My daughter was born late October. It was the happiest of times, but it was also the saddest of times. Although this is not easy to admit at the end of 2017, around November I was diagnosed with post partum depression.
I did not feel myself, I felt alone in my own body. It felt like I was stationed in some foreign vessel, trapped with consistent thoughts of negativity. I felt like I was in this never ending battle to keep afloat. Post partum depression is real, and it affects the many not the few. I wasn’t prepared for it. I was not prepared for how the anti-depressants I was prescribed would make me feel. How they would never become comfortably accustomed to my system. I hated the pills, they made me feel worse. I only found it aided my post partum anxiety. I tried three different kinds. It took to long to adjust, the side effects were horrible and I did not like being dependent on pills. I decided I knew these feelings would pass and in the mean time I would change what made me not feel myself anymore. 2018 was my year and that was that, there was no changing my mind. I had this precious new baby who would fill the following year with excitement, I needed to be not only better, but the best version of myself. So I forced myself, with every ounce of strength I had to make changes in hope it would make my situation better. With an attitude and perspective adjustment, God, good family and friends that served as shoulder to lean on and time the post partum depression finally halted.
I have made resolutions in the past, who hasn’t? But this time, I was dead set on what I had planned. This was my version of becoming better, what would make me feel in control of the wheel again. Although it probably took a good 7-8 months to feel completely myself again, this road to self love and accomplishment was good for me in more ways than one. The reconstruction of who I wanted to be took dedication and perseverance that allowed me to only focus on the positives. It made me work harder and stay determined on what I wanted from the new year. I kept it simple. I did not overload my goals, I kept them at an attainable reach.
My overall theme for my 2018 resolution was to be positive. From there it was broken down into two subcategories; the body and the mind.
I had a very hard time adjusting to my c-section and the fact that I just carried a baby for what feels like 12 years. I greatly hated my new body. The bright red line that laid on my pelvic made me cringe ( I would like any who has had a c – section to know that my scar is basically nothing now, you can barely tell, there is hope). The squishy belly, the milky boobs and the extra weight I gained hung on me like this depressive coat. I contemplated deleting social media more times than one. I am not sure why, but I constantly compared myself to people my age, who get this, DID NOT JUST GIVE BIRTH. Was I out of my mind, probably? But a year ago, I looked like that too and now, I feared I would never even get close. News flash to Jess, you just had a baby! You’re not going to fit back into your pre-pregancy pants within the first month. My clothes were uncomfortable, I felt hideous. I started not to enjoy life because of it. I didn’t want to go anywhere if it meant dressing up in the slightest. I would pray not to bump into anyone I knew, anywhere. I became a hermit who lived in sweat pants. It was taking a tole on my mental health, this self sabotaging, self loathing attitude. I knew I needed to knock the shit out. That acting, feeling and thinking these types of things were self destructive. I made 4, simple resolutions for body positivity that helped me stay on tract
- I will work out. Even if it was only for ten minutes. Even if it was just a stroll with the baby outside. I needed to start moving I would of liked to do more, but I did what I could and I did my best. I started with “Mommy Body” YouTube work outs. They kicked my ASS. I started to go on little walks with baby, this was very hard mentally believe it or not for me. My post partum anxiety made me feel like someone was going to steal my baby at any second. We lived in a nice apartment complex. I started by just walking to the mail box and back and then I would build enough courage to walk to the next building and so on until I built up the courage to do a daily walk around the entire complex, until the snow came. I eventually went to the gym a couple times and played on a summer soccer league team. I am proud that I was able to start to accomplish this goal.
- I will appreciate my body and all it has accomplished. I will allow it the time it deserves to heal. I forced myself to stop comparing, stop ripping myself apart. Every time a negative thought crept into my head I would drown out the thoughts be repeatedly thinking it took nine whole months to create an entire baby, It will take that amount of time or longer to recover. I had internal stitching that was dog eared which resulted in me ripping 6 week post opt scar tissue and starting my recovery period all over again. Allowing my self the time to heal properly and not push myself was something I needed, that all woman need who have just given birth or gone through any major operation. I successfully accomplished this resolution.
- Daily appropriate fats and less fatty foods. This initially started as carb cycling but after more research I scratched that and moved it into what I like to call a healthy diet. I did OK at first, slowly the weight began to shed but I saw the biggest difference in the summer when my mom and I followed a diet her nutritionist gave us. I lost the rest of my baby fat, around 15 pounds in a month. The diet they gave long story short, was no processed foods including dairy and to eat good for you fats. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I stop at McDonalds here and there but my eating habits at the end of 2017 compared to 2018 definitely improved.
- No body shaming. This meant of myself. my resolution was to lift myself not put myself down. To not constantly degrade myself, call myself names or to hate to hate my own body. No constantly hiding under big t shirts, I was to celebrate the body I did have, that I was working so hard to make better. At first this was as simple as getting up and getting dressed. Not to cry when i got in the shower and I saw myself in the mirror. I bought clothes that made me feel confident, I started to wear make up again. Every time I would slip up and say something bad about myself I had to say 3 things I loved about myself. My boyfriend really helped keep me on top of this one. He was the perfect mix of tough love, telling me when to knock off the whining and complaining to my shoulder to lean on, telling me its OK you just had a baby you’re still beautiful.
I had 5 sections to this resolution that kept me on tract. I wanted to have a more positive and grateful mind frame in general. I wanted to grow closer to God and focus on what really mattered. To enjoy the good times while they happened and not look back and wish I had of.
- Nightly prayers of appreciation. Although this resolution is not per say exactly accomplished, I did accomplish a parallel idea of it. Tyler and I quite frequently do nightly prayers. We kept doing nightly prayers most nights. But more importantly, we found a home church. I grew up Catholic and I always understood the word of God but never really connected. We stumbled into our church around February and by summer I felt such a calling and connection to Jesus. I was re-baptized with purpose. I have never been more spiritually confident and connected as now.
- Less phone time. I would love to say I accomplished but no where near that. I started a blog so I have been on my phone more. Although most of my screen time is working on a hobby I love instead of scrolling through social media.
- Read the “You are a Bad Ass” book. Bought the book, read it, loved it. Highly recommend!!!
- No yelling. I am a yell when angry type of person. I feel as if I may have done this less, stepped back a few more times and took a breathe where I may have not. But this one still needs some work.
- I am smart. I am capable. Positivity about who I am and what I can accomplish. I did a number of things in 2018 that were due to my confidence raised. I started a blog, something I have always wanted to do but was too afraid I wouldn’t understand or it be viewed as weird. I knew absolutely nothing when I started and with a whole lot of YouTube videos and trial and error it made its grand debut. I got a job as physical therapist aide, not knowing anything in the field. But, I knew I could figure it out. I took on all new challenges with this head set in 2018, that I could do it and figure it out.
I vowed to make 2018 the best year I could. I vowed to myself to rid negativity and self doubt. I promised to start focusing on what mattered most. To believe in myself, love myself and make healthy and happy choices for myself. am so beyond proud of the woman I became in 2018. That woman is strong, she is smart and she is beautiful. She is a great mother, a great friend and companion. She is capable. I am eager to watch how I will flourish in 2019.
Happy New Year all!