Lifestyle

My Journey & Battle With Postpartum Depression

Lifestyle blogger Lilly Beltran of Daily Craving shares her experience with postpartum depression

I wrote this post a little over a year ago, and contemplated sharing it a million times. It’s for sure the most difficult post I’ve ever written and sharing it with literally thousands of people scares me to the core. BUT, as of recent I’ve come across fellow bloggers and friends who have shared tidbits of their struggle with me, and I feel like there’s so many women out there going through the exact same thing. I’m sharing my journey & struggle with postpartum depression in hopes that my story will help these women find some sort of comfort and perhaps the strength they are so desperately fighting for.

It’s so difficult for me to even begin writing this because I don’t think I even have the correct words to describe my emotions without sounding like I’m drowning in my own pity parade. But nonetheless, I feel so ready to share my story with every new mom who has experienced or is experiencing PPD for the first time, hoping that you will find some sort of comfort in my words & that you feel empowered to overcome the storm. This will also be the first time I open up about my own experience with close friends and family, so bare with me as I try to relive and retell.

As you guys read on this post, after being friends for almost 4 years, my husband Erick & I went on our first official date on November 11, 2005. We fell in love so quickly and deeply. It was truly love at first sight, and within 5 months he proposed at Senior Prom. Within a two year period and at the age of 20 & 22 we had the most beautiful wedding, welcomed a gorgeous baby boy and purchased our first home together. Everything was “perfect” I had the guy, the new house, a stable job & a beautiful healthy baby boy. So why was I feeling so off, so disconnected?

I wasn’t quite sure what it was I was feeling. I felt confused and a bit concerned but at the same time I was so busy with my new life that I had no time to even dissect the problem. Soon the outgoing, confident, friendly, bubbly girl whom my husband had fallen for, was no longer here. I’d become inhibited, insecure, scared of almost everything, and was no longer happy. I quit my job because I was unable to function like a normal person. By this time Evan was now a year old, which made it even crazier to think it was PPD I was going through. I felt so out of place, so inadequate as a mom, as a wife and as a person. There were mornings where I seriously could not get out of bed. I had like this permanent overpowering physical and mental numbness. Everything was always such a blur. I had to force myself to walk to the kitchen and make breakfast for this little guy who I had total responsibility over. The idea of caring for him suddenly became such a burden. Seeing the way he depended on me scared the shit out of me. I started to have feelings of resentment towards him. And that made me feel like the worst human being on this earth. How could I look at this little innocent baby and think he was the reason for my misfortune?

Lilly Beltran of Daily Craving talks about her experience with post party depressionI was in such a fragile state and needed someone to blame for my misery. In my mind he was responsible for everything. I blamed him for the fact that I dropped out of college, for my now almost skeletal body, and for my inability to show him affection. I blamed him for the dumbest things, like being unable to go out & hang out with friends. The sound of his cry made me cringe. There were times where I wished someone would come take him as far away from me as possible. I was scared of him, plain and simple. During this time we had only one car which Erick would drive to work, so this meant I was stuck at home all day. My mom quickly took notice of my absent mind and took it upon herself to pick me & baby boy up every morning to spend the day at her place. I remember being at her house in her amazing back yard with the most beautiful garden as a backdrop and baby boy running around happily, but I just wasn’t there. I remember thinking “look at him, he’s happy, he’s running and laughing. This is where he should be, not with me.” I had to try SO hard to even have a conversation with my mom. And even worse, I had to force myself to eat because god forbid mom would start asking questions.

The situation escalated so quickly and I soon found myself crying thru the night almost every night, sometimes for no reason in particular, getting little to no sleep and unable to grasp what was going on in my mind. And when it came time for Erick to go to work in the morning I’d beg and cry and hold on to him like a baby, begging him to stay home with me. I dropped so much weight people around me were beginning to ask questions about my eating habits which were quickly dismissed with a “it was the breastfeeding” answer…The thing about this though, is that I was so good at putting up a front. I still went to holiday get togethers with my family and his, got dolled up like a pro and faked it so well that no one ever noticed. How I managed to do that, I still don’t know. I guess it was the pressure I felt from everyone around me to be this perfect new mom & wife with my perfect little family. The thing is that everyone around me constantly reminded me of how incredibly lucky I was. After all, I had everything a girl could ever dream of so I didn’t want to appear ungrateful for all this goodness. I didn’t want to be judged for being such a “terrible mother”.

It’s so crazy to me how desperately I tried to be normal around loved ones but at the same time I was dying for attention. I wanted someone to emotionally cater to me without me having to be vulnerable or explain myself. For someone to hug me and tell me it was all going to be okay. I secretly longed for my lifelong best friend to call me and come around and want to know about me. I craved and needed her comfort so badly, but she was nonexistent. She was too busy living her single life like any 20 something year old should, which totally crushed me. I started to hate her for it. For not being there for me when I needed her the most. I felt sadness to the depths of my soul. At some point I had lost touch with almost all of my friends. Feeling ashamed of my body, so insecure about my looks and just wanting to sit at home in my misery. I missed out on lots of baby showers, birthday & graduation parties. Yes me, the girl who always planned the parties, the one who loved meeting new people and making new friends.

Lilly Beltran's story about postpartum depression and how she overcamePretty soon this situation started to affect Erick in more than one way. He was feeling so stressed at work, calling me every chance he could to make sure Evan & I were okay. He couldn’t really see his family because I would literally have an anxiety attack anytime we went somewhere outside of my comfort zone, And he couldn’t hang out with friends either because he feared for me & baby’s safety back at home. The poor guy endured more than I can say. He drove me to the ER countless times only to be told there was nothing clinically wrong with me. Imagine his frustration. Not only did it affect his work but also our relationship as husband and wife. He had lost his best friend. He didn’t have the luxury of coming home and telling me about his day because instead he had to come home and make sure baby and I ate dinner, that the house was clean and that baby got his bath before putting him down for the night. Keep in mind that during this almost two year ordeal we had no intimacy & very little dialogue was exchanged.

All of a sudden and out of the blue I decided I had had enough. Enough of feeling completely worthless, of having nasty feelings towards this little person who God had gifted me. And I took it upon myself to seek help (keep in mind that through all this, I did see my general doctor very frequently and PPD was NEVER even mentioned as a possibility). I saw numerous professionals from Psychiatrists, Cardiologists & even Neurologists, but for whatever reason they would all send me home with a Xanax or Prozac prescription and with instructions to “take it easy and get some rest.” I refused to medicate myself, I had dealt with severe anxiety as a pre-teen (which I later found out made me more prone to PPD) due to an unfortunate event I experienced while in middle school and I thought no way, I will not be drugged up once again. There was one more physician on my list that I had yet to see. So I made an appointment and put all my faith in him. Since he had been my pediatrician as a child I thought he must be able to help me if he knew my past history with anxiety. After a thorough physical examination, we sat in his office and he listened to me rant and cry for about an hour…I was finally officially diagnosed with PPD. I felt immense relief! There was finally a name to this monster I had been dealing with for the past two years. After discussing treatment options and learning that I had no interest in medication, he suggested I give yoga a try. And without questioning my beliefs he told me to pray, pray to whomever it was I believed in, but pray with a faithful heart. His words will forever live with me because for the first time in forever I felt reassured and understood.

Lifestyle blogger Lilly Beltran opens up about her battle with postpartum depressionI will not sit here and say that it was easy coming out of it with just a faithful heart, a determined mind & a whole lot of yoga, but I will say that the process was humbling and eye opening in so many levels. I met wonderful people along the way and learned so much about myself. A year after the diagnosis I became pregnant with Mason. The pregnancy was tough & I did get PPD for the second time. This time though, I was much more aware of the situation and did everything in my power to get through it. I’d say I came out one tough mama after the second time around. I have learned to love my children unconditionally. They are and will always be the best thing that has ever happened to me and I cannot imagine a life without them. They are the reason behind everything I do and are my greatest inspiration. I do always make sure to give my Evan an extra kiss goodnight because to me he’s my warrior baby. The one who witnessed mommy crying & yelling and endured so much at such tender age. I will continue to strive to be the best person for these guys, for myself and for my husband who till this day has lived up to our wedding vows of being there in sickness and in health. I love you baby!

Having dealt with PPD doesn’t define me, but it will always be a part of me.

My heart goes out to all my mama’s out there who’ve had to experience PPD or are experiencing it as we speak. You are not alone. There is help out there and you can and will get through it.

Lots of love,

LEB

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  • brittany ashmore
    March 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    This is so beautiful Lily! Thank you for sharing your story. xo!

    • Lilly@DCarving
      March 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Aw thank you Brittany, And Thank you so much for reading! Xo-

  • Dawn
    March 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Love this! Beautifully written. I admire mamas who share their stores of PPD. I know it’s not the same experience for everyone and the more is moms can share about it, the more people will become aware of what PPD is. No one thinks it will happen to them, till one day, like myself you are so depressed you don’t even want to get up out of bed, you realize you have it too. I’m so thankful for my mama too to help me out with Jayden, and it wasn’t till I came to terms with having it was I able to find a solution. Thanks for sharing, and you have a beautiful family girl!

    • Lilly@DCarving
      March 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Dawn, I agree. I never though it would happen to me and much less after a year! I don’t know what I would’ve done without my mom’s help! And although she never knew how I was really feeling, I wish I would’ve opened up to her or anyone else, really, and that would’ve made my situation a bit better…I hope you are doing great! Thank you so much for reading. Xx Lilly

  • Ashley
    March 5, 2016 at 2:32 am

    ❤️❤️ If more moms were as honest as you were about postpartum depression then more moms would look for help! You’re one strong mama!

    • Lilly@DCarving
      March 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Ashley, thank you girlie. It definitely wasn’t easy finding the bravery to share my story, but i’m so glad I did! I feel like so many mamas found comfort in my story and realized that they are not alone in this. Thank you so much for reading;)

  • Connie Gomez
    March 5, 2016 at 3:33 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I know how hard this can be. It’s hard. Every day a little better, and some days setbacks. But, yes staying positive, keeping your life in balance and keeping in mind that those two beautiful boys love you no matter what!!!! Loved this so much!!!

    • Lilly@DCarving
      March 7, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      And thank you for reading, Connie. I watched your video where you talk about the first time you experienced an anxiety attack & I was in tears. I hope that everyday is better for you.. You are an amazing mom, wife & writer!! love, Lilly

  • Claudine
    March 5, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Thank you for sharing this and for opening yourself and your heart to your readers!
    I didn’t suffer of PPD, but of an other disease people normally don’t share with the public. Your post gives me power and encourages me to do the same in the near future. Thank you so much!
    Love from Germany
    Claudine
    http://www.claudinesroom.com

    • Lilly@DCarving
      March 7, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Claudine, thank you so much for reading! Whatever it is you suffered, I hope that you are well now. I’m so happy you feel empowered and encouraged to share your story with others. Not only will it be cathartic for you, but you never know how many people you will impact. Best wishes- Lilly

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  • Tawnya
    March 9, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Wow! I commend you for sharing your experience. I definitely had a little bit of PPD with my daughter and you had me in tears because I could relate to so much of what you were saying and describing! It’s so difficult and it needs to be talked about more openly… thank you for opening up the conversation. XO

    • Lilly@DCarving
      March 10, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Tawnya, thank you so much for reading! Like I mentioned in the post, it was very difficult to write and relive all those emotions,. It’s so difficult to go through and yes, I agree with you, it needs to be talked about more and us mamas need to share this stories with each other! It definitely makes me feel less alone knowing that SO many of us have gone through it.

      Xo!!

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  • Sarah K
    September 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Lovely, this was such a beautiful testimony! I always appreciate when bloggers are so raw and real with their readers. I have suffered from severe anxiety within the past year, and you nailed so many of the feelings I had experienced. I would love to fully open up on my blog one day in hopes to help someone else who may be struggling. I felt as if no one around me understood and my poor husband was hanging on for dear life on my crazy roller coaster. You writing this lets me know I was not alone and how wonderful it is coming out the other side and being a tough cookie! Keep up being amazing momma 🙂

    • Lilly@DCarving
      September 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Sarah, thank you so much for reading. It’s always so nerve-wrecking to talk about it and opening up to everyone about what once felt like something I wanted to hide from absolutely everyone because I was too embarrassed to admit it. I hope that you are in a better place now and if you’re not, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I completely understand your struggle and even your husbands. Sending you lots of love!!
      Xo-

  • Margarita Valdez
    September 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I may have shed a tear or two while reading this, but in a good way!
    God is good and he touches us in our most sensitive spot to make us closer to him and tests us to see if our faith is still there.
    Thank you for sharing this was wonderfully written!!

  • Esmeralda Estrada
    September 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Oh my goodness, Lily! I never would have imagined that you went through all of this. It breaks my heart to hear you had to experience these tough times but thank God you are who you are now. What a testimony, I truly believe this experience made you the amazing person you are today. Thank you for being so willing to share this personal story, it was beautifully written. I thought I was reading a published book. Your sons are so adorable & so lucky to have a tough mama like you. & your husband, wow. Speechless. What a great man you have by your side to always stick by your side through the highs & the lows. It takes a real man to stick to their vows. I believe you do still have that perfect little family you were speaking out. ❤️