Postpartum is a sadistic jerk. (Believe it or not, that’s me toning it down for polite audiences).
Now that I’m nearing a year on the other side of it, and TimeHop is showing me photos from that time, I’ve had a chance to reflect on all the things postpartum stole from me.
Here are just a few, in no particular order.
Postpartum stole my joy.
There has never been another point in my life where I experienced the pure anguish that I did in postpartum. It brought about a despair and a desperation that I hope no one else ever experiences.
Postpartum stole my peace.
The anxiety. Oh, the anxiety. You know that sense of calm that recharges your soul? How your brain just gets quiet and allows you to see clearly? Yeah, postpartum me didn’t have a second of that. Not. One. Single. Second.
Postpartum stole my self-confidence.
Postpartum convinced me that I was the worst mother that ever lived. It told me that I was dangerous, and that my family was better off without me. That little voice in the back of your mind that sometimes whispers that you are not enough? Postpartum hands it a freaking bullhorn and a red bull and sets it loose inside your head.
Postpartum stole a whole lot of my money.
I am beyond fortunate. Really, I am. My husband’s job comes with phenomenal insurance, so my inpatient treatment was covered. What wasn’t covered? The hotels for my partial hospitalization, the gas I spent driving home every weekend, and the massive amounts of fast food I had to eat because I was living out of said hotels. The formula that had to be purchased because I couldn’t come off the medication that was incompatible with breastfeeding. The medication co-pays. The ongoing therapy. The babysitter I need so I can go to therapy. Mental illness costs so darn much.
Postpartum stole even more of my time.
I spent 10 days inpatient. I spent another month and a half living out of a hotel in a strange city while I went through treatment. In addition to the almost two months that I literally DID NOT SPEND WITH MY BABIES, I’ve spent so much time in therapy. So much time working on myself. So much time that I literally could’ve picked up a hobby or a part time job if it had been freed up.
But now that I’m on the other side, I realize recovery has stolen something too. It has stolen the idealized version of a mom that I told myself I had to be.
I realize that I don’t have to be perfect. That I don’t need to put stress on myself to meet these unrealistic expectations. Recovery has taught me that my health and my happiness matters, and it has stolen the perfectionism right out from under me. Recovery can do the same for you, mama in the trenches. It can, and if you give it the time and work it needs, it will.
Postpartum steals so much from us. But you can steal your life back. It’s not too late.
Love to you, dear mama.