It was helpful to plan my depression.
Long ago, this past summer, 6 months pregnant with my third, I had considered the disruption it would bring to our family. We were in a great rhythm with Gavin, 3 and Cali, 18 months but as I’ve heard from veteran mama’s countless times, again and again,
adding that third is the game changer.
I heard the phrase “planned depression’ a couple years back and somehow it resurfaced, took root and sprouted into my full mantra encapsulating for me all the imagined and unimagined difficulty I was about to step into.
– Being house bound with 3 kids.
– Rigorous naps + loud kids
– Teething + sleep loss.
– Baby wearing + tired shoulders.
– All the baby gear + clutter.
I envisioned being exhausted, house cleaning, piles of laundry, dirty counters, making meals over the witching hour (4-5pm when every person’s emotions in the house are shot), living through stressful moments of all my kids needing me at the exact same time, me being an angry mama bull, learning to let stuff go and ultimately being okay with my own tears and frustration and neediness.
This helped me plan for the worst.
I know I suffer from postpartum depression for roughly the first 6 weeks. Not a severe case but the dark cloud is definitely there. Not getting out and being free to go whenever makes it worse. Maybe you feel it too. Most times more prevalent on sunless days and running low on sleep.
My husband has a friend who talked about ‘planning her depression’. In her case she plans it periodically for her own reasons. And on that day(s) she eats junk food, watches sad movies and lets herself wallow. All. Day. Long. I loved that this person is OK with being depressed. I love that she even invites those unwanted, uncomfortable emotions in. Our Western culture forbids depression. Looks down on it. Gives meds for it. Ignores it. Can’t handle it.
Let me fill you in on a little secret about me, I’m overly optimistic. Taking on my ‘planned depression’ opened the door to receiving the way I am after childbirth. Simply by talking out loud about how I get after having a baby helped me own my feelings. Being optimistic, a free spirit and lover of life, having a baby and not being physically me at my ‘best’ is so discouraging for me. It’s hard for me to physically and emotionally not be able to bounce around spontaneously like it do.
The more I thought about it I began acknowledging how nobody can live life from birth to death and not feel depressed or sad EVER. Feeling sad is a part of life. A part of our emotional handbag passed out in the beginning. God created man and said it was good so he must have meant all of our feelings. Even our sad and depressing feelings along with the satisfied and joyous feelings. They are all a part of our experience on earth. Just because something feels uncomfortable or others don’t know what to do with our feelings doesn’t make them wrong. We can’t deny our feelings however received or not received.
Of course we don’t always have to act on our feelings or make decisions based on them. I’m not saying that. The point I am trying to make is that sometimes it’s OK. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to feel helpless and hurt. It’s OK to be depressed for a season (I’m not talking in a clinical sense). What I believe is not OK, is pushing through feigning optimism. Posing all is well when you’re dying inside.
Planning my depression helped me to own it. Life sucks sometimes. We ain’t in Eden yet folks.
Last summer I was ready and waiting for my planned depression.
I walked into September after Miles was born ready for life to be challenging, for me to feel depressed, extra emotional and dog tired.
And that changed everything.
It made ‘yes’s’ for accepting help and meals easier. It made ‘no’s’ for parties and going out still hard but slightly willing to admit.
It’s ok to be sad and depressed after you have a baby for a period of time if you know you usually do. I’ve found that by 3 months I was pretty much back to myself. It helps to know yourself to. That is the biggest benefit over all.
If you have any questions about planning your depression after having a baby I’d love to hear from you and chat about it! Leave me a comment or message me!