One of my favorite songs of all time Hardwood Pews has a line that goes “Lovely ladies make pretty babies, it’s true.” .. “Lovely ladies take your beauty to your grave.” The meaning of “Lovely” as something that is not external, as the physical looks fade over time. It is what’s in the heart that will be brought with you to the grave. That a woman with inner beauty, peace and joy in her heart….will raise babies with the same disposition, “pretty babies”. It is not the physical beauty that they will learn from, yet it is what is in your heart that they will soak up like a sponge. I think I listened to this song a million times while I was pregnant and it was my goal to be one of those “lovely ladies” we all admire that have it all together from the inside out. You know those mystical women that can laugh at the sleepless nights and have genuine smiles even after baby blows out of their diaper.
My daughter arrived and it was not how I envisioned it to be. How could I be a “lovely lady” when I struggled so badly with postpartum depression? Crying over my lack of sleep. Worrying over my new child bearing hips. Breastfeeding didn’t start as magical as I was told it would. Feeling jaded whenever one of my friends with no children complain about having no free time. I am no saint when it comes to having a joyful heart at all times. I struggle with my contentment often and it got so bad a few months postpartum that I didn’t recognize myself. In hindsight a major reason for this is because I found my “happiness” in nice things, my freedom, my ability to travel often, my sense of “how far I came from that dorky girl in middle school” and approval from others. After I had a baby, many of those things were stripped from me, as shallow things never last. I could no longer afford the nice things I used to, I couldn’t just walk out the door and explore a town miles away, traveling to fun locations was out of the picture because I could no longer afford the money/time that it would cost. I was weighing the same as I did in middle school (not to mention that regretful haircut reminded me of eighth grade all over again) and I didn’t have group of people that “envied” my oh so glamorous life, how could they…half of my closet no longer fit me.
I wallowed without leaving the house for a great time, I loved my daughter from day one but I didn’t know what to make of my new life. It made me build my foundation of joy from the ground up and redefine what my ideals of success were. This time, I didn’t build my house out of sticks or straw….but with something that will carry me through the bad times along with the good. I’ve learned that if it can’t weather through the storm of life, it’s not worth having. After realizing what I need to treasure the most, I’ve found peace that my life is exactly where God intended it to be.I’m not meant to be living on the coast of Oregon right now, being a hip nomad finding cheap satisfaction. I’m meant to be in Hampton Roads, Virginia, waking up every single day to a loving Fiancé and a daughter that is not only my pride and joy…but a teacher of many lessons. I’m meant to find joy in the somewhat monotonous things. I even had a blast at the grocery store yesterday with my daughter, singing and growling (Sadie’s favorite thing right now) and slowly explaining everything that was going on. It was the first time I felt like one of those “lovely ladies” with my giggling “pretty baby”. I enjoy making healthy, delicious meals for my family, finding great deals for things we need, doing research and finding answers for things my Fiancé is too busy to tackle at this moment. I am finding ways to invest time into my growing business and be a kick butt Mom all in the same day. Most importantly I needed to incorporate prayer daily to cease those nagging thoughts of relentless worry that come with being responsible to keep a little human alive and well. This is what I now take pride in. This is how WE won my battle with postpartum depression. (It took a group effort, doing it alone was impossible.)
If you are struggling with PPD, know that you aren’t alone. Many new moms go through it and it’s only natural, as our lives change dramatically. Throw in those hormones and lack of sleep. Enough to make anyone a little crazy. It’s important to talk about it…during and after. Especially with other women… The less “taboo” it is, the more likely people will be accepting of receiving help if it’s gone too far to handle on your own.