Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: Getting Help
The topic of postpartum depression and anxiety has gotten quite a bit more attention recently than it ever has before. It is something that should be talked about and acknowledged because it is very real, and women need to know that bringing it up is not taboo or embarrassing! This is my story and experience with it. I share solely to hopefully provide the support or push that another mother might need to find her way through! *This is the second post in this series. Go here for the first!*
When I found out that I was pregnant with baby number two, I knew I needed a plan. Step one was to accept what had gone on the first time around. Talking to my husband, family, and close friends helped me think through the dark confusion that I chose to silently suffer through almost three years before.
With my husband, we decided on a few key things that we believed would help. First, if nursing was as hard as the first time I would just quit and we would use formula. That had proven to be a very sore part of my memories, so we believed it would be a trigger. Second, I would talk to my doctors about the problems I had the first time and discuss my options for help this time BEFORE I delivered the baby. Third, I decided that if medication could help me then I would swallow my pride and take it!
About four weeks before I delivered, the anxiety started to creep in. I started to have days where I couldn't get through the day without being constantly worried sick that my husband was going to be killed at work, and a number of other things that you wouldn't obsess over every second of the day if you were thinking straight. It took me right back to postpartum with my first; that deep crazy feeling started to ignite inside of me. I tried to ignore it for a few days, thinking that I was just making it up in my head but then I realized that was exactly what I had done the first time around and I had promised myself and my husband that I wouldn't do it again!
At my next OB appointment, I brought it up and expressed my concerns to my doctor. I truly expected to have to explain myself extensively and answer a bunch of questions to be taken seriously, but that was not the case! My doctor told me that everything I had felt was very real and my concerns would be taken seriously. We discussed my options and I decided I wanted to leave the hospital after delivery with a filled prescription. I wasn't going to start taking it immediately, but having it in the house if things did go dark again would help me accept it rather than ignore it.
I was SO glad that my doctor responded in such a supportive and helpful way. It pushed me to accept even more than before that I should have acknowledged what was happening to me, and that I wasn't just making up how I had felt.
Does any of that sound familiar to you? Have you (or the person you are thinking of) acknowledged the gravity of the situation? I truly think that I didn't acknowledge what was going on partially because I wasn't educated enough about PPD and PPA, and it wasn't talked about a whole lot three years ago. It is amazing to me how much more awareness is out there now than just three short years ago, such needed awareness! Mamas need help and mamas need to feel safe and unashamed when they seek help! Keep your eye out for the third post in this series coming soon!
Written by: Alyssa Liston