..but are YOU ok?

I could have written this post about many things or talked on several different topics, but the fact that these words have been on my heart for almost a week now, I feel like there is someone that needs to hear them. After all, I owe it to myself and my readers to be transparent and thus far I have. I’ve always been told that I make parenting 3 toddlers, only nine months apart, look easy; and while I definitely appreciate the compliment because over the years I have developed routines that make things go a bit smoother for us, this walk of life called motherhood is no easy feat. Motherhood is way more than those cute pictures and pretty clothes; it’s those tantrums at bedtime that no one sees. It’s saying “stop fighting”, “stop running”, “put that down” for what seems like the millionth time in one day. It's staying up at night with a sick child (or children) wishing you could take all of the pain away, just so they can feel better. Its dealing with tantrums and fits because someone didn't get what they wanted. All of this is part of motherhood and it’s the side that us mothers don’t always choose to show. These few years that I have been a parent, I’ve learned the art of putting myself first sometimes. To some that sounds selfish but I know that I owe it to my kids to do so. I don't mean this in terms of my children's necessities and material things that they need. I mean this in terms of my mental health; whether it be something as simple as a glass of wine after they've gone to bed, or my blogging because writing, in itself is therapeutic for me.

Along with dealing with the day to day ups and downs of being a Mom and putting yourself last, sometimes there’s this underlying issue that creeps up and comes out of no where. It makes you feel like you have no control over your kids, yourself and overall situations in your everyday life. It robs you of your happiness and your peace of mind and even sometimes makes you feel like you are a minuscule part of this thing called life. This thief of happiness is called postpartum depression. Before having kids I had heard of it but never really understood that journey until I was in those shoes. Going to the doctor for my post pregnancy check up after having my first child, and explaining to my doctor how down and physically unable to function I was, and having been told that this was postpartum depression was a huge shocker because before then I felt that I was totally in control of MY OWN FEELINGS and how I reacted to many situations. This was one of my first mistakes because more often than not, in several communities, specifically the African American community, some of us are taught that you can just “pray yourself through it” or that "its just a mind thing". Although my faith and prayer have brought me a very long way, I think it needs to be said that IT IS OK TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP; whether it be a medical doctor or a therapist. Postpartum depression IS NOT just a "mind thing", it is a chemical imbalance and it leaves you feeling like you are no longer in control of your own feelings. I never felt the urge to harm myself, my kids, or anyone else but my positive outlook on life changed and I felt overwhelmed. Our mental health is not something that should be taken lightly. For a while I felt like as long as my kids were taken care of and didn't need anything, that everything was “ok” and that it’s ok for me to put myself last. However, I now know that that way of thinking is not ok either. You cannot pour from an empty glass and if you are not fine mentally and spiritually, then that toxicity (whether it be your vibes, your attitude, your demeanor, etc) affects everyone that you love. Gaining my positivity, my happiness and my motivation again is a feeling like no other and I've always said that I wouldn't trade my peace of mind for anything in the world. It's something that no amount of money can buy.