Joy Stealer

One of the things I absolutely despise about the postpartum period is postpartum depression and anxiety. They are the joy stealers in my postpartum experience.

I am so damn grateful for 3 healthy children. I'm grateful for low risk pregnancies. I'm grateful for breaking the cycle of abuse and trauma I experienced growing up and creating a safe space for my kids to be themselves and grow up feeling love, respect, and hopefully needing only minimal therapy. But fucking fuck, I am so not grateful for PPD/A.

It's like a grey cloud hanging over every joyous moment. Every "baby's first _______" overshadowed by intrusive thoughts and crippling anxiety. The constant threat that everything will go horribly wrong. Crying and panic attacks for no reason. Listening to my mind tell itself that I'm not good enough, that I'm just like my mother, that my kids will grow up to hate me. It's nightmares. Waking up with a sore jaw from clenching my teeth so much. It's sobbing over my sleeping daughter and then sobbing harder after realizing that my tears are waking her.

It's a dull throb in my head and my complete and utter inability to handle noise and stimulation (super easy to do with 2 other kids at home...sigh). It's chest pain. It's a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute, I'm staring in awe at these tiny humans that I created. The next minute, I'm hypothesizing all the things that could go wrong while silently ugly crying. It's anger. It's feeling overwhelmed. It's more than just feeling sad. It's the constant soul crushing realization that I will never have a "normal" postpartum experience where I just soak up my babies, feel some feels, and carry on with my life.

If you're feeling any of these things, whether post partum or not, you're not alone. Even though people don't want to talk about it or be vulnerable, I've come to realize that this is so common, moreso than I ever thought. So while everyone is busy posting their picture perfect filtered highlight reel on social media, I'll be over here in my hot mess, keeping it real, sharing my vulnerabilities, and giving a big fat middle finger to depression and anxiety. Cuz fuck those two joy stealers.


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