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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Life :: Depression in Motherhood (Guest Post)

 photo baby-loudmouth-stephanie-shar-post-partum-depression-mommy-blues.jpg

In regards to all the media and stereotypes of mental illness, I wanted to share my experience of being a new mom and dealing with my chronic moderate depression.

So, I really don’t know where to start. Honestly, I feel like I am in a group counseling class. “My name is Brittanie and I am depressed” (everyone mutters back “hello Brittanie”). Okay then, I have been dealing with depression for 11 years and when a cycle comes (kind of like women’s monthly’s but that doesn’t come as often) my days get unbearable. I am currently on a very slow but steady process of adding balance to my life and getting the old me back but upgraded. Unfortunately this year for me has been full of ups and downs: life-changing events, breakdowns, and family drama.

In January of this year (2014), I got married to the love of my life; 5 days later my daughter, Sofia, arrived. Those two weeks were one of the best times of my life (no, the delivery of my baby was not fun). Prior to my labor, my doctors had warned me that I had a high chance of getting Postpartum Depression (PPD) and had numerously told me to reach out for help when needed. I have been a little skeptical of getting counseling due to meeting horrible psychiatrists who had no sympathy and did not give a rat’s ass if I jumped off the face of the earth. Now looking back, I wish maybe I could have had the strength to call the nursing staff after feeling the symptoms of PPD 5 weeks after giving birth.

I know that my depression has been taking a toll: a toll on my relationships with family and friends, a toll on my work, and a toll on the way I live life. It makes me feel so sick everyday seeing the hurt in my husband’s eyes, having my daughter not getting to be exposed to the real me, but a disgusting negative person. It’s hard to work all these problems on your own especially when you don’t have your friends around, and your mom lives far, plus the in-laws do not speak a word of English. I just tend to keep all my problems to myself which I know is not healthy, so this is why I am going back to basics and pulling out the old notepad and pen (in this case, the Mac) and writing all the emotions from each day.

I may not be saying a lot about my depression but honestly I am very scared of sharing this story and I want to be able to face my fears. I need to embrace that I have depression and I am not going to let it make me a victim.

Dealing with depression and being a parent is really hard. I am not going to lie and say, “Oh, I got my shit together” when I really don’t. I feel more pressure to be a good mom and wife because I feel that I have to prove to people that I may not be 100%; but I will always put my daughter’s and husband’s needs first.

Brittanie Renoj is a photographer and blogger based in Los Angeles. She has done photography for indie musicians, fashion designers, and has had her work sold in local art shows. She is the editor/photographer of lifestyle/portfolio blog LA ||| Fotografa. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their daughter, Sofia.
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