting your kids down (again).
It feels like to do lists that grow, instead of shrinking, babies who never unlatch and won't sleep in their beds.
It feels like your cells are vibrating against the walls of your body, begging for an escape, only to be matched by the equally disorganized noise of the kids fending for themselves while you check out mentally.
It feels like the sun is shining too bright, all the fires burning at once, too hot and too many to manage at once.
It feels like that tingling in your fingertips and your heart racing as you wonder if the person you're chatting with is silently judging you as a mother and as a person.
It feels too heavy to get out of bed in the mornings, but the longer you lay there, the harder it becomes. ⠀ ⠀ It feels like it will never end.⠀ It feels like the haze will never dissipate.⠀ Like the sun will never shine again. Like you don't even know who you are anymore. It feels like that. But one day, It does end. The haze does dissipate. You start to recognize yourself again, little by little, moment by moment, day by day. [Originally posted on Spokane Birth Boot Camp] Photo (c) Tavia Redburn Photography #breakthesilence #motherhoodintheraw #spokanemama #newborncare #birthclass #spokanebirthprofessional #spokanebirths #momtribe #postpartum #spokanedoesntsuck #spokane #childbirth #spokanebirthbootcamp #postpartumhonoring #postpartumlyingin #fourthtrimester #postpartumdepression #postpartumanxiety #perinatalmentalhealth #motheringthemother #familytransitions #postpartumdoula