No one… (A poem about Postpartum Depression)

Postpartum is not, know that you are not alone in this journey & never give up! Your feelings are valid.

I’ve been in a bad place mentally since like two weeks after Mj was born.

I’ve been through so much since his birth and if I’m being completely honest I’ve had some bad thoughts, some bad feelings, & I’ve felt so alone in this process. It’s like everyone around me is moving on with life and everyday things and I’m stuck in this place of pain, depression, tired, & overwhelmed. I’ve become so numb and don’t even know how I’ve made it these last two months.

I’ve had people around me, but no one seems to understand or continue to say “how strong I am” when that is the last thing I need I want to hear. Poetry, blogging, fitness, mediation, or writing of any sort is how I’ve been releasing lately. I wrote this poem the other night while I cried at 0555 in the morning just wondering how I got to this place. I know this will get better, but right now it’s not and I hope me sharing this helps someone else who’s also struggling with postpartum. Know you’re not crazy, your feelings are valid, and we will get through this! 🙏🏾

-Toni💕

Signs of Postpartum Depression

A Birth, and a Rebirth

Before our last baby was born on August 17, 2021, I had already felt like I was completely dead inside. Besides his kicks and punches, I had become this empty shell of a person. Carrying a life is a blessing, but people forget all that comes along with it. I struggled mentally & physically. I dealt with excruciating pelvic pains, nausea, vomiting, & depression worse than ever before. Depression made it hard to get out of bed, smile, or even enjoy life at all. Physical pains made it impossible to see the end because some days I couldn’t even walk due to my pelvic pains. 

When it was finally time to deliver our newest blessing I was ecstatic to get it over with! Although I knew birthing him would be the hardest part, I was just ready to heal and start my postpartum journey! My entire birthing experience started wrong. The hospital gave me the wrong time to be there, my scheduled surgery started late, & I felt rushed & full of anxiety because things were not going as I originally planned and that caused me unwanted stress. 

The doctors and nurses that attended and assisted with my surgery were amazing, but the overall experience was painful. The spinal tap was not too bad, but unfortunately, I am starting to have after-effects. The first day was challenging because I had scar tissue from my three previous cesareans that made it more complicated for the surgeon to reach our son. The whole time I laid on the operating table I kept telling myself this too shall pass, pain doesn’t last forever, & trouble doesn’t last always. I did a lot of positive self-talk during surgery and in my post-recovery room. Although I was in pain, I would look over at my newest blessing and just smile. I naturally loved him and wanted to care for him no matter how I felt, so I breastfed through the pain and enjoyed just watching him breathe!

After getting through the first day I thought the second day would be a breeze & boy was I wrong! On the second day after my surgery, I was close to death. I had not had much sleep & the pain was keeping me up so although I usually decline narcotics, I accepted Percocet for pain instead of Motrin. I dozed off immediately after taking the Percocet, and I woke up to a nightmare. I was having an allergic reaction to the Percocet. My throat was closing, my body welted up, my breathing became labored, I was itching all over my body, and no one knew or understood what was happening until I remembered the last time I experienced this was when I had Anaphylactic shock from

Mushrooms. I told the doctors and nurses who had all piled in my room. The crazy thing about the entire situation is the one thing I needed the hospital did not carry… I needed an epi-pen and they did not have them.

During the entire anaphylactic shock experience, I kept looking at my newborn baby who was only a foot away. All I could think of was losing my life before ever being his mother. Believe it or not, maternal deaths of black women are extremely high right now and I thought I was about to be a part of the statistics. I thank God that I was given another chance to live. A nurse was working that afternoon that recognized what I was experiencing and jumped in to take charge, which saved my life. 

On the third day, I felt a lot better than the second day and I was just ready to go home. I felt my home would be the safest place for me considering my experience at the hospital. I was welcomed home by my mother who has been the biggest blessing in my life during my pregnancy and now. Being home did not bring on some magical healing because I was still experiencing a lot of pain from my incision area. Being home only made me feel safer than being at the hospital.  Our other three children were so excited to meet their baby brother & I felt good knowing that I was the creator of all this greatness 💕

Resting in the comfort of my home has been the best part so far. A cesarean birth is a serious procedure, and no matter where the healing process takes place, it will be a challenge physically & mentally. If I could give myself some advice for day three of healing from a cesearan it would be to walk as much as possible for the swelling, stay hydrated, & go at your own pace. There is no specific timeframe of when you may feel better after a c-section. Everyone’s situation and all bodies are different so it’s not a definite answer to the healing time. Just take any postpartum journey slow & at your own pace. 

I can say from my personal experience that I started to feel some relief by the third week. During the third week, I was able to be more independent and hands-on with my other children as well. It’s now week four of my postpartum journey and I’ve cooked my first meal, vacuumed, drove to Starbucks, & made the bed! Those tasks seem small, but they are hard tasks when you barely have core strength! I feel like I could do more, but my doctor still has me restricted as of now. 

My entire pregnancy and postpartum has been challenging. For me, this postpartum journey will be a rebirth of someone greater than I was before. I’m not focused on weight loss, snapping back, being perfect, or unrealistic expectations. I am focused on the healing of my mind, body, and  spirit so I do not allow postpartum depression, anxiety, and stressors of life to hold me back. I want to heal and grow from this experience! It is my experience that tough situations, build tough people. 

I already feel different inside & I am not the woman I was before I gave birth to our final baby. I see things differently, I’m thinking differently, & even responding differently about certain situations. Having a major surgery, a new baby, & 3 other children has been one of the most challenging times in my life so far. Luckily I have my husband who has supported me through breastfeeding,  physical support, & emotional support. My husband has been so selfless & it feels good to know that the man I chose to marry is the epitome of “for better or worse”! A supportive partner or support person through postpartum is major! 

I have also been blessed during the postpartum process to have my mother here for moral support. If you have been following my blog from the start or for a while then you are aware that our relationship has been like that of a butterfly, we have been through many different phases but we have grown into something so beautiful. My mom has encouraged me, loved me unconditionally, and sacrificed her everyday schedule for me! I’ll forever be appreciative of her.

As the days continue to go by I think about what I could have done differently before the arrival of our son to make this postpartum journey easier and there is no clear-cut answer. I would suggest any mom before birth to prepare meals, have a set schedule for other children, ensure to have a stockpile of everything needed for the baby & yourself, & home in advance. 

One part of the journey that is bitter-sweet is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been challenging but worth it for our son! Although I’ve had sore nipples, sleepless nights, & hours of pumping since his birth I know it’s worth it for his health. The pandemic has had me on edge, but having a baby during a pandemic is even more stressful & the antibodies in my breastmilk motivates me to continue my breastfeeding journey. If you are a mom that has decided to breastfeed I would say make sure you have a supportive partner or support person in general because it can be discouraging in the beginning. 

Postpartum journey is just that ….a journey! A journey of ups and downs and highs and lows. A journey of painful days, happy days, sad days, or days you may not even remember! The journey has been worth every second because I am watching myself evolve slowly into a healed woman, with no regrets! Life is about lessons and I have received some clarifying and life-changing lessons since the start of this pandemic and especially during my pregnancy. It has almost been a year since The Pearl Blog was created and it feels good to say the woman I was when I started The Pearl Blog was nowhere near this confident, healed, matured, focused, & motivated to just be better! 

If you are pregnant, a mom or a person just going through life challenges remember “this too shall pass”! Most things in life are temporary, just get your lessons and evolve from whatever challenges you go through. Challenges are meant to make you resilient, and resiliency makes you more equipped to handle future challenges!  So keep healing & keep growing through life! 

-💕Toni 

Mental Health Check-In 🧠✔️

Mental Health Check-In

I can not do this anymore. Why do I feel so alone? I was doing great, what happened? Why am I like this? These are the thoughts that have been crowding my head lately. This is anxiety, this is depression, this is self-doubt and I have struggled with the ups and downs of being mentally great & mentally hurting. Since my diagnosis of Anxiety, PTSD, & Depression I have had good weeks, bad weeks, and even good & bad months. Certain circumstances can cause my mental health to decline… & this pregnancy has been challenging. Pregnancy is a blessing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to bring life into this world for the fourth time, but pregnancy is also mentally, physically, & emotionally draining. Since my last mental health breakdown, I have been proactive in my mental health treatment. Being proactive about my mental health is the most important thing in my life right now. I have attended therapy regularly & I have been transparent with those around me about how I am feeling.

What I am going through at this moment in my life is the reason why I advocate mental health awareness. I know that there are others whose struggles are like mines or maybe even worst and I want you to know that you are not alone in this fight. Being mentally stable can be a fight for some, and I can admit it has been one of my hardest battles in life. Compiling mental illness on top of being a full-time mother, wife, entrepreneur, sister, daughter, aunt, and much more can be overwhelming. On top of my mental struggles, I often feel like I have to save others around me who are struggling and that also interferes with me staying afloat. Right now I just need to stay afloat so that I can get through this pregnancy gracefully. Each day I wake up and take it one day at a time because I know that I have so many people depending on me. Worrying about those who are dependent on me is what makes me tell myself “Do not give up now, you have come too far from where you started from”. I often speak life into myself, because if I did not who would?

This too shall pass is my current mood, and until this storm pass I will just keep my umbrella up and my head high. I have decided to challenge myself to take the time to put myself first mentally, physically, & emotionally right now. I can not allow myself to experience a mental burnout like this again, because being this low is not healthy. The growth in it all is that I can now recognize when I am not okay, and I can accept that it is okay to not be okay! We are all human, and it is so important, to be honest with ourselves. If you are reading this right now I would like to encourage you to have a transparent moment with yourself and ask yourself “Am I okay?” & “How am I doing mentally, emotionally, & physically?”. These are important questions that need to be asked regularly. I am publishing this blog as a mental health check-in and a moment of transparency. I wanted to post this blog as I am going through it because I feel in my soul that there is someone that needed to read this.

July flew by! There are 4 more months left to make a change and do something to better yourself. Think of one mental health goal that you can work on during these last four months. I have some creative projects that I will be working on, I will also be bringing a new life into this world, & my life will be hectic. With all that I have planned before finishing up the year, my #1 priority for the next four months is to put myself first & then let everything else follow! If this blog resonates with you please like, share, or comment! Also, I would appreciate it if you would comment on your #1 mental health goal for the last 4 months of the year.

With love,

Toni

Do your Absolute Best‼️‼️‼️

💙I am doing my very BEST‼️ I’ve been saying these words a lot lately!

Although I know I am doing my best, I’m my biggest critic & I have been the hardest on myself! I’m not sure if it’s the hormones or what! I’ve found myself crying, upset, worried, & completely stressed some days because I did not complete my to-do list for the day, or I’ve burnt myself out and now I’m mad at the world 🌎

It has been super hard because I usually get it done with no excuses! After my latest meltdown I have decided to just DO THE BEST that I can! If I do not finish something oh well! I’m done setting super high expectations & finding myself mentally & emotionally drained when I do not succeed!

I remind myself that this too shall pass! I will not be pregnant & miserable forever! Until then Oh well‼️‼️‼️

keeponkeepingon #imtrying #mindsetreset #beyourbestself #maketimeforyou #selfgrowthjourney #selfawarenessjourney #trustyourpath #expectations #vulnerabilityisstrength #trustyourself #createthelifeyoulove #youtime #chooseyou #livefortoday #quietmoments #makeyoursoulhappy #controlwhatyoucan #relaxandrecharge #takethetime #smallthingsinlife #youareenough #empoweryourself #beyourbestyou

This too Shall Pass!…

Hello to all,

I guess you could say I have been MIA…I ended my new year with so many prospects, goals, and aspirations but this thing called life stopped me in my tracks. At the beginning of December my mind was set and ready for 2021. I was more excited about 2021 than any other year, because although the pandemic really affected my 2020, I accomplished a lot and I did not allow my creative blocks, or anything to stop me from creating ideas, sharing ideas, and putting an effort into all the things I love!

So what has thrown me off, and why I have I been isolated over the last month….. There is a new member coming into the family this year in 2021 and although we are happy & children are a blessing, no one speaks of the overwhelming and horrible 1st trimester of pregnancy! Social media shows moms posting weekly updates comparing the size of their babies to fruit and smiling as if pregnancy is the most amazing thing ever! (It’s NOT!)

Every Pregnancy is Different:

Although pregnancy is different for every mother and symptoms can be different with every pregnancy 1 in 4 women goes through the pains and symptoms of the 1st trimester. The last few months I have woke up nauseated every morning. There were mornings I woke up, and I wished I did not because I felt so horrible. Pregnancy is hard, but it can become more challenging when you are already parenting children. Being a mother of three other children who all wants and require my attention made the sickness harder for me to cope with. I am an active mom. I enjoy waking up early every morning to get that morning workout, preparing breakfast for my kids, making their lunches, and getting them hyped and prepared for their day; but none of this was possible due to my 1st Trimester symptoms of vomiting, nausea, & extreme fatigue.

Each day I woke up and literally begged and pleaded with God to just help me get out of the bed, help me to get my kids to school in one piece, & me back home before I vomited everywhere. On top of the nausea and vomiting, felling fatigue after a full night of sleep is the worst! I read many of articles online about pregnancy fatigue and what could be done to help, nothing I read helped me. No matter how much rest I had, my body still felt overly exhausted and if I am being completely honest the fatigue is what made me just shut down. I started to isolate myself, and I became angry with myself because I felt like a bad mom, I felt like I should not be so lazy, and I blamed myself for being weak because I scrolled through social media and would see other moms glowing & working out in their first trimester. Other mom enjoying their pregnancy and posting cute pictures, while I lay in bed depressed, stressed, & regretting the blessing that God has blessed me with.

Stop Comparing we were made to be Different!

If I could share one thing about the 1st trimester to help another mom, it would be “DO NOT COMPARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH OTHER EXPECTING MOMS” comparing what I was going through with mothers on social media is what led me into such deep isolation and depression. Pregnancy depression is a real thing, and while I already have struggles with depression, anxiety, and PTSD this was like piling crap on top of crap. I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself and I even thought of terminating my pregnancy or wishing I would miscarry to end this miserable phase. I know that last statement seems extreme, but until you have experienced (hyperemesis gravidarum) constant nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and depression, while creating a whole human do not judge!

I wrote this to share my experience, and to say that yes pregnancy is a blessing, is a beautiful experience. But I must be completely honest because I hope women can learn something from my experience. I hope someone else can prepare & educate themselves about the 1st Trimester struggles after reading this post. I have been blessed to have an amazing husband, supportive family, and great kids that has helped me get through each day. Having the support of the people I love has really been a fresh breath of air. My husband deserves a trophy because he is the most loving, compassionate, understanding, and supportive man I have ever met in my entire life. My husband goes over and beyond to ensure myself and our children are okay & that helps me to keep pushing forward.

It’s still a blessing!

Do I still wake up some mornings sad, depressed, sick, stressed, or feeling overwhelm? Yes, I wake up like this some days, but I have been praying, and I repeat the same mantra each morning “This too will past” I remind myself this is just another phase of my life, and I know that after these 9 months are complete, we will receive another great blessing from God! Creating life is astounding, but it is not easy, and it is not all peaches & cream. Women are so phenomenal and what our bodies can do is amazing! I am amazed that I am once again creating a human being. Right now, as I am typing this, I am nauseated, but I am not vomiting, and my baby is growing healthy in my womb, & my toddler is beside me with the biggest smile and because of that every single symptom I am experiencing is worth it! I have shared some helpful links within this post about severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum), fatigue, and pregnancy in the first trimester. It is my prayer that this article can give another mother courage while going through a tough pregnancy. Do not be so hard on yourself if you are not being who you were before the 1st trimester. Remember you are human, you are creating a human, & you deserve some mercy & grace during this time. Thanks for engaging, please comment any advice you may have or your own experiences below!

Books I suggest:

https://www.amazon.com/First-Time-Pregnancy-Handbook-Week-Week/dp/1641528540/ref=sr_1_10_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=getting+through+1st+trimester&qid=1611682272&s=books&sr=1-10-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFVNUFORUFZSTBLT0cmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAxMzQ4MjgyMkZFRFhKM1ZKVTYxJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1MjIxODUzTjVOQVZKQkRUMU5ZJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

https://www.amazon.com/What-Expect-When-Youre-Expecting/dp/0761187480/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=getting+through+1st+trimester&qid=1611682446&s=books&sr=1-10

 

ThePearlBlog