Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: My Story
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!
I had my first baby in 2015. When we were discharged from the hospital, our nurse went over all of the information from our discharge/postpartum packet. I vividly remember that she barely touched on the subject of baby blues and postpartum depression/anxiety, but then it didn't concern me because I wasn't worried one bit about getting it because I was so, so happy to have my baby! There was, of course, exhaustion and a general feeling of being overwhelmed, but I didn't think it would ever go further than that.
The second day at home, I lost it. I cried all day long, literally. My husband and mom were both home with me, but even with them there helping me, I still cried. I hadn't been sleeping much, and nursing my baby was not going well. The feelings I had for my perfect baby had gone from happiness to fear and frustration; I began to be angry at myself because I was supposed to be obsessed with this perfect little thing, but I kept wishing that she would sleep more so I didn't have to try to make her happy. There were even days that I felt mad at my sweet baby as if she was out to get me.
Fast forward a few months...nothing had changed. My sweet husband kept asking me what he could do to help me cry less. I looked up the symptoms of PPD weekly, but convinced myself that I didn't have it and that the only reason I was struggling was that nursing was hard. I just continued to fight it out and eventually those feelings faded away...probably about the time my baby was five or six months old. I had some really, really dark days in those five to six months. Why oh why did I not accept the fact that something was not right?
This past November I found out I was pregnant, we had been trying, so it wasn't a big surprise. What did surprise me was the flood of feelings that I started to remember. Suddenly the dark and lonely feeling that I had before became glaringly apparent. Something had been wrong--I could not and would not deny it anymore. I started to talk about it with my husband and vocalizing the concerns that I had because of the feelings that I remembered having the first time around. He was surprised at how much I struggled and felt bad that he hadn't seen it the first time.
He really had nothing to apologize about though. He did notice something was wrong, but I kept assuring him it wasn't as bad as it seemed. I wasn't acknowledging or accepting the feelings I was having, so how would he know that I needed more help than I was leading everyone to believe?
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! Go here for the next post to continue this topic and series!
Written by: Alyssa Liston