As mothers, we often joke how there is no manual for having a baby and raising them to be functioning humans. “Shouldn’t that be included in the afterbirth?”, I find myself saying, like a bad Dad joke. There is no easing into it. When you find yourself pregnant, motherhood is thrust upon you and no book or class could possibly prepare you for the ride to come. No amount of studying prepares you for this test. As a military spouse, I prided myself on my ability to “adapt and overcome”, “hurry up and wait”, “expect the unexpected”, and every other cliché that is associated with having a spouse in the Armed Forces.
My husband and I took advantage of every free pregnancy and birth class that the base offered. I took meticulous notes while rubbing my growing belly, wishing I could fast forward to a time when I all I would know is the immense love and joy of having our baby girl in my arms for the first time. The instructors talked openly about postpartum depression and the baby blues; making sure we all knew the signs and that asking for help was okay and not a sign of weakness. Each class I left never giving PPD a second thought. I was a “go-with-the-flow” kind of person and my ego was getting the better of me… “I’m made of stronger stuff than that.” Never have I viewed mental health or illness as a weakness in someone else, but for some reason, I thought I was untouchable…Read More