Every year at Thanksgiving my heart is full of gratitude for all that I have been given. This year in particular saw many small miracles for our family.
I am a religious person and I rely on prayer a lot and my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I needed Him more than ever at the start of this year. I was five months pregnant with our third baby. For the most part the pregnancy was moving along just fine. I had morning sickness a lot longer with her but that was all. Then January came and I started to feel a little different.
My husband had recently gotten a full-time job after owning his own business for 10 years. Our kids were going to a sitter for the first time in their lives and my hormones from pregnancy were all over the place. This new routine was a little stressful as I had to get the girls up early, dressed, and lunches packed so we could get out the door. Then I would drive 45 minutes to get to work. My husband would pick up the kids and then I would get home around 6’ish. Slowly this new routine and craziness started to weigh on me. There was too much change going on all at once and I still had to be me with all of my responsibilities.
I started to get upset at my kids for the littlest things. I would scream at them and sometimes for no reason. I was crying a lot and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It’s not like I hadn’t been pregnant before and knew how whacked out your emotions could get. This was different. I didn’t like the look in the eyes of my girls. They were sad and perhaps frightened. I began to research online about depression during pregnancy. I’d never heard about it before. Women had only ever talked—and not very much mind you—about postpartum depression. I began to think I was depressed. I talked to my mom and my older sister a little about the way I was feeling and they encouraged me to tell my doctor.
At my next doctor’s visit I talked with her and she asked me some specific questions about how I was feeling. I really wanted to go and talk to someone, a counselor or therapist, before “depression” was a diagnosis. My doctor right away prescribed medication. I was a little stunned that this was the first step and not counseling. I was hesitant but I got it filled and hoped for the best. I didn’t want to continue feeling like this. I started taking it that next morning. Right away, maybe 20 minutes or so, I did not like the way I felt. I had no control over my thoughts and I felt fuzzy and nauseated. I continued to feel out of sorts and my inner self kept telling me this was not right. Taking this medication was not the right course of action. I knew I was not myself but I knew I didn’t need medicine.
At work that next week I made an appointment to see a counselor on campus. I was so glad we had a program that was close and I could go on my lunch hour. After my initial intake session I was assigned a therapist. She was wonderful. I don’t understand why people have attached such a stigma to therapy. It’s okay to talk to someone. Sometimes your family can be too close to the situation or they are not equipped to help you. I talked to my siblings and told them I was going to therapy and how I was feeling and their support was amazing. My husband and I talked after each of my sessions and I left his support as well. I reached out to a few close friends and their support just made a huge difference.
I saw my therapist for three months, every two weeks, before the baby was born at the end of April. During this process I was also diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and had to think about food every moment of every day on top of everything else. Through my sessions I realized how stressed out I was. It was over the amount any person could really take and then some. I had pressures at work. I had pressures at home. I had pressures that I’d put upon myself. And pressures I felt from society itself. I never wanted to be a working mom. I’d always wanted to be with my kids and raise them like my mom did. Spend quality time with them. Work was robbing those precious moments from me and with the impending child on the way, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I broke. How could I still continue to help with my family finances and still be a sane mom? I wanted to be with my babies.
I learned from the sessions how to let go. I learned how to just let my house be messy and spend quality moments with my girls. I learned how to breathe and count before getting angry or lashing out at my kids. I learned how to embrace the negative in order to turn it into a positive. I learned not to ignore my feelings because doing so gave them more fuel and more damage. I learned to be more open with myself and talk more openly with others. I learned to love myself. I learned it was okay to sacrifice for my family at this time and that my kids still loved me even though someone else tended them during the day. I learned how to forgive myself. I didn’t have to bare the weight of it all. I learned how to grieve my miscarriage that preceded this pregnancy.
My therapist was so happy, as was I, that I’d listened to myself and got help. Medication is not a bad thing and sometimes we do need it but in my case I really needed to talk things out and look at them. Break them down. I learned so much from this. My mom and my sister sent me quotes and talked to me almost on a daily basis through emails and texts and phone calls. My husband held me while I cried a lot on his shoulders.
Did I want to go through this experience? No. But I have learned in my life that these are the best of times because we grow so much and become the best of ourselves. I am a better mom for my kids. I do everything for my kids and hope that they will understand why mommy cannot be home all day with them at this time. I recently got a new job that is 5 minutes from my house. What a blessing. I now have more time with my kids.
I hope that by sharing this that you feel hope, supported, and loved in this life. I know that God is mindful of me and the situations in my life. I know he loves me and wants me to be happy. I am ever thankful for the good and the bad in my life every day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.