***September is my birthday month. In honor of that each day up until my birthday I will be sharing a picture of when I was younger. Along with that photo, I will attach something I would write to my younger self. If you are just joining in Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10
You never wanted to be a mother. That sounds odd now seeing that you have not one but three children. However odd it sounds it is true. You weren’t interested in getting married or starting a family. You wanted to be a career woman. Working in NYC or some big city with a high profile job.
Well, sometimes the universe has other plans for us. Eventually you’ll meet a boy at college. You think you like each other. You think maybe you should get married. You get engaged. You set a date. You change the date. One of your roommates comes home with a flier about a trip to Europe through the university. “If it is meant to be, then it will still be meant to be after I get back from Europe.” That is what you told yourself. He understood.
Your group of roommates went to Europe. It was everything and more you could have hoped for. We won’t get into the details. That is an entirely different blog post. After the trip, you get married a few weeks later. Time passes by, and you think about having a child. You had goals of obtaining a master’s degree. That urge to have a baby was loud. It felt weird because that wasn’t in your plans. You decided if you were not going to get a master’s degree then at least you would receive your bachelor's degree.
You were stubborn with the maternal feeling. You thought, pondered, and prayed about it. The answer hit you over the head that was so obvious you felt sheepish for doubting. You walked across the stage and accepted your bachelor's’ degree five months pregnant.
That April you gave birth to a baby girl. “What am I supposed to do with her?” You asked. Shortly after she was born your little family moved across the country for your husband's job. she was two weeks old.
While you were pregnant you read up on everything about pregnancy and baby. You skipped over a certain chapter that you should have read. You said that would never happen to you. The chapter was on Postpartum Depression.
That isn’t a real thing. Well Donna, it is, and we had it. We didn’t know what it was at the time. Our loved ones around us just thought we were crazy. You didn’t know what to do with this new baby. You felt as though you were babysitting and you were waiting for her parents to come home. Why wouldn’t she stop crying? Why wouldn't you stop crying? Why didn’t you feel a maternal bond towards her? Would you ever? Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. Months turn into a year. We suffered with Postpartum for almost a year, and had no idea what it was. We didn’t know how to ask for help. The other young mothers around us seemed to enjoy being a mother so much. You didn’t. You felt embarrassed that you weren’t the breastfeeding poster child for the La Leche club. You basically fed the baby, changed the diaper, and put her to sleep. That is it.
Younger Donna (Since you aren’t so little anymore) I want you to know that having Postpartum Depression is normal. It happens. Don’t feel ashamed. It is OK to ask for help. It is OK to feel like you don’t know what you are doing. It is OK to stand in the shower and weep. It is OK to let your feelings out. Not everyone experiences motherhood in the same way. It is OK if you don’t breastfeed. It is OK if you use a bottle. It is OK if you use cloth diapers. It is OK if you use disposable diapers. We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we have. That little baby needs you. She was sent to you for a reason. It will get better I promise. The second and third time around you will know what to look for and how to handle it. Just breathe everything is going to be OK.