Let me be clear– postpartum depression and anxiety are very real. Most of us don’t even realize we suffer from any of it until we look back when the kids get a little older.
This is what happened to me.
Daily life can be overwhelming
The experience of having kids intensifies a lot of negative emotions and anxieties. It forces you to face your real self. You have to fight some personal monsters in order to raise your new little monsters mostly right.
I was so busy surviving and just trying to keep up. I didn’t realize how far down the list any marital concerns had gotten. Yes, I cared about my husband’s needs, wants, and spending time with him. But in reality, it was truly about me and how hard it all was for me.
Let me tell you, that man of mine hung on.
The best advice I have to new parents is just that. Hang on. Give a whole lot of grace. I talked to my doctor and a counselor to get a grip on my emotions. Don’t make life changing marital decisions in those early years. You will find each other again.
But, it’s so hard to leave
When we went away for a weekend in Victoria, BC, it was the first time since our oldest was born over seven years ago that my anxiety decided that I could leave my three boys overnight with anybody but my husband. You won’t believe what was going through my head.
- Would my husband’s cousin and his wife know that one of the boys tries not to cry when he’s hurt or sad but still needs a hug?
- Or that one talks so much their ears might catch on fire? (There’s not enough coffee for that and drinking during the day is still frowned upon.)
- Or that the third one gets overwhelmed and mad about everything and needs a personal snuggle buddy?
It would all be okay. I was getting away with my best friend. He is tired of trying to stand close to me in the kitchen only to get yelled out because he is slowing me down. Why doesn’t he understand that our three hungry caterpillars will turn and eat me for dinner if I don’t get this food on the table?
Prioritize a Couple’s Getaway
But we need to get away. Away from the chaos… finally. Away to find ourselves, remember why we fell in love, remember why we still love each other and that even after these crazy monkeys are gone, we will still have each other.
So that is my encouragement to you. Find a way to leave the kids, if even just for one night. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. Leave the crazy, hungry, whiny, needy (and yet oh so lovable and cuddly) monsters at home, and reconnect with the person who is helping you raise those kids in the first place. Do it before it is too late and you forget why you got married. Don’t wait 18 years for the kids to go to college.
Go now. You will be a better parent because of it. And your kids will still love you when you get back. Promise.