A few months ago Kelley Allen shared reflections from the first trimester of her pregnancy with her second child. After suffering with postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of her daughter, Kelley is sharing her experience and tactics as she moves through her second journey towards motherhood.
Article by Kelley Allen
Writing about the darkness of winter comes at a very good time for me personally, as I have noticed a shift in my mood within the past few weeks. Less sunlight and daytime hours seems to be registering in my mind as countless hours inside the house with a 3½ year old with unlimited energy, while also being five months pregnant. I can feel my patience running thin and I can feel myself slowing down. During these times, I think back to the darkest days of my Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and try to remember what helped me get through. Last week I found my “PPD journal” and read through it. Many things came back to me, a lot of them quite dark and hard to read but also quite a few positive and lovely things. Most notably, the amount of support I had. My husband. My friends and family, who were just incredible. Making a point to set aside time for myself, for walks, hot baths, writing, having coffee with friends, etc. These small efforts and periods of time to take care of myself were a priority during that time, and I see that I need to continue to make them a priority for myself again as I prepare to have a second child.
I am trying to shed a different light on the changing of the seasons this year. This is a time of preparation, to get things ready for myself and for my family. The shorter days do mean more time inside, but I can spend it organizing, getting a nursery ready, “nesting”. I am making a huge effort to stay connected with my friends and activities, and also making sure that my daughter is occupied with her activities as well. Once the baby comes, we are going to try to keep our daughter’s routine as much the same as possible. This Fall and Winter will be a great chance to put this into practice.
The most wonderful thing that came out of the darkness of my PPD/A was my daughter. Our relationship. She is a strong-willed but also very sensitive little girl and we are very close. She may not have known it at the time, but she watched her mother fight like hell to survive. She watched her father be the incredible man he is. She watched our little family come together and get through something awful. And this period of darkness that is coming with the changing of the seasons gives us a chance to come together again and spend time strengthening our bond so that, if by chance, PPD/A descends upon us again, we all know that we can get through it together.