My Story of Postpartum Depression
“I Can Do All Things Through Christ”
Warning serious topic ahead.
Today is not about humor as I relive a part of my life I didn’t ever want to think about again. I’m not normally ready to open up this deeply. This is really hard for me as I haven’t even shared most of this with my husband or family. I just want to share in hopes that someone who is where I was can find out they are not alone and be able to reach out and get help. I also hope that by finally talking about it I can find peace in admitting out loud that yes, I did have this mental illness and I can move on myself.
Last night, I joined a chat about Postpartum Depression and it brought up some old feelings and memories. I have never really talked about my experience with PPD with anyone but I am now. Postpartum depression is not who I am but a very real illness I suffered through. I am not that person as much as that person was not the real me. A lot of women suffer in silence as I did through this condition after the birth of a baby. We don’t have to be silent. We can get help. There is help!
PPD is nothing to play with. It can cause a woman to have horrible thoughts and even harm themselves or their children. It can be severe and detrimental to the new mother’s health. Please if you feel you are depressed or having unusual thoughts, find help. It is not your fault that you feel this way, it is not your child’s fault. It’s an illness and as with any illness sometimes you need help to start the road the recovery. Everyone’s body reacts differently to labor and delivery. Just know you are not alone and if you need to talk there are countless people on here to talk to or just email me. I will talk. I understand and I will be there for any mother who would like to share. Talking is the first step to healing.
|The day my son was born.|
Nearly eight years ago I had my second child, a little mirror image of myself. He was a beautiful boy born right on time, baked to perfection. He was perfect, everything I could have imagined and more. We were very happy. Two healthy babies, as our first was 15 months at the time. He was born after 20 minutes of labor and no pain medicine, it was a natural birth. There wasn’t time for even my family to get to the hospital because by the time my husband had finished calling to tell them I was in labor, he was calling to tell them we had a new baby boy.
He latched right on and took to nursing like a champ. I was excited to finally be doing something right. I was looking forward to the future and watching my children grow and seeing who they become.
Everything should have been wonderful, and it was… For awhile.
|My beautiful babies.|
The complete hopeless and lost feeling didn’t happen at the birth of my son. It didn’t happen all at once either. It crept slowly over me enveloping me in a blanket of depression and confusion over the course of the next few weeks. I just had a baby, I should have been ecstatic flying high on the fumes of my accomplishment. Instead I was spending all day hoping the night would come so I could hide the fact the I cried myself to sleep in the dark.
I became obsessed with making sure things were absolutely perfect. I thought if I could get this motherhood thing right than I would be right again. I became a mother on a mission, a very unhealthy mission. I would crack a little more each time I failed at perfection. I was so hard on myself as nothing ever was good enough. I couldn’t pump enough milk, I couldn’t get the house spotless, I couldn’t have all the laundry done, I couldn’t make my husband happy. I worried about everything. I obsessed over everything till there wasn’t any strength left in my body and I eventually broke down. I was home alone with the kids that day. I cried out begging God to make it better or just make it go away, as I held my kids as close to me as I could. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what and that meant to me that I was what was wrong. I felt somehow all of it was my fault.
I felt as if my world was collapsing even as it was being built around me. I had two small children and a husband who loved me, not to mention the rest of my family surrounding me. I was not alone yet I felt as if I was. I didn’t understand and thought something was wrong with me. The feelings of guilt and uncertainty of my children and what their futures held were to me a daily reminder that I was inadequate as a mother. I wanted to be a good mother but at that time I didn’t think it was possible. I even thought they would be better off without me.
I never really talked about my feelings or thoughts and even now it feels as if I have ripped the bandage off a wound that never properly healed. Even after 7 years there are thoughts I remember that I still couldn’t talk about. I never thought about hurting my children but I had thoughts that weren’t my own or normal for me to think about myself. I still can’t face them. I never told my husband what I was feeling. I know he knew something was wrong but I tried with everything that was in me to put on a normal face to brave the day. There were days when I didn’t have the strength to do that, there were days when I didn’t have the will power to do much. If it wasn’t for the knowledge that these two little wonderful people who I love more than myself needed me I would have just stayed in the bed and wallowed in my depression. In all truth, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.
Bub was a good sleeper. He slept through the night from birth. It may have been because he was born at 1 am. I don’t know for whatever reason he would go to sleep and sleep all night. I’m thankful for that because I don’t know what would have happened if I had to suffer the fatigue and sleepless night that are commonly associated with a newborn. Sleep was my saving grace.
I didn’t feel I could tell anyone what I was going through because I didn’t know what was happening to me. I thought something was wrong with me and I was going to be put into some kind of crazy house and my children taken from me. Although my family knew something was wrong, it was too bad to hide completely. My husband asked the doctor one time what was going on with me. He called it “baby blues” and it would go away after a couple days. He was wrong. For a little more than six months I lived with these extreme emotional battles within myself. I was tired from fighting my own mind, I was angry and afraid that I couldn’t control my own body, and I was hurt and confused that God would let me feel like that. I was an emotional wreak.
How did I cope?
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I found strength in my God. I had certain bible verses I would constantly repeat in my head at the worst of times. I forced the fear out of my mind by not giving it room to grow. It was hard. It was extremely hard but I knew I had two babies depending on me and I had to do it. I prayed I would be able to take care of them. Slowly I began to become myself again. Recovery took time but I found my way back from the darkness.
What would I have wished happened?
In a perfect world every one would be healthy and not have to worry about the chance of something like PPD to derail your happiness. We don’t live in a perfect world. We all need a support system even if it is just other women online that have been through the situation and understand. We all need someone to talk to and share our feelings with. I didn’t have that freedom and it may be why I suffered so long. I would have wished my family and I could have been more knowledgeable about PPD. That I could have felt more at ease discussing the topic and my thoughts and feelings with them.
What happens after?
|Lou saying everything was ok!|
When I found out I was pregnant again with Lou, I was already 5 months along. I was on birth control and didn’t notice any changes till around the 5th month mark. My first thought was, what if it happens again. I was scared that I would have to deal with it again or maybe even on a more severe level. I luckily did not, to which I am so very thankful. I do know that I had already learned more about PPD and by then I had realized what I had been through. I knew the signs and what to do if it did return. I was ready the second time. I was prepared with knowledge.
Do you need someone to talk to?
Do you know someone who has recently had a baby and is not themselves?
Let’s not be silent. Let’s talk. Let’s heal.
Thank You From Becka!!