Lately, I’ve had this question thrown my way by more than just a few of you.
It’s a tough question to answer.
There is no defined recovery time we can hand out. It’s not like going to a deli, pulling a number, having your number called and then walking out the door into the wild blue yonder with your neatly wrapped item. Ok, so maybe it’s kind of like that. If it’s a busy deli and the wait is long. And then they’re out of the meat you need. And then you have to start the process all over again somewhere else or settle for something like ham when you really wanted corned beef pastrami.
Bottom line though – recovery is not something your local deli guy will wrap up neatly in butcher paper and tie off with a pretty bow.
Recovery is messy. It can take a long time. It can go quickly. It can involve lots of starts, stops, and side trips.
And in the end, you may be recovered but there will always be the organic memory of the experience of your Postpartum Mood Disorder to jump out at you and mess with you.
So how the heck do I know if I can consider myself recovered from my PMD?
Here are my three humble signs of recovery (always check with your caregiver/therapist and don’t every stop treatment cold turkey!)
1) You have more good days than bad days.
2) You are able to laugh at things.
3) Your world has returned to vibrant colors instead of the dimmed down twilight you’ve been living in for the last several nights.
I remember the day I saw that brighter world. I was on my way home from my therapy appointment. It had rained that morning so everything had been rinsed clean. The sun shone down and the trees burst forth with new growth as they strained for freedom at the birth of spring. As I breathed in the clean scent of rain and honeysuckle, my heart soared. The trees were greener, the sky was bluer, everything sparkled. And not just because of the rain.
Just a few weeks later I discovered I was indeed pregnant with our third child. Scared to death, I worried all my progress would be all for naught. But it was not. I continued to move forward. Not because I had to but because it was what I wanted. Once I got past the shock of our unexpected pregnancy, I focused all my energy on preparing for postpartum support instead of getting ready for baby. It was time well-spent. I educated those around me, created a postpartum plan, and thankfully I thrived. Not all mothers are this fortunate though.
Every mother has a different story, different doctors, and different reasons for struggling.
What helped you recover and if you’re fully recovered, how long did it take you to recover? What advice would you give to a still struggling mother?
One of my favorite songs when I was struggling was “Breathe” by Anna Nalick.My favorite lines?
There’s a light at each end of this tunnel, you shout
But you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out.
To me, it means keep on going forward. Because it’s FORWARD motion that’s so very healing.
Let’s get to just talkin’!