I can see how easily a woman can succumb to postpartum depression. It’s almost like a domino effect. It starts with a lack of sleep resulting in lack of energy, which does not help when a woman is dealing with multiple physical and hormonal changes. Although being a Mom can be very rewarding and wonderful, it can also be stressful and lonely at times.
Those first few weeks of having a newborn along with a second child I felt overwhelmed, anxious, completely exhausted, physically self-conscious, sad, and lonely. I couldn’t recall feeling this way with my first child. I kept trying to analyze what my problem was. Was it hormonal? Was it a lack of sleep? I was ashamed that I was having such a difficult time when other women were doing the same thing, and (by my perception) so effortlessly. Although my husband offered help with the children, it was limited because he worked full time and was going through a Master’s Program. I think it was also taken for granted that I was fine because this was my second child and I had done this before. Truth was I felt awful.
I never fell into a deep depression, but I do believe I may have been close and I recognize that. It’s a scary thing and I don’t hear too many women discuss it. For me, it was very difficult being at home with a newborn and a four-year-old by myself catering to every need of my family and hardly ever my own. I felt as though everyone else was living life and here I was putting my life on hold. I was losing myself and it was completely effecting the way I felt and what I was becoming.
It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to take time for myself and start running again, that I was able to overcome these melancholy emotions. It wasn’t easy at all to be able to do this, as it took a lot of preparation and planning. Plus, I felt incredibly guilty leaving my newborn. Knowing the outcome of what could transpire if I did not get back out doing what I loved (running), I had to let a lot of my preconceived notions go. I also had to realize that it was okay to ask for help, and I didn’t need to do it all on my own. This was the best thing that I could have done for myself not just as an individual, but also as a Mom.
I truly believe that running saved me from falling into a deep postpartum depression. For me, running has been the absolute best way to get myself back into shape and feeling good again. At first it is not easy and believe me I struggled with getting up in the morning after having sleepless nights nursing a newborn. Plus, I had extra weight and did not look like a typical runner. Still I was motivated because I knew I was going down a rabbit hole and it would only get worse if I did not do something to cure it, therefore I ran.
Can running inhibit postpartum depression? For me, I believe it did! I also believe that Moms taking time for themselves can contribute significantly to being able to regroup and manage emotions better. There is a common comparison between being Moms taking time for themselves and the safety instructions given to passengers on an airplane, when the emergency oxygen masks descend the adult places it on themselves first to breath, then assists the child with their mask. My message here is, take that time for yourself Mom and breath.
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