Do you know what sucks? PPD sucks

Parenting Off The Mat

Sutra 1.1, Part the Second
atha yoganusasanam
atha = now, at this auspicious, particular moment; after preparation and practice; blessings in place
yoga = process of yoking or integration; union
anusasanam = teaching, exposition that happens with discipline which form the base from which to cultivate one’s spiritual life

Do you know what sucks? PPD sucks

Postpartum depression (PPD) robs me of time with my children. It rots my marriage with painful words. It isolates me from my friends. It causes me to doubt everything I say or do. It makes me feel like everyone, especially my children, would be better off without me here. When I feel this bad, after I’ve submerged myself into the depths of self-abuse and self-hatred, it is easy to glom onto any floating object that could keep me from going under.

I’m working through Yoga Sutra 1.1: “Now is the time for Yoga.” So, of course when I’m struggling with these uncomfortable thoughts that are brought up from PPD, my smart-aleck brain sing-songs “Nananah! Now is the time for Yoga.” But, Yoga is not another 12 step program for self-improvement to being somewhere someone else. It is a fundamental shift in consciousness.

It is terribly easy to get caught up in the quick fix, shiny blue pill or program that will instantly evolve me into that perfectly carefree, ultimately patient person. This causes me more pain because I’m still working with the paradigm that I am not where I need to be-that things will be better if only…

It looks and feels like I’m doing. The positive feedback both internally and externally from those close to me is heady. But, inevitably, I splash back into the PPD well, only to grab the next life-preserver floating by.

Now is the time for Yoga. I have been asking how I might utilize this sutra without improving, evolving or struggling. Now, I have been sitting with these thoughts in meditation for three days (hey, it’s a start!)-formal, seated meditation. Sometimes, I cram in five minutes. One time, I eked out fifteen whole minutes before someone wailed for mama. This meditative stillness is when I have caught myself and stopped struggling. I float down into stillness; down into the water and watch those thoughts float by me. I notice them and let them go. I bring this stillness with me as I break the surface and plunge into the next parenting task. I notice the kids are calmer with me post-meditation, too. At least for a moment or two, we all have a break from the mire of PPD.

On the worst moments of my worst days, this practice is my way of being fully present in all of its discomfort. I spend more time than I would like puddling in my bed instead of being with my children. I say things that cause pain to my husband. I believe everyone would be better off without me. I have the guilt from these things. It is awful to be in this place.

Now is the time for Yoga. This awful place is where I am. These uncomfortable thoughts are my thoughts. I know that none of these are me, but struggling against these beliefs will lead me to self-improvement instead of shifting where I am. I believe this is one of the ways I am creating the shift in myself. I’m not striving to be better or un-depressed. I’m practicing and the practice is all there is. I’m not setting goals or deadlines. I’m trying to float under the surface, in this dirty water.

Right here, right now. Yoga. Parenting off the mat.

11 thoughts on “Do you know what sucks? PPD sucks

  1. hi zoie, just some quick thoughts which might help, as I too suffered ppd (please excuse me typing in lower case – i’m doing this one-handed while nursing!)

    i took supplements of zinc (30mg daily) and vitamin B complex after reading some research. after about 10 days ‘the cloud’ lifted. i just felt different. better. able to walk with my baby in the buggy without pulling the hood up so she wouldn’t see me crying. not totally cured – i don’t begin to suggest that ppd is just a nutritional deficit, obviously it is way more complex than that, but at least if you can take nutrition out of the equation it’s a start.

    our bodies work hard during pregnancy and nursing. i’ve just had my fourth cold in a row and i’m sure it’s because all my nutrients are going into my 20-month-old through my nipples! add to that the 9 months of pregnancy…

    your body has had to work even harder from what i can see! as i said, just some quick thoughts. i don’t know you, i only quickly read this ppd article as i noticed it whilst reading through the carnival of breastfeeding posts, and i hope i don’t offend you by my post. i just wanted to suggest this as it helped me to start to get over the misery.

    meditation too. imagine your older, future ‘self’ hugging you, loving you, and telling you it will be ok. because it will.

    with love and best wishes, joanna x

  2. Sooo sorry Zoie, please feel free to email or call or text or WHATEVER – you know I understand and will listen. Praying for a quick ride on the roller-coaster from you know where. Yuck.


    • Thank you, Kim. I will take you up on that. I know you understand in a way only someone from the inside does. I am still eternally grateful for your support last time around. If not for your advice to get a support system, and keep hacking away at it until I get the RIGHT support system, things wouldn’t be as alright as they are this time around.

  3. Mmm…this is a lovely post.

    I read a book, I think The Zen Path Through Depression, a few years that talked about how, instead of fighting against depression, it’s enough to simply acknowledge it. It helps loosen the knot. “Now is the time for Yoga” reminds me of that. Releasing striving and just allowing ourselves to be, wherever we are, however we are, whoever we are in this moment.

    Oh, and I love the image you chose for this post.

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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