I smiled to myself as I clicked “buy” on something that seemed so out of character: A pair of leggings with a space invaders inspired pattern on them. Yep, a grown woman with space invader leggings. To some, it may seem silly or weird, but to me, it was symbolic. This frivolous (yet comfortable) item that made me grin is a tangible way of showing the world and myself that I am letting go of postpartum anxiety and instead I am looking for what makes me happy.
2016 was a rough year for me. It seems a lot of the world felt the same. For me though, the difficulties weren’t political or social, but a lot closer to my heart. Nonetheless, I was ready to welcome 2017 with open arms and a fresh attitude.
This year, instead of giving myself the usual Type A checklist of career and fitness related goals, I am choosing joy as my resolution. This year, I am allowing myself to enjoy the big and little things in life. I will smile more. I will hold my loved ones close, be silly, and I will let stress over day-to-day chores slide just a little.
Last year, I felt robbed of some beautiful moments by postpartum depression (PPD). What should have been a joyous time in my life was clouded by anxiety, insecurity, and fear. I was too wrapped up in my anxiety to even realize that I had PPD. My husband and I had just moved across the country before I gave birth to our amazing little boy in March. I was away from home, away from family, had just left a job that I loved, had a very difficult labor and delivery and BOOM…out comes a 9 lb 3 oz big ol’ bundle of joy who rocked my entire world. Sure, I knew delivery and motherhood would be difficult, but I was not prepared for the physical recovery and the hormonal changes after birth, not to mention feeling like a stranger in my own postpartum skin.
It took me nearly six months to even recognize that I had PPD, something many women experience. I didn’t seek help when I recognized the symptoms, but I wish that I had. Fortunately, I didn’t have an extreme case and I started to feel “normal” again after about seven or so months. That’s when I finally started to truly enjoying being a mom. I was lucky enough to have my family as a support system. They would fly out to help and would talk with me on the phone nearly every day. I felt as if I was barely scraping by in “survival mode”, but It was my family that taught me that I needed not just to survive, but to live.
For 2017, of course, I am striving to be the best mother and journalist that I can be. I’m also focusing on my health and fitness, but I’m taking time to enjoy the “in-between” moments. I have a second chance and I plan to savor every second by making my son belly laugh, holding my husband’s hand, trying something new, wearing silly space invader inspired leggings and moving into the new year fearlessly. My different kind of resolution.
Please seek help if you do experience symptoms of PPD including:
Depressed mood or severe mood swings
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Withdrawing from family and friends
Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Intense irritability and anger
Fear that you’re not a good mother
Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
Severe anxiety and panic attacks
Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.
Sandra Osborne is an award winning Reporter/Anchor, formerly with News 13 in Orlando. The new mom is currently freelancing at KPIX in San Francisco. You can follow her on Triter @SandraOsborneTV