During pregnancy, everything shouted “Postpartum Depression.” If I picked up a flier or attended a group for new mothers, Postpartum Depression was discussed. It was important to my partner and I that we work together to minimize the risk of facing this scary condition.
While pregnant, my partner and I attended new parent group meetings and he was also present at the doctor visits. It was through attending these we learned depression can start as early as pregnancy. We had conversations about our expectations for each other in the beginning. I believe these critical conversations and remaining a team throughout each aspect of pregnancy minimized the risk of facing Postpartum Depression. All our insecurities and struggles were discussed openly with my partner, and at the end of each conversation, we determined what was needed to overcome them and know we’re enough and we’re doing a great job.
My pregnancy was easy and laid back. So laid back, in fact, that our baby daughter didn’t want to come out! My delivery didn’t happen as planned. My blood pressure was high, so my doctor said I had to be induced. I was nervous and unprepared. I was ready for labor but not induction because it obliterating my birth plan. My delivery turned out the complete opposite of what I envisioned and things went wrong. I ended up having a last-minute cesarean delivery. Again, not what I was prepared for at all, however, I am very thankful that both the baby and I are healthy.
My partner helped me overcome anxiety, insecurities, and depression because he understood I was a stranger to this new life. I understood he is, too. I have a different body than I had before to give life to another human. I have a different mindset so I can protect my family, and I am forever growing as my child grows. During pregnancy, I was thrilled to watch my belly grow and count the stretch marks. When I couldn’t do something as simple as tie my own shoe or reach for the laundry detergent, my partner never called me lazy or annoying. Refraining from negative remarks and tones helped me realize he and I are in this together. The fact that my partner was willing to do these things for me meant he understood the limits and the hard work it required to grow a human. Understanding that is worth millions! Not facing anxiety and insecurities meant having confidence in myself, having a partner, a team environment, and compassion.
After two days home from the hospital, everything was different. We had a new family member, I was recovering from postpartum surgery, and my baby was hungry! I became very guarded and authoritarian. With tears and all, my partner brought this to my attention and we basically had a crying session because this was new! We discussed why things were off balance and how we could be mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy for ourselves and our family.
After recovery, we talked about how we could give to each other and make sure both of us are on the same page. We came up with a flexible schedule so we could each have time to regroup. The one thing that has consistently helped is always speaking how we’re feeling, even if it’s uncomfortable. This has helped tremendously because we’re not walking on eggshells and creating false realities. We are heard and we’re considerate of each other. As parents, we both have a collective effort in raising our baby. We make sure we’re learning together as parents. This has allowed us to have our own family expectations. Overall, we never compare, we take ownership, and we have make a point to say “we’re enough.”
April has been in a relationship with her high school sweetheart for eleven years and married for five. They are first-time parents and love it! They also have a Goldendoodle who likes to participate in baby activities as well.