Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Honest Truth

Cooking became a passion of mine shortly after I got married in 2008. I started this blog in late 2008 and found this little corner of the internet to be my safety spot. No matter how stressed, sad, happy, or busy I got, coming here and writing, editing pictures, and sharing my cooking was a stress reliever and a source of great pride.

But something changed.

I had my second child, my beautiful daughter, and suddenly... things changed.

For the first few weeks after Emerson's birth I had a strong case of the "baby blues." I had them with Landon too and after two weeks they passed. With Landon, when the "blues" passed I felt 100% like myself. I felt joy, stress, excitement, fear... all the emotions that go along with having a newborn. I remember by 6 weeks I was out and about, taking him to "mommy and me" classes, and resuming life as "normal." Better than normal... I was on cloud nine.

Six weeks after Emmie was born I still felt a little... off. Emmie was demanding in ways Landon wasn't, but all those emotions I felt with Landon- joy, stress, excitement, fear... they were different. I felt them, but I felt numb. It was like I was watching my life from the outside. 

Having never dealt with any form of depression before in my life I didn't see the signs. I didn't see that my lack of desire to see my friends, my lack of interest in my hobbies (cooking, blogging, makeup, etc.) was non-existent. I assumed it was all because of adjusting to having two kids.

I chose to "fake it until you make it." I tried to ignore the voice in the back of my head saying something was wrong. I even came here... twice... and tried to start again.  I figured if I just DID it, I just blogged, I just forced myself to do things I liked, I'd find the joy.

But I didn't.

I felt nothing.

I wasn't sad.

I wasn't crying.

I was numb.
(To the outside world I look like a mom 
with a very new baby-about 2 weeks old- and a son, having fun at the park. 
I assure you this was one of the worst days of my life, mentally, 
and what was going on inside me is not even remotely showing on the outside).

But, that's not what postpartum depression is, right? It's being sad! It's wanting to hurt your baby! It's crying all day! I was just tired... right? 

So I went on... and on... and on. For six months I told nobody that I was deeply struggling. Until one day when I couldn't keep it to myself anymore. I hit a low point that scared me more than I can begin to explain. The numbness started to subside, but what was appearing was a feeling of nothingness. Of wanting to not be here. I didn't want to die, I wasn't suicidal, but I wanted to disappear. For a person who is generally very happy and finds the joy in all situations, this was shocking. What was happening?

I sat there on the couch, looking at a picture of Landon when he was 8 weeks old, and remembering the day I took the picture. I realized I had never been that happy, not one day, while I was caring for my daughter. And it wasn't her. Oh she is so perfect... she is such a joy and brings such light to my life... but I was so incapable of feeling joy.

Finally, I sought help. I went to my doctors and took the steps I needed to take. Now, 6 weeks later, I can say I am 100% back to being me. I've found my joy again. I've regained my hobbies, my interests, my passions in life. 

And you know what? I'm not ashamed of my struggle. I'm not ashamed of how I felt because it doesn't mean I didn't love my daughter. It doesn't mean I wasn't a good mom. To the outside world you'd never know I was sick... but inside... where it matters... I was so sick. 

I didn't need to write this post. Nobody comes here for life advice. But I couldn't really ignore this giant elephant in the room of my life. The truth is I mostly write this blog for myself. I'm never going to be a big time blogger, I have no interest in it, but this blog is also like a life diary for me. I look back on posts and remember why I made certain dishes, where I brought certain desserts, etc. I see posts and know that was the day I found out I was pregnant, or the day I bought a new car. Those stories aren't told here but to ME they are the story behind the posts.

 And whether I wrote this post or not I'd always know why there was a six month lapse on the blog. Whether I shared this or kept it to myself the lack of posts would always signify one of the hardest struggled I've faced.  So why not share this? Why not be honest? Maybe somebody reading this is struggling too, or has, or will... and all I want to say is it can get better. You can feel normal again. But you have to seek the help needed. There's no shame in medication, counseling, and admitting you need help. My only regret is not doing it sooner.


  1. I am SO PROUD of you for being real, for being YOU. And I'm so happy that you FEEL like you again. You are a role model and I'm honored to call you my friend!

    Now... let's go eat and shop for makeup. :P

  2. Stephanie....I went through the same thing with my second. It's actually the reason we are pretty set on no more babies. I was numb, detached, couldn't bond, and I also had the sad times. I had a hard time believing it was PPD because that's what moms who hurt their babies have. That wasn't me. I didn't want to hurt anyone; I just didn't feel. And I would cry because I knew I SHOULD. To add to it, my little one decided there was no one else in the world for her but Mommy. When I just wanted to hand her over, she was saying "No way. You're my person." I finally got counseling and a great support network. She just turned 2 and we are doing so much better. I'm still #1 (my hubs jokes that I'm number 1 & 2 and he's a distant third) but I look back now and can't believe how far we've come. I sometimes struggle with how much I'll tell her when she's grown but I try to always look out for other mommies that might struggle silently now. I'm proud of you for realizing you needed help. I'm glad to see you back too. Congratulations on your princess.

  3. Thank you for sharing, the more people that public share their experiences with PPD, the more people it helps!

  4. I've been following your blog for a long time. Thank you for sharing, I can only imagine how hard that must have been. I'm glad you got help and are feeling better. Your family is so cute!

  5. I just wanted to say thanks for publishing this. It was the push I needed to get help and found out I was suffering from PPD and PPA. I'm glad you got the help you needed and I hope you're back to enjoying your family the way I'm starting to! Thanks again!

  6. No you did not have to write that post but hooray for you.Unfortunately, our society often finds shame in anything remotely involved with mental health. I experienced depression but not after child birth. I can add a phrase to your description, I wanted to hide under the covers. I am really enjoying your recipes. Baking garlic cheese quick bread now ! Stay well...