“It Will Get Better”- Adjusting to Life as a MOM with Postpartum Depression

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photo by Kady Lawson Photography

“It will get better.” I lost count of how many times my husband and I heard that exact phrase in the first few months of life with newborn twins. It sure felt like a million. Still, I never believed it would get better. I just thought people were telling me some lie to help me get through the long days and even longer nights when in fact, I was suffering from postpartum depression

For me, the newborn stage wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies with our “double rainbow” twins.

They were our second pregnancy, our first living children, conceived a month and a half after a devastating miscarriage. For us, the end of my pregnancy and the beginning of life as parents was “chaotic” if I had to explain it in one word. 

I was admitted to the hospital and placed on hospital bedrest at almost 31 weeks pregnant, on my 31st birthday. Happy birthday to me! Due to high blood pressure and umbilical cord doppler issues with our “twin A,” I was only able to get up to shower, pee, and, if I left the room, I had to be pushed in a wheelchair.

In the hospital, I gained 20 pounds in one month. I lost almost all of the strength in my legs, core, and back. I learned to truly appreciate the family and friends that were always there. 

Once home, our door was constantly revolving. People came by bearing food and gifts, in and out, in and out, something unheard of in these weird times that we are currently living in. While it was unbelievably comforting to know we were surrounded by so much love, I hadn’t slept or been in my own home for a month. I now came home, post-cesarean section, post-cesarean section hemorrhage, post a few days NICU stay for the girls, with two extra accessories named Evelyn and Sloane, and was just trying to figure out our new “normal” with my husband.

Wow, are we thankful for those people that kept coming. 

My mother is a godsend and lived with us for nine weeks after we brought the twins home. I’m certain she struggled with seeing her daughter going through what I did and many of the “it will get betters” came from her. Those were the most believable for me.  

My life as a mother revolved around feeding my babies, which ultimately would be the straw that broke the camel’s back and sent me over the edge into postpartum depression.

To give you an idea of my schedule in the newborn stage, I tandem breastfed the twins, then we supplemented both with a formula bottle to ensure adequate caloric intake, and then I would set up shop and pump milk for them…every three hours. I was living off of no sleep, and every mother knows how that affects you. On top of no sleep, I could tell I was slowly falling deeper and deeper into a foggy, unrecognizable state.

I cried when the sun went down because I knew that our night was just beginning.

As a NICU nurse, I have comforted plenty of mothers with postpartum depression, but, I wasn’t able to recognize it in myself. When I look back at pictures, I can see straight through my glazed-over eyes. I wasn’t myself anymore. I remember feeling so sad that everyone else was able to enjoy my newborn babies while I sat back and “took a break” to pump or sometimes even shower.

One day, I talked with my mother and told her how I was feeling, although she already knew because she’s a mother. Each time I closed the curtains to keep it dark, she opened them to remind me there was sunshine to see. Every time I cried, she was there to hold me. Every time I needed to hear it, she would tell me, “it will get better.”

After that difficult conversation, I called my Ob-Gyn, and he spoke with me for an entire hour. I remember pacing the driveway listing all of my worries, fears, and “failures” to him.

By the end of the conversation, a prescription for Zoloft had been called in, and a tiny weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Can you guess how he ended the conversation?

“Kathleen, it will get better.” 

My “getting better” required medication for me. It required reflux medication for the twins, eventually ending our breastfeeding journey and a lot of tears. However, I can assure you I am here, almost three years later, to tell you, “it will get better.”

It will be hard again, but “it will get better.” 

That is the rollercoaster of motherhood. Everyone was telling the truth.

To any new moms reading this, I assure you, “it will get better.” You are doing an incredible job. If you are suffering from postpartum depression or need help, reach out to those around you.

20 COMMENTS

  1. What a journey Kathleen! This is so powerful, raw, and honest and exactly what mothers need to hear. It IS hard, and sometimes you don’t know yourself anymore through it all. So thankful you had an amazing support system! You are a rockstar mom!

    • Thank you, mama! I was so nervous to share but am so thankful I did! I hope at least one new or seasoned mommy reading this knows they are not alone!

  2. You got through it girl! So proud of you for finding the strength in seeking advice and help from your OB. You are an incredible mom. And all your girls are so lucky to have a mom like you!

    • Love you so much and am so thankful for our incredible family and support system! Don’t know how I would have survived without all of you and your help. Motherhood is so hard sometimes and we need each other to get through it!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Kathleen. It is an incredibly powerful story. You are an amazing woman. So very proud of you!!

  4. You are a rockstar. You did it girl and it did get better. The girls are blessed to have you as their Momma. Hang on cause the ride gets better. 😂. Wait till they are teens…..

    • YOU are a rockstar! Think of all of the mamas you help during the scariest times of their lives. I am so thankful to have had you and your support in the office throughout all of our pregnancies! Should we start praying for Mark now?! The teenage years will be brutal…

  5. Kathleen, you know you are one of my heroes. You helped me fight my PPD after I had twins just by sharing your similar experience with your twins and being so compassionate, caring, and available any time. Reading your story again brought tears to my eyes because I too felt like it would never get better, and look where we both are today ♥️

    • You are such an incredible mama! I remember those messages and thinking of you often because I knew exactly what you were dealing with. I’m so thankful we were able to talk about things back then because I just wanted you to know you were not alone and that you would get through it. But, at that moment, it is so hard to imagine anything ever getting better…and then it does! 🙂

  6. thank you for sharing your story…I also had postpartum depression with our first son. It can feel like such a lonely time even when we have a whole loving support team. It does get better in time and I hope that any stigma associated with postpartum depression is growing less and less in our society and moms reach out if they need help

    • Julie! Miss you so much. I agree with you wholeheartedly. It was so lonely, even when surrounded by so many people. I hope this post helps at least one momma know they are not alone! Thank you for sharing your story too because it may just help someone else that’s reading this! 🙂

  7. You were a nurse with us when we had to stay with our daughter in the NICU ❤️
    Thank you for sharing your story and so happy to see you have been blessed with three beautiful girls!

    • Melissa! Yes, talk about a great NICU mama! You were so strong during that stay. Thank you so much for reading! These three little girls sure do keep us busy! 🙂

    • So true!! I remind myself of that all the time– even now!! There is just something so difficult about learning how to care for a newborn and learning how to accept your new role as a mother with someone dependent solely on you!! Your mom sounds like a great mom!!

  8. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. So many new parents need to hear stories like yours to really know that they’re not alone and as you said, “it will get better”. One of the things that helped me through my own struggle with PPA/PPD was connecting and sharing with other moms in the same boat. It’s a tough road but one that we shouldn’t go alone ♥️

    • Yes, Haley!! Connecting with other moms really helps because you realize you are NOT alone in your experiences. The more I read about PPA, the more I feel I had that also– and still do. As moms, we should never travel any road alone– we have so many mom friends to cheer us on the whole way! 🙂

    • Yes, mama! It was definitely a sign! So glad we ran into each other. Always remember you are doing amazing and I’m always here to chat! You’re a rockstar! 🙂

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