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My Battle with Postpartum Depression

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Imagine waking up to a beautiful newborn. Or maybe you didn’t wake up because you never went to sleep. You see this amazing little human, and you start to worry. Am I feeding him right? What if I’m doing something wrong? What about SIDS, lead poisoning? What if my crib breaks? What if the diapers I bought are too big? Does he have a rash? Is formula making me a failure?    

Being awake was like driving on a foggy bridge. I became frustrated with my husband, my son, and most of all…myself. I felt like I shouldn’t have been a mom. The anxiety got so bad that once he did start sleeping, I stopped. I was in there every 10 minutes making sure he was swaddled right, that he was breathing, and that his room wasn’t too cold. Sometimes I would just go into the nursery and cry. Then came the point where I couldn’t get out of bed. I laid there and cried well I heard him screaming. I was paralyzed by my emotions.

 This is what it is like having postpartum depression.

Getting Help

What is wrong with me?

 I struggled with that question for a while. My husband had no idea how I was feeling inside because I was too ashamed to admit it. He noticed my lack of emotion, energy and love. He noticed that I would be fine one second, and fly off the handle the next. I think he was afraid to say anything too.

  I won’t ever forget the moment I knew it was time to get help. My son was in the NICU for the second time. All of the tears that I had been holding back just came rushing out. I was ashamed that there was indeed something “wrong” with me. I pulled over into the parking lot and dialed my doctor. I cried into the phone with him for 20 minutes. He said it was okay. He reminded me of the beautiful boy he helped deliver. I wasn’t a failure. My body was just trying to go back to the way it functioned before I grew a human.

He put me on Celexa, for postpartum depression. I called my husband the second I hung up with the pharmacy. He was so supportive. I could hear the relief in his voice and he could hear the relief in mine.

 I started my dosage the next day and I actually felt better that day. After Day 3 my fog had been lifted. I was feeling like less of a failure, and more like the person I’ve always been. I was gliding through motherhood the way I imagined I would. Now, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still having an internal battle. I was ashamed that I had to take drugs to get myself back from the prison that was my mind. I didn’t want to tell anyone.

After a few more days I felt 100 percent normal. I was still ashamed that I had to take pills to make me happy. The next morning I stopped taking the Celexa, and started taking Fenugreek to get my supply back so I could still breastfeed. Halfway through that first day I felt the fog creeping back into my mind, my body, and my very breakable spirit.

It wasn’t until a stranger at the grocery store shared her story with me that I no longer felt ashamed. I knew I wasn’t alone and that was empowering. That day I vowed to change the way the world and myself feels about postpartum depression.

What Can You Do

So what do you do if you think you have PPD? First things first is talk to SOMEONE. Express your concerns. Get it all out in the open. The hardest part of getting help is getting over the stigma that comes with mental illness. You are NOT a bad person, mother, wife, friend, or human being. There are treatments that include both medication and non-medication treatment options. You and your doctor can discuss all of the options, and find what’s best for you. Self-medicating is never a good idea.  No one, including you, should feel ashamed for seeking help.

Once you start treatment, be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to see/feel the results. If you still don’t feel right be open and honest with your doctor.

What do you do if someone you love is suffering?

Be there. Be available when that person needs you. Depression of any kind is a scary battle that no one should face alone. Don’t tip toe around this person. Treat them like you normally do. We WANT normal. Also offering to help out is an amazing gesture. Whether you cook them a meal, go out for coffee, or hold the baby so she can shower, help is amazing.

Together we can fight the stigma that comes with mental illness. If you or someone you know is suffering from PPD/PPA please speak up. Seek help. You are never alone. I’m available 24/7 for anyone at sammie@raisingtater.com

Resources

Here are some online resources where you can seek information, guidance and help.

http://www.postpartum.net/

http://www.1800ppdmoms.org/

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/

Sammie is a first-time mom, full of snark and coffee. Her blog includes ways to save, recipes, crafts, and sometime the occasional rant. Visit her blog at www.raisingtater.com.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson November 11, 2015

    So beautiful and raw. Thank you for sharing your story, Sammie. The more we talk about it, the less shame there will be associated with it.

  • comment avatar Roni November 11, 2015

    When my son was born my husband worked 12 hour shifts. I kept trying to breast feed even though my anxiety had been so strong that it made my milk not come in. My son would try to eat every 20-30 minutes. My mother was very concerned and made me go to the pediatrician and have him weighed. He had lost almost a pound since delivery. I went into my mothers office and asked/begged her to call my psychiatrist and have him arrange to have me committed. She persuaded me to at least try medication before I went into a mental hospital. I had the doctor prescribe Paxil and began taking it 10 days post partum. I also gave up breast feeding as my milk supply was nonexistent.

    My baby became a new happy and content little guy and gained weight! It took almost 3 weeks for my meds to start working. During this time I saw a therapist every other day and went to my PPD group once a week. I refused anti anxieties due to addiction problems in my family.

    It was the longest month of my life. I was detached from my baby and everyone. I never wanted to hold him. I could barely figure out how to breath. If I drove over a bridge I thought my car was going to go over the rail, if I walked past knives I thought they would cut me or my children. You name it it happened. By the grace of God I was able to take care of my children. I had a lot of help from friends, and family.

  • comment avatar Karma November 11, 2015

    Isn’t it interesting how we can think that Postpartum Depression is something that happens to other people even while we are surrounded by the signs of depression within ourselves? I struggled with Postpartum Depression with three of my four births and I’m not yet out of the woods with my fourth. My fourth baby, Laurelyn, is only three months which means that I could still be kicked in the gut by depression. Postpartum Depression could kick in any time within the year after the baby’s birth. There’s something to look forward to. I have been looking back over the blog posts I wrote during my depression with my other children and it makes me scared and grateful at the same time. I’m scared it could happen again and I’m grateful for all the happy, wonderful days I’ve been having since Laurelyn was born.

    Having a baby is not a guarantee that you will have PPD, thank goodness but chances are better that you would be affected by it in subsequent births and it usually gets worse. My third baby, David was the one that I struggled with the most. He was a great baby and the birth was normal with no complications but I was hit with a terrible bout of PPD. It took a long time, some counseling and a lot of talking with my husband in order to get myself out of it. I was able to work through it without medications but it made me change my mind about anti-depressants. If you need them, get them. Don’t put guilt onto yourself and don’t let anyone else get away with making you feel guilty for taking them.

  • comment avatar Sammie November 11, 2015

    Thank you for Karma and Roni for sharing your PPD stories. You do feel completely alone but realizing that others are struggling just like you is comforting. The more we talk about it, the sooner we can end the stigma!

  • comment avatar Mel November 19, 2015

    That pic above about made me cry. I was there. 🙁 I wonder why more women don’t talk about this?

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