Broken-Hearted And Postpartum: One Mom’s Struggle
Words: Priya Deux
Finding joy in becoming a mother is hard when you’re also processing a breakup. One mother explains how she eventually did both.
Despite my crumbling relationship with my child’s father, the internal peace I experienced during my pregnancy was intoxicating, like floating on top of a cloud for 40 weeks. I had moved out of our two-bedroom apartment to stay with my mother 28 days before my delivery date and didn’t shed one tear over it. I didn’t want to be the kind of woman who tries to make toxic relationships work for the children. I called on the portion of the Serenity Prayers that asks God to “give me the courage to change the things I can.”
On August 27, 2013—my birthday and one week after my baby was due—at 5 A.M., my water broke. I counted my contractions for an hour before heading to the hospital as instructed by my doctor. Despite our breakup, my ex stayed in the hospital for my entire 22 hours of labor. But after delivering my beautiful baby boy Seth, and spending two days in the hospital, it was time for us to say goodbye to his father, and we went our separate ways.
Our first night back home was when I began to feel an emotional breakdown coming. With only two hours of sleep, my mind began to attack me, like an enemy waiting to strike.
I wasn’t sure if it was caused by extreme exhaustion, my mother’s opinions on my situation, me missing Seth’s father and thinking I had made the biggest mistake of my life by leaving him, or the relentless verbal battles we had—How could you…? Why didn’t you…? All I knew for sure was that I couldn’t stop the tears. I cried continuously, and suffered intruding thoughts about my new life without the man I loved deeply. Although I didn’t think about hurting Seth, my chest was often tight and filled with anger, resentment, and pity. I had no peace—caring for my son seemed more like a chore than a delight. My mother helped me care for him, which gave me some much-needed rest. She often reminded me of the blessing I had with my baby, but I thought the real blessing would be having a family that included his dad by my side.
Dealing with a broken heart and postpartum depression left me absolutely devastated and depleted of energy. After meeting with my OBGYN for my two-week checkup, he said it was apparent that I was suffering from postpartum depression and prescribed a 25mg dose of Prozac. I wasn’t into medication but at that point I knew I needed a miracle in order to enjoy Seth and radiate happiness back to him.
I had no peace—caring for my son seemed more like a chore than a delight.
I decided to use a holistic approach to my healing process. I adopted a strong prayer life and faith, along with undergoing individual therapy. I started following Ayurvedic regimens for natural hair and body care, juicing, reading books on enlightenment and consciousness, and journaling every single day. Finding a good therapist was necessary; I began seeing my therapist in January 2014. My therapist and I developed goals, and I made the commitment to participate fully. In the African-American community, therapy can often be seen as taboo or a sign of weakness. I rejected these notations and focused on the result: loving myself, and being content and happy.
My therapist is certified in a treatment called Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). This process deals with resolving past hurts and traumas that usually occur in childhood. When suffering from unprocessed hurts, we constantly run on autopilot and, as a result, we sabotage our relationships with others and bring the chaos we have in our minds into our physical lives. As the months went on, my anger started to regress and I began to forgive my past behavior along with the hurtful behavior of others towards me. My connection with my son became stronger, and I became a more conscious parent.
Getting out of my own way helped me overcome postpartum depression. The commitment I made along with being accountable for my actions carried me through the year-long process. Today, 22 months after giving birth to Seth, I am no longer suffering from postpartum depression or a broken heart. Taking one day at a time and staying mindful is how I continue to cope. Having a good understanding and relationship with myself is the best foundation in attracting positive energy from the universe.