Before you read my story, I want to say that if you are struggling with postpartum depression, take this quiz now and make sure you get support. Whether it be your doctor, midwife, a mental health professional, family member, or trusted friend. You can even e-mail me. Please get the help and support you need to start feeling better. Don’t believe the lies that postpartum depression tells you.
This is a post that I have struggled writing. I have started and stopped so many times. I don’t usually get into deeply personal topics on this blog. But postpartum depression has been such a taboo topic in our country and I think it’s time to change that. More women are shedding light on this subject and sharing their stories. This is mine.
There was a very dark period in my life recently. Something broke inside me after I gave birth to my fifth child almost a year ago. There were some personal reasons that attributed to it, but I will not disclose what on a public forum. I confided in a few people who I am close to about what was going on at the time. Opening up to my midwives were probably the first helpful step in a slow recovery process.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
The postpartum depression hit immediately following Ellia’s birth. The first personal situation happened just hours after she was born. I remember that day I had retreated to bed and chose to ignore what had happened. As the early postpartum days went by, I realized I had this terrible fear of being alone. I couldn’t function. All I could do was nurse my baby, take some pictures of her and the kids, and sleep. I would sit in my bed rocking her and just cry my eyes out wondering what in the world my problem was. I couldn’t get a grip. All I could do was cry.
Then came moments of panic where I couldn’t bare the thought of my husband going back to work. I cried when I thought of him missing out on this precious time in our lives. I couldn’t explain to him that I felt so isolated and that I felt like no one in the world cared. So when he did go back to work, I would make sure some one was at the house with me, whether it was a friend or family member. I was terrified of being alone. I didn’t realize that my panic at the thought of being alone was a huge sign of postpartum depression.
As the weeks went on, my intrusive thoughts were more unbearable. I was really starting to think that I was worthless. There were times I just wanted to run away. And then the guilt of that made the postpartum depression even worse. Often, I would think to myself, “why am I feeling this way? I love my children. I take care of them. I am a GOOD mother.”
Finally, when my baby was around four or five months old, I attended a birth conference. At that conference, there was a session on postpartum depression and anxiety. I cried during several of the points the speaker made, because I could relate to so many of them. I just couldn’t bring myself out of this black cloud that consumed my life.
Getting Help With Postpartum Depression
At some point, I grew weary of being so depressed. Of not wanting to socialize. It was beginning to tear my marriage apart. So around seven months postpartum, I decided to take back control of my life. I made an appointment with my midwife to discuss that I was still struggling with the depression and anxiety, along with an entire host of health issues.
Going forward, we made a plan to get me healthy again physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She encouraged me to make these decisions for myself, not just for my family. It was in that decision I made that I remembered my value. I have previously overcome domestic abuse and I am a rape survivor. I’ve come too far to give up now.
While I can admit that my moods aren’t perfect, I am doing so much better. Our current life situation has been a bit frustrating, so that continues to affect my recovery. I smile, laugh, and enjoy my family again. I regularly visit with family and friends. The joy that was dampened inside of me has been renewed. I am still taking steps forward and getting better week by week.
This post was originally written in June 2016. As of December 2018, while I’ve continued to struggle with depression and anxiety, I’ve been able to overcome a lot. Follow me on Instagram @newandnaturalmom