Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's a Daily Struggle

Life is pretty hard right now. When Justin was in Singapore last, I realized that I was suffering from postpartum depression and needed to get some help, which is what I've done and am continuing to do. I don't think anyone was surprised by this news, especially my mother and sister who both had been thinking I had PPD but didn't know how to tell me. It's hard to tell someone you think they are suffering from depression. I really had been watching myself for the signs because, as my counselor says, I'm a pretty self-aware person, but I really thought I was just sleep-deprived. "If I could just get some sleep, everything would be better," I kept telling myself. (I am sleep-deprived, but it's much more than that!)

But when I really began to look at my life over the past few months, I began to realize that I had emotionally checked out a lot of the time and become pretty irritable the rest of the time. I was (and still am) having a hard time concentrating on things and getting my brain to focus. Taking the boys anywhere seemed like a monumental task. And Caleb started getting very irritable and angry with me...mirroring his mother's behavior back to her!

So, in the interest of honesty and in order to preserve these memories, good, bad, or indifferent, I'm sharing this with all of you. That's why I haven't been around much lately. I've had to take a step back. Most of the time I don't have the energy or care to be at the computer. And I've had to stop reading a lot of the blogs I used to read because I have a severe case of "I don't measure up to other people's expectations" syndrome. I've had to take a hard look at myself and what I expect. My expectations for myself have been completely out-of-whack.

I kept beating myself up for not doing what I expected I should be able to do. "Look at so-and-so...she's homeschooling 10 kids and I can't even get all three of us dressed on most days. What's wrong with me?" These are the kinds of thoughts that have been rampant in my head in the past months. Not very helpful!

I'm working with my doctor, and I hope the roller coaster of emotions will slow down soon. It's already gone from a huge, dipping roller coaster to a more smooth one. There are still good days and bad days and bad weeks, but I haven't cried all day in three weeks, so that's definitely an improvement!

For now, I'm continuing to see a counselor to work on my expectations and coping skills for the things that are putting the most stress on me right now.

It's getting better. But every single day is a struggle to do the things I don't feel like doing. Some days I succeed. And some days I don't. But that's okay.

I'm getting help. And I desperately need it.


Dave & Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing where you're at, Jenn. I continue to pray for you, and I know that the Lord will work out more good from this trial than you can possibly imagine now while you're suffering through it.

I love you so much,

Kendra said...

I have never commented before, but I wanted to let you know that I have been where you are at! My youngest was born exactly two years after my oldest (she is now 18 months), as well, and the first several months were incredibly hard! I had some health complications following delivery and took it upon myself to basically stay in bed for the next 6 months! I cried because I was tired of mothering and didn't feel like getting out of bed to face each day, and then I cried because I was in bed and was not enjoying my brand new baby and I was completely missing her infancy. It was a vicious and exhausting cycle! I never saught help, but I should have. Eventually we moved and it was like that woke me up, gave me something to refocus my attention on, and I slowly started getting a hold on things again. I promise these days will pass! The bad news for me is that my 18 month old is still not sleeping through the night (she likes to snuggle and play at 4 am!) but we are managing even that. Somehow :). Just wanted to encourage you that I have been in the depths of PPD and come out on the other side.

P.S I was an Aggie, too! Class of '04, and also a member of Aggies For Christ. I remember you and Justin, actually. You guys were the mature, engaged college students all of us freshman wanted to be like! :)

victoria said...

jennifer--thank you for your honesty. parenting is hard with one and double the work with two. I am glad you are getting help and hope that your "ride" continues to get smooother. you are a great mother and hope for you more easier days ahead.

Laurel Wreath said...

Thank you so much for your transparency. I had PPD with my second child, my first two were 18 months apart...getting preg when my first was only 9 months I think was too much for my body. Unfortunately I did not get help, and it was not until they were a couple years old that I had a breakdown. I now take low dosage of medication that really helps me A LOT.

But you are not alone, I understand how the simpliet of tasks take the most effort.

I am so glad you are getting help on the outside.

Praying for you.

Hol&J said...

Jennifer, I appreciate your honesty. You've been in my prayers and will continue to be.

I am so glad you have help and aren't struggling alone with this. Of course you're never alone with God, but you know what I mean.

Remember, we love and care about you.

Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

I am so proud of you! One, for realizing that you needed help. Two, for getting the help you need. And three, that you were able to share this struggle with others! Please know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you. I'm still waiting for the depression to go away; I have great days (weeks even) and then I'll have a few bad days. I'm ready to be done with this and quite frankly, I'm not sure if a third child is in our future.

Hang in there! It will get better!

erinlo said...

Oh sister! I am so sorry to hear about this. I have been wondering how you were doing and hate hearing that you are strugging with this illness! I, too, struggled with PPD- I think there are MANY of us- just not many who admit it and actually get help. You are doing the right thing!!! It will get better. And you will have many praying for you. Please keep us updated as you can. Love you and hang in there!!! -Erin

Shalee said...


I'm so glad to hear that you're getting help. PPD is so hard because you still have the sense that you can do things!

Keep taking the help and keep giving it to God. He will completely see you through.

Love you, little momma!

Sherry said...

I'm praying for you also.

GiBee said...

I take a low dosage of medication too... because if I don't, I might kill someone... and that wouldn't be very nice. But seriously, I'm proud of you for being in touch with yourself, seeing the signs, and acting on it. Not many people would do that.

And for pete's sake... you aint got nothing to measure up to over at my blog... after all... I have three baskets of clean laundry thats been folded but not put away (for 1 month now) sitting at the foot of my bed as we speak. And because I've become so scattered, disorganized, and plain 'ol messy since Hunter was born (YES that was 27 months ago, but we wont get into THAT), I'm taking orgjunkies challenge up to organize something... ANYTHING ... in my kitchen. Lord knows my whole house needs it... GAAH!

So, honey ... please don't feel like you need to measure up to me... after all... my little "superman" has a stitch on his head this very second to prove the fact that he can get hurt if I take my eyes off of him for one single second. I'm an awful momma!

Hugs, Jenn! You can call me any time to chat if you need or want to!

Beck Boys said...

We have been missing you and I am sorry to hear about your struggles. I hope that things will improve for you soon. We will pray for you and your family.

Rabbit said...

Jen, I've walked that road too. Down into the dark valley where you are. I promise you, the road WILL rise. It will. Compare yourself only to the Jen that the Lord created, and seek your shelter with Him. I'll be praying for you regularly.

Kerri Schaefer said...


Know I love you and am praying!


Laura said...

I continue to keep you in my prayers and thoughts. Trust me, if I called you every time I thought of you, you'd probably go get a restraining order. :)

I'm very proud of you for sharing this and know that it will help someone else that may be thinking "if I could just get some sleep".

Stepping back from having so many windows into other women's lives is probably a good thing too. Sometimes too much of it is a bad thing, you know? It gets hard to remember what God called ME to if I get too caught up in what He's called everyone else to do.

Call me anytime, 'cuz you know, I've probably already thought of calling you once that day anyway. :)

Debi said...

I am glad you are aware of what's going on and getting help...I struggled with depression when my girls were young and didn't even know that's what it was!
I will be praying for you....

GiBee said...

How are you doing????? Just a little concerned...

Dave & Lisa said...

Still thinking about you and praying for you, Jenn. I hope things are getting easier.

Gregg & Erin said...

Hi Jennifer! I hope things are going well and getting better for you. We're praying for you and the fam!

stephanie said...

Jenn ... I'm catching up here and want you to know that I will be praying! I've been struggling with some of this same stuff after baby #3 and can heartily related to you post here. (((hugs)))

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