Postpartum depression doesn’t care who you are.
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You just had a new baby, everything should be perfect, right? You look down at your beautiful baby and think, “Why do I feel like this? I shouldn’t feel like this?” You are not alone and I stand beside you. I tried to push through it, it worked for a while until it eventually swallowed me whole.
“Women who have a history of anxiety and depression are 20 times more likely to get postpartum depression.”
I have depression and always have. I battled it my whole life. I even took medication at some point, but stopped when I knew we wanted to have a baby. Besides I felt I was doing better, so off I went. I figured I would be just fine and I would know what signs to look out for. Plus I am a nurse! I will know when I need help. WRONG.
I felt great the first weeks and I felt I had it under control. This wasn’t going to beat me and I wasn’t going to let depression sneak its way back in. Again I was so wrong.
Life after baby
The first few weeks were great. After the exhaustion set in everything started to crumble. I lost control over it all. I started down a slippery slope.
I became moody. I’d get angry over every little thing. I’d cry and breakdown for no reason at all. Breastfeeding was killing me and I almost thought about stopping, but I powered through it as I traded in more of my mental health. Little by little I exhausted my tank until I was hitting negative.
When I felt like I needed to do something, I started to force myself out of the house. That is when I found the breastfeeding support group every Tuesday. I started to go every Tuesday, but that, too eventually lost its positive affect. If I missed a week I would feel like I failed somehow. I eventually stopped going.
I then started to find myself at the stores and my impulsive shopping started to kick in. A flashing red light that something was wrong, that I paid no mind to at all.
My husband and I started to fight more than our usual bickering that comes with the territory. But I just remember being so resentful and angry he was able to leave for work and I was stuck at home. I didn’t understand why I felt this way. I wanted to stay home for maternity leave. So why get mad?
I started to hate myself. I hated who I was becoming and I could not do anything about it.
“The first few months of her life are a blur.”
I don’t remember much. I just remember her eating, fussing, eating more, fussing, and sleeping here and there. I can see myself on the couch mindlessly watching TV as I fed her. I felt like a shell. A hollow worthless shell.
I even thought about running away. They didn’t need me! I was just a burden and a terrible mother. She would be better off without me. Of course this was insane and I knew it deep down, but man at that moment those thoughts were real and had a weight to them and crushed the life right out of me.
I tried to hide it and tried to swallow it up as it bubbled to the surface, but I wasn’t fooling anyone. My husband saw it first and tried to help, but I wasn’t receptive and I wasn’t going to let this beat me. So onwards I went fighting my own demons the way I wanted.
How did I know?
I always knew, I just wasn’t ready to accept it yet. I do remember the day I finally blurted it, without any promoting.
I remember staring at the computer reading about postpartum depression after my LO was fast asleep in her crib. Every single symptom and sign lined up with me. A light bulb finally went off in my head. Why did it just take a simple article?!
I could feel the bags under my eyes. I could feel the burning they caused from sheer exhaustion. I remember looking at my husband and randomly blurting, “I have postpartum depression don’t I?” He looked up at me and nodded, “Yes.” Man did I cry. Why did I torture myself so much? I not only robbed myself of some joyous moments, but I robbed my daughter of a mother. Of course my husband disagreed. Even though I struggled internally, he felt I was always loving and caring to my daughter. That was my goal to show her all the love in the world and I stressed over everything.
I let this go on for a year!
A whole year. I am not even joking. I don’t even know where the time went. I suffered for a whole year before I finally realized I was being stupidly stubborn. I knew I had it all along, I just didn’t want to validate it. My poor husband and LO dealt with this for a year. My husband got the brunt of it and he tried to help. I could see it in his eyes when he looked at me. I knew he wanted to help, but I wasn’t ready.
Looking back on my life then and now, I have come so far. I am in a much better place and enjoy life more now. I know I still have a ways to go, but it is looking up! As corny as this sounds, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
You may be thinking why me!?
You never think it can happen to you. You think, “I got this I will just be positive!” Mistake on my half.
No one is immune, no one. You need to let people help you, easier said than done I know. But when a loved one speaks up and says something believe them. Please believe them. Don’t bottle it up, it makes matters worse. Talk and speak up. Your feelings and depression are valid.
After we have a baby our body’s hormones are all over the place. We have no control. It just happens and by the time we mentally catch up it has us tangled in a mess. It may feel like you may never wiggle free, but you will. I did and I feel I am so much happier now that I listened and opened up. That and medication does help put things back into place. Don’t let yourself struggle for an entire year before you realized the whole time you had postpartum depression.
My tips? Don’t suffer alone, speak up, and remember it is NOTHING to be ashamed of and if anyone makes you feel that way, they are toxic and don’t belong in your life.
If you or a loved one is suffering, please reach out for help. Below you can find a link to a helpline. Text or talk!