Kristan Vermeulen's Story Behind Beauty
Kristan Vermeulen, March 2021, Photo credit Natalya DeSena
After getting married four years ago to the man of my dreams, my partner in life, right away I wanted to have kids. I thought life is so perfect right now, let's keep it up! I told my husband we were going to start trying during our honeymoon, which was in Croatia. It was the best trip of our lives. I’m the type of person who plans everything so I had a checklist in my mind and I thought the baby-making process would be easy peasy. I really thought it would happen overnight. Come to find out my vision, my dream of having a baby, taking care of my baby, and holding my little peanut in my arms was definitely not what I expected.
From dealing with a miscarriage at the start of the baby-making process to now having two beautiful babies yet still feeling like my world is going to crumble was the reality that sunk in for me. I always thought depression was an excuse. I didn’t think of it as a disease or an issue or a challenge I would ever deal with in life. My sister has dealt with depression for the majority of her life and she was on medication for it. I didn’t do a great job at supporting her, to be honest as I thought it was an excuse. But after dealing with depression from the miscarriage to now dealing with postpartum depression, I get it.
Kristan and her husband on their Wedding Day.
You feel alone.
Even though you may not be alone because you do have support from your family and friends. You feel like others don’t understand what you’re going through. So you hide in your room and lay down in your bed and just cry. Sometimes it’s for a reason and sometimes it’s not.
I’ve dealt with two types of depression. Grief and postpartum. While they may be similar, the feeling is different. When you find out at six weeks pregnant that your little one has no heartbeat and this is your first time being pregnant and you have already told the majority of your friends and family that you’re pregnant. It is a sadness that is unlike no other. While the being in your body is super tiny and you felt no connection has been made, you still feel like you did something wrong. Did I eat something wrong? Did I drink too much wine the other night? Have I created an environment that caused me ungodly amounts of stress? This anxiety brought grief and depression that filled me to the brim.
Now I’m dealing with a different type of depression. A
depression that I never thought existed as everyone thinks when having a baby its rainbows and butterflies. I’m not going to lie to new Moms, this time can be very dark. I also never thought postpartum depression would happen after having my second child. But I guess having a child at the beginning of a pandemic didn’t help with this. I had a similar feeling when having my daughter but it subsided right away...what I feel today is something that lingers in my soul.
As I rock my one-year-old son thinking about the world we live in and who I am as an individual, I get lost. I’m in a trance of pretending like everything is okay when it’s not. I still can’t believe I’m dealing with this and it’s been a year since I had my son. This feeling is not always sad either. Sometimes I’m mad, hurt, lost. In the beginning, I felt like I wanted to hurt myself or even others and that’s when I knew I needed to get on some type of depression medication.
Change is good. While these times in my life were challenging I found it to be a blessing as it made me realize I needed to change something in my life. Prior to my miscarriage, I was working long hours and trying to please my higher-ups at my current job to the point it was unhealthy. So I decided to change careers but that wasn’t the culprit. It was the actual environment I was living in. An environment that was busy and chaotic. I needed to slow down and focus on myself and my growing family. I decided to take a leap of faith and move to my husband’s home state of Maine, which is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Three years later I’m still dealing with the depressing feeling, but I’m learning to cope with it. Meditation, medicine, conversation with loved ones, and even CBD products are allowing me to live life a little better. I’m working hard to get off the pills as it’s something I don’t plan to take for the rest of my life. I find that little changes in life can help navigate through the feelings you are going through. I’m not the type of person who is scared of change. I welcome it with open arms and I have learned to identify when I need that change.
Keep it raw -- that’s beauty. My beauty is a journey. It’s raw and it’s not always a happy journey. I find that beauty stems from all sorts of situations and emotions. Each of us has a beauty to share and we can all learn from it. We can all relate to it. We just need to continue to define it.
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