Bethany's Story

When my baby was born I didn’t feel connected to her at all. I didn’t feel like I’d gotten to know her while she was in my belly like everyone says and that made me feel really sad and guilty. And I didn’t have that overwhelming feeling of “I never knew what love was until I had a baby.” I wondered what was wrong with me and why other people seemed to be more in love with her than I was. It made me feel terrible. I remember a few weeks after she was born I went skiing and she stayed home with my mother in law. One of my friends casually said “wow I’m surprised you were able to let someone else watch her so soon.” And I felt like the worst mom in the world because I was relieved to have a break.

I didn’t feel like myself. At night when she would cry, instead of being happy to sacrifice my sleep for such a little cutie, I turned into a monster. I remember feeling SO mad at her for not sleeping. I was starting to have really scary thoughts about me and her and that made me feel so sad and scared and crazy. But I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone because who thinks scary things about a cute baby? One night when she cried I just laid in bed, filled with rage. It was terrifying. It took everything I had to not take the lamp next to me and throw it at the wall. Or bang my head on the wall. I have only been that angry one other time in my life and I felt like I couldn’t control myself. I wanted my normal sweet happy self back but I didn’t even know how to find her.

That was when my husband asked if I was ok, and I told him my scary thoughts. He said that maybe I should go see a doctor about postpartum depression and I had had that thought too but didn’t want to admit it. 

 

I went to the doctor and told her everything. And you know what she said to me? “I hear that a lot.” What the crap?? If she hears that a lot why had I never heard it. Why didn’t anyone warn me? People always said I would be tired but that’s about it. (And it honestly could be that no one I knew had experienced this.) Through nothing other than divine intervention, I met another mom in my area. I had posted some clothes on the classifieds and she wanted to buy them. This happened two or three times so we became friends and we started talking about motherhood. When I told her how I was feeling she told me she had been feeling the same way! It was such a relief to know I wasn’t the only one. 

I began taking some medication and went to see a therapist. It helped a little to talk about it but I still wasn’t very happy. It was a very hard adjustment to have my entire world revolve around someone else. Going out and doing things felt too overwhelming because of all the diapers and clothes and milk (I couldn’t breastfeed so I had to pump to feed her so it wasn’t practical for me to be gone for very long.) Staying inside all day definitely didn’t help me.

As she’s gotten older I’ve started to feel much better. I have a connection with her now and she’s really fun! But like I said there are still hard days. It’s difficult when I’m tired and want to sleep but she’s running around being silly. But I think that’s a normal mom thing :) In my photos, the black marks on my face represent the hard days where I felt so dark and sad. The red/orange/pink tears represent the happy tears. There were a lot of both. When I first saw these two pictures, I was sad that they had the tears in them because they are so cute and I didn’t wished I just looked normal. But from a symbolic perspective, that’s exactly how postpartum depression is. It’s always there especially when you don’t want it to be and it puts a damper on the good times.

I loved how @aubreedellaphotography brought this sign that says “someone needs your story” because that is the main reason I wanted to take these pictures. It’s hard to talk about but it’s scary not to. If you are a mom who is struggling, talk to someone. Talk to me even if we don’t know each other well! And if you have friends who are pregnant or just had a baby, make sure they are really ok. It happens to people you don’t expect. And don’t believe that moms on Instagram have a perfect life because they really don’t ❤️

   
(photography in Bethany's beautiful photos by @ aubreedellaphotography)