Red Coat, Cherry Dress, and Postpartum Depression

Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color |

Red is a Happy Color

Yesterday, I left my kids with my mother-in-law and got ready to go to the grocery store. I had just recommitted to following a healthy plan to lose the baby weight that has slowly crept up in the 15 months since Evie’s birth, and I was feeling good. When I stopped by my house to pick up my purse and a few other things, I was already formulating a plan to wear this coat with this fur collar.

And then, I touched up my eyeliner. Then, I had to do my hair. Before I knew it, I was dressed to the toes in a beautiful, cheerful outfit, all just to run grocery errands. It is the second time this week that this has happened. That’s when I realized: I can finally say I’m okay.  Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color |

Postpartum depression hit me sneakily.

The first flare was three days after Evie’s birth with an internet interaction that left me in pretty harsh tears. I didn’t realize what it was then, and just assumed I was a bit tired. A week later, we were at a party with my husband’s family and suddenly I just needed to go home. I felt anxious and emotional and ended up fleeing to an empty room to cry for no obvious reason. Still, I had just had a baby and I assumed it was lingering exhaustion.

But later the next week, it finally dawned on me. Sitting on our couch watching Asa toddle away out the door with his daddy as they walked over to grandma’s to give me some quiet, I was hit with an inexpressible sadness. I held my newborn girl to my chest and sobbed.

I remember thinking: “I don’t want to be a mom to two kids. I want my first baby back. I don’t want Asa to grow up. I don’t want a second baby. I want to go back.”Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color |

And the thing was, I did want this second baby.

I already loved her fiercely and unconditionally. But in the deepest, worst moments of depression, I just wanted to escape. I didn’t want to face the confusing emotions that postpartum hormones were shoving into my chest and stifling me with. I just wanted to hug my baby, curl up in a dark place, and sleep. That’s when I realized that something more than just exhaustion was messing with me.

Through the first six months of Evie’s life, I felt like I was in a haze. I do not have very many memories from her first six months, except the harsh and shaky feelings of depression. I took a lot of photos because I needed a physical way to hang on to the memories since my brain put a fog over every day. Some days, I would wake up and the sun would shine in my life and everything felt okay. Shaky and unsure, but okay. I could get up, play with Asa, do minimal things around the house, and feel like I might be getting better. Other days I would wake up and ask myself “are you okay today?” and the resounding “no” of my aching heart would answer, and I would move through the day fighting just to survive.

There were a LOT of outfit posts I shared through those months that I only wore for the time it took to take photos. Because I clung to blogging. I wanted to seem okay, so that I would believe I was.

Red is a Happy Color | Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comI struggled a lot with communication in those days. I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong with me; nobody really talks about depression like they should, and I wanted others to see my life as being okay. Not perfect, but I didn’t want deep questions. I didn’t want to be asked how I was, nor have conversations about how I was feeling, nor interact with humans on anything more than a superficial level.

I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos and interacting with Facebook groups. People who didn’t know me in person, to whom I could present an entirely happy and perfect version of myself. I thought that perhaps if I could just pretend I was okay, eventually I would start to feel okay, and then things would get better.
Red is a Happy Color |

But, of course, that’s not how it works.

After about six months, I started to come out of the haze a little bit and realized that the best way to overcome, for me, was to tell people about it. So I started easy, telling my mom friends in mom groups. Then I moved on to a few of my best friends. Then, my husband and family. They were the hardest because they know me the best and they would ask the toughest questions for me to answer honestly. I can put on a face to my friends, but I can’t hide things so well from those who know me best.

It seemed like it took a long time to come out of it, but today has made me realize that I have come out of it. Because today and yesterday and the day before, and perhaps for a week or two now, I have gotten dressed without even thinking about it. It’s not an effort any  more to get into clothes that look good, because I feel good inside. And it’s less of a struggle now to eat healthy and nourishing things, because I’m no longer drowning inexplicable sorrows on the inside. Red is a Happy Color | eyreeffect.comRed is a Happy Color |

It no longer feels overwhelming and hard to get dressed in things that make me happy, because I am finally feeling truly happy on the inside. Nor does it feel hard to do a photoshoot after errands, or to get myself moving around, or to play and be silly with my kids. It no longer feels hard to make healthy decisions instead of eating the easiest thing I can find. Those markers that I have been using as a gauge to determine the state of my mental health are finally all coming up positive.

And it’s a fantastic feeling.

If you struggle with postpartum depression, please do not hesitate to get help.

I think mine was very mild, but it was still very real and the best thing I could do, for me, was to talk about it. Start there. Tell someone how you’re feeling. Reach out when people offer. Accept that you’re not okay, and take steps to fix it. Talk to me if you need to; I will always be here to listen and offer what support I can. But if you need to visit a doctor and take medication, do that. Do whatever it takes, because being stuck in depression with no way out, feeling alone and out of control, is the worst place to be. Someday, it will pass and you will be okay. But until then, don’t forget that in the flurry of taking care of a newborn, you also need to care for yourself.

Dress, gift from Skye (similar here, here, and here) | coat, thrifted (similar here and here and here) | belt, belonged to another dress | collar, brooch, and earrings, vintage | scarf, thrifted | tights, Target (similar)| booties, thrifted (same here and in many places online)

Red is a Happy Color |








  • SaraLily

    Applause, applause. I know you’ve talked about PPD in past posts but still, you go girl for writing this post. Maybe it’s because Evie has become a walking little person and is growing so much, you finally have a weight lifted without being aware of it. You can be filled with pride and admiration for the milestones she and Asa will now reach together.

    I feel like a lot of mommies experience PPD because subconsciously, they struggle with being so needed by this new little baby 24/7 – even if it’s not their first! I know it’s MUCH more than that, but think about it! I mean, they literally provide the food for the baby out of their body. Not something the partner can do! It must be exhausting for the brain and heart to keep up. Depression is so scary – it must be discussed.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • The Eyre Effect

      I think having her be older has definitely been a turning point. I am enjoying her a lot more at this age than I did when Asa was this age for some reason. And maybe it’s because the weight is lifted and she’s not quite as dependent on me, or who knows! But I think it definitely needs to be discussed, especially in an open format so that people can know they are not alone!

  • Pam

    Glad to hear you are getting to the end of the tunnel, and thank you for sharing. My anxiety/depression started in my fifth month of pregnancy. We planned to start me on meds as soon as I gave birth (my decision). It took about six weeks post-partum to feel womewhat better, and the mother’s group I went to helped.

    My daughter was also diagnosed with a hearing loss from my husband’s family, which was very challenging, and still is. My parents still don’t support me on that end, and it made the eight months a part while my husband worked 800 kms away very sucky. I never wanted to hurt me or my baby, but it definitely goes there for some women, and they are often the ones that look perfect. Luckily, I lived in mumus and rarely took a shower. Minimal sleep was the best. Better than none, which haunted the end of my pregnancy. My little one is a week or two younger than your daughter. I love seeing them grow up “together”.

    • The Eyre Effect

      Aw that is so hard! Having support is DEFINITELY helpful though! And it’s very true; those that struggle the most are usually the ones who look the most put together. I think it’s just hard to admit something is wrong. But when you do, what a weight lifted!

      I love that our daughters get to “grow up together” in a sense! It’s been so fun being pregnant together and then sharing the baby girl experience!

  • Helene

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. A lot of women go through PPD and don’t talk about it. I’ve lived with depression for the past 10 years and if I’ve learned anything it’s that talking about it is so important, especially since you feel so alone in your struggle when you never really are. I will be extremely susceptible to PPD and it’s one of my worst fears, but hearing other women’s journey to overcome it is so inspiring and makes me feel like I will be able to get through it. It’s so admirable that you realized what was happening and informed your friends and family and I’m so glad to hear that you are doing so well!

    You look so beautiful, and this outfit and these photos radiate happiness. I feel like you’ve truly come into your fashion element and are rocking it! You’ve definitely become a vintage fashion icon of mine and I’m now considering getting a fur collar, haha!

    • The Eyre Effect

      Nobody really talks about it around here, and I find especially in church communities it doesn’t seem to be an open subject. Which is sad! So I try really hard to tell people about it; I know a few people who are struggling and I want them to know they can talk to me!

      Thank you for sharing, Helene! You are so strong and wonderful! And my heart is glowing knowing that I’ve become an icon for you! You are one for me, too! Ah!

  • Kathy H

    Thanks for this timely post, a mom here in Idaho just took her 18 month old daughters life then took her own because of postpartum depression. This is so overwhelmingly sad but your story says there is hope. This young woman was a great person but succumbed to her feelings. Thanks again and you look Christmasy and all wonderful in your red outfit.

    • The Eyre Effect

      Thank you! Me, too. This month especially I have felt super energized and I can tell it’s gotten better because my cache is full of outfit photos again. When I was at the worst of it, I rarely took photos.

  • JennyOH

    Thanks for sharing. There is a lot of pressure on women not just to have children, but to be instantly in love with those children like it’s what your life was meant for. And some people are! But not all of us are, and I wish more women heard this at some point.

    • The Eyre Effect

      I was in a weird ground of being fascinated BY Evie, but not feeling that deep love right away. Like, I wanted her, but I didn’t. It’s confusing! I don’t think I really felt super connected to and attached to her until she was about 6 months old, and actually NOW is the time that I just adore her to death and feel giddy about having her.

      I think more women need to hear that for sure. It’s not always instant love, and that’s okay as long as you’re still taking care of your baby and yourself! Sometimes it takes a while.

  • Beth Poppet

    This post made me teary-eyed, and I’m so glad you shared it. I’m only on pregnancy #1, and I know friends and family mean well, but I’m already tired of hearing, “It’s a GOOD sickness,” or, “Trust me, things will be SO much easier by the second baby,” or hardest of all to hear, “At least you get a baby by the end of it!” I know my own mum went through 12 pregnancies and 10 children born and grown with relatively little complications and almost no morning sickness, but it hurts me because I keep asking myself, “But what if I still end up losing the baby? What if there are complications after the birth? What if I have postpartum depression?”

    I’m more than happy, looking forward to this child, and future children as well, but I want to be realistic about it, and not feel like I’m the crazy one to question the wisdom of having each baby one right after the next, or be forced to act perfectly okay with all the pregnancy symptoms when I’m definitely not, because I should just be thankful I get a baby out of it all.

    A baby is a precious gift, but one that comes with as many challenges and complications as it does with blessings. I’m aware of this, and I haven’t even gone through the child birth part, yet. It’s just good to be reminded that I shouldn’t feel like a horrible mother-to-be for not being overjoyed at every little thing, just because it means a baby is on the way. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing this. It’s so encouraging and REAL. 🙂