Saturday, March 31, 2012


I have neglected my blog as of late- not because nothing has been going on, but perhaps because too much has been. Life is never dull here, even if it is a bit monotonous at times (and yes, both parts of that sentence can be true at the same time).

So I have to make a confession here for all to read. Part of my absence from my blog was due to my erratic-ness from weaning off of the antidepressants I was taking for postpartum depression. I'm not sure why I never posted about it here. In retrospect it was very selfish of me to not share my experiences with others who might be suffering from the disease; who might have needed to make a connection, or not feel alone. But I guess I wasn't really thinking of anyone else during that time.

I was not surprised by my diagnosis- I have been anticipating it after every pregnancy, since my anxiety disorder makes me more susceptible to it. After this pregnancy it got to the point where I no longer wanted to do anything. I took care of my kids' needs, rarely their wants, and I was completely out of energy. My temper was short, tears came often, and even more frequently was the unquenchable need to just run away. I knew something was wrong, but my pride kept me from saying anything until my mother and sister staged an intervention on the phone. It was a relief to hear them tell me what to do- to know that I wasn't just a mean, selfish mommy- to know that someone else knew that something was wrong.

I am grateful that I got help. I am grateful that I had the aid of meds to get me through one of the most stressful times of my life (having my fourth baby, moving, meeting new people, starting a new calling at church, in addition to all the normal day to day stuff). But there's this part of me that never wants to appear weak; never wants to need help. I also feared that someone would say what a small negative voice in the back of my head was telling me- that I just wasn't cut out for having four kids (especially four girls!) and that I was crazy to have tried. I wasn't ready to confront that or fight back against it. And so for the past 8 months or so since I was diagnosed, I allowed myself the comfort of not telling the world, of keeping that secret for myself and a few friends and my family. But as I started to decrease my medication, and then come off them completely, I felt this nagging that I needed to come clean- be completely honest with my small audience here that has always supported me.

I need to say that I am not perfect (course all of you knew that!); and I have weaknesses (again, this is only news to me); and that raising 4 kids while staying married to and happy with the same man is HARD. It is a constant pull on all my resources- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Sometimes it gets the better of me, but somehow despite that, it always makes me better in the end. I have grown so much in the past year- more than I could have dreamed possible. I have become more patient, more forgiving, more able to see people for who they are, and not who I want them to be. I have given so much of myself, but have received so much more in return. My children love me, in spite of all I have done to mess them up- In fact they love me the most (and Kaylon would back me up on that). They run to me to share their news- good and bad- and jump to my defense in a flash. Violet's biggest grins are saved for me, as are Moira's snuggles. And despite my craziness (literally) my husband still love me, too, and tells me that all the time.

My life is HARD, but my life is GOOD. Maybe my life is good because it is hard- I can perceive the good moments more clearly because they contrast so brightly against the bad. Eight years ago I chose to be a mom, not just a mom, but A Mom, and I do not regret that decision. I am raising conscientious, kind, intelligent members of society, who will hopefully make the world a better place. And while my life is non stop crazy right now, I have a wonderful support system in place that holds me up when my weaknesses break through- my husband, my family, my friends, and especially my Savior, who's love I feel so acutely when I pray.

So now that I have been honest (and I'm no longer feeling like I'm gonna dizzily crawl out of my skin and run around the house 10 times {ie withdrawal}) I will return to my blogging, a better person, and a better mom. And I will try to not wait 8 months to be myself next time.


Angie said...

I appreciate your candidness. I struggled with post-partum depression after Steven was born. Many symptoms you listed were exactly the same, especially the "unquenchable need to just run away." I felt like a terrible mom, I loved my kids and honestly thought that they would be better off without me and my "craziness." I applaud your strength and courage to come off medication. I tried and just couldn't. I've been told that I will probably be on anti-depressants for life. I felt like a failure, until I realized that just as Millie has to have insulin to have her body work and to live a full life, my body has to have medication to due the same. We are stronger women, stronger moms because we have had struggles. Children are resiliant and I am very honest with them and let them know that my short temperedness and crying times may be triggered by something they've done (or haven't done) but it's not due to THEM, that it's me and that like being grouchy after not enough sleep I am grouchy because not enough brain chemicals are working that day. Weird, but works for my kids.
Thanks again for sharing, Shauna you are not alone.

Brian and Shara's beautiful family said...

Thanks shawna for sharing. Wow- I had no idea. I couldn't even tell you were struggling. You seemed so strong. Be proud of yourself Shawna for overcoming it and pushing through it. I wish I could have helped in some way.

Mrs Abbott said...


Thanks for sharing! I want you to know that you are an amazing Mother and friend. All of these experiences will work out for the good and be for your benefit.

Jen said...

Shawna, I'm really sorry to hear about the postpartum and don't blame you in the slightest for going through your difficulty without adding ontop of that the anxiety of worrying about what other people might say (unfortunately, people can be really insensitive about topics like this).

I'm glad you got the help you needed and hope you transition okay into being med-free. I remember going through antidepressant withdrawals BAD when I came off my mission and it was kind of a scary experience for me.

There is absolutely no doubt, being a Mommy is the hardest, most difficult job in the world, and you are incredibly brave for doing it (and four times too! I'm a wimp and sometimes think I can only partially hack it with one!).

You are definitely, definitely not alone in having gone through this trial. I'm just glad you have so many people around you who love you and recognize the difficulty and worthiness of the life you have chosen. Sending thoughts and love your way.

Megan said...

Love you Shawna! You are still a wonderful mother and a great example for me. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to know you. You are brave and you are strong. I'm so proud of you!