ABC's of Pregnancy, Birth & Early Parenting- Depression (Part 2)
Last week I asked local mothers to share their stories of postpartum depression. I shared some of their stories in Part 1 but because there was such an overwhelming response of mothers who wanted to share their stories, I knew it would be a multi-part blog.
These women are brave & inspirational. Many of them said how much they hope that sharing their story will help new mothers not feel so alone. If you are suffering, please reach out! Talk to your care provider, friends or family.
With my daughter I was always enraged. My husband was not engaged helping me with anything child related, so I just assumed I was overwhelmed and stressed out. There was one night around 6 months my daughter was especially difficult, screaming not sleeping just over all a new mother's nightmare. And I kept envisioning myself throwing her out the window, over and over. My entire world was red, I literally saw red! That's when I knew I needed help. I was put on a low dose of a antidepressant and didn't attempt to wean off it until she was a year old and I seemed to be better. With my son, same situation. My husband not helping much, my daughter all over me, not allowing anyone else to help her at all. So now I have 2 kids fully dependant on me and only me. I just get really really overwhelmed, my heart rate spikes and my breath catches. I get really anxious with unstoppable crying, clinginess, and repetitive requests/ questions. I've chosen to go a non medicated route this time, and for the most part I am successful at settling the anxiety using a positive mantra (mine is "dear momma, you are enough) and I've created a collage of pictures of me and the kids. Today was a difficult day. Neither of the kids are sleeping well, my daughter woke my son up from every nap and she refused to do anything herself. He was screaming, she was crying a constantly calling for me. I broke and cried for about an hour alone with my 2 kids who were also crying. I needed my mom to come calm me down. But for the most part I'm able to control it. -S. mom of 2.
"Dear momma, you are enough" -S.
I never really admitted that I had postpartum till years later, but my husband realized I did. He forced me to go to the doctors but I lied to the doctor and said I was fine. I was crying all the time, couldn't bond with my baby just went through the motions of caring for him. Contemplated suicide and just walking away every day. Ultimately I didn't seek help but wish I had. But I became pregnant again when he was 5 months old and I feel the hormone shift of my pregnancy helped me come out of the blackness. And then for my second baby I didn't suffer postpartum. But I wish I had gotten help instead of suffering the first time. -D. mom of 2
So I'm diagnosed bi polar. (Symptom free for 15 years thanks to a low dose anti depressant). When I was pregnant with my first son I went off my meds because I heard they could be bad for the baby. My doctor, my husband and I kept a close eye on my mental health but it appeared the endorphins I received while pregnant "cured" my BPD. So for 2 years I was medication and BPD free. When I got pregnant with my second I was more stressed at work (very abusive work environment) and didn't have time to enjoy my pregnancy. So when my second child was born via c-section, I had a harder time bonding. That instant connection wasn't there. Then all of a sudden my new baby was diagnosed as colicky. The day I realized I had postpartum depression was in hindsight a humorous one. I was sitting on my bed naked from the waist up and trying (and failing) to feed my colicky baby while my toddler was destroying the house. The baby was crying, I was crying and my husband comes home and sees the two of us crying and he immediately hugs us both and that's when my husband and I realized that how I was feeling wasn't right. I made an appointment to talk to my doctor and we agreed to try a low dose anti depressant to see if that helped level me out. It really did and it helped me mentally take a "step back" I was really lucky that my husband was aware of my concerns and helped me get help. He was so supportive and I'm really lucky that he had my back! It was hard to go back on meds but being able to bond with my child has made it all worth it! -M. mom of 2
It was a dark and really scary time for me. Something I hadn't experienced with my other children before. I mean looking back I had slight PPD after they were all born but nothing like my 4th child. My doctor said it was postpartum psychosis. I would black out while bathing my newborn son. It was like I was happily singing to him one minute and the next I would open my eyes as if I had fallen asleep. I was very lucky nothing happened to him. I would stay awake every night, even though I was exhausted watching him sleep, making sure he's breathing, listening to his breath per second. I ended up taking his temperature daily because I always felt he was "too warm" I would run him over to the hospital. It got to the point they knew my name and my face when I came in. They were nice, they would assure me he was fine and take his temp to calm me down. I had vivid thought of him falling on the floor when someone held him and his head being broken. I wouldn't want anyone to touch him for fear they would hurt him in some way. I would be driving with him in the car seat behind me and if he was sleeping I would pull over every 3 or 4 minutes to make sure he was still breathing I was scared something would happen. I would think it was too hot or too cold in the car so I would constantly keep a check on his temperature. When I brought it up to my doctor she said it was psychosis. Wanted me to be committed but I ran out of the doctors office with the kids. I drove home and packed all my stuff. Psychosis??? How can I have that ?? Once I called my mom and told her what happened and how I was feeling she drove here to help me. She's from out of town. She got here that night and after she was helping me by letting me sleep, convincing me to go back to the doctor and ask for meds, I started counseling as well. Things finally started to get better. It took a lot of time...but now after researching the signs and how to prevent I feel better about catching it sooner this time. -M. mom of 4
Please keep your stories coming, I love reading them and I know other mothers appreciate it too. Postpartum Depression is not "one size fits all" and can look very different from person to person, share your experience and you might make someone else feel less alone.
Check back next week for Part 3.