Message From Anonymous

This post was written anonymously by a mom in response to our #speakthesecret campaign. We thought her words would resonate with many of you: 

“I want to share my personal story of dealing with postpartum depression. The reason I’m doing this now is because in the last 3 months, 2 mothers from my home town have killed themselves from postpartum depression and I strongly feel that the best way to help each other is to talk about this. We rarely talk about it when going through it and almost never talk about it once it’s over.

I found out I was pregnant on Dec. 31. My husband and I didn’t particularly want children so it was obviously unplanned. But we were both 29 and had good jobs so I said I guess we’re doing this. I tried to talk myself into being excited but I couldn’t. My mom about fell down the stairs when I called her and told her, but I just couldn’t get there. I had 3 baby showers and each one left me feeling worse. I would think ‘What am I supposed to do with all this plastic crap? I don’t have room for it.’ And ‘what do you mean I have to wash these new clothes in special detergent? They’re new. Aren’t they by definition clean?’. And then the guilt set in. Why couldn’t I be grateful? I just couldn’t. My whole pregnancy went like this and it was just one “annoyance” after another. I went into labor early and delivered at 37 weeks which was fine with me. I had a C-section because he was showing distress and ended up going to the NICU. All of which was still totally fine with me. “At least I don’t have a huge vaginal tear and at least I can sleep while the nurses in the NICU take care of him”. Who thinks like that?!?! Me. Someone experiencing a perinatal mood disorder that’s who.

I had a brief reprieve for about 2 weeks following delivery and then reality hit. I wasn’t crying all the time or feeling like I wanted to drive us into a lake or anything but I was nowhere near happy either. I couldn’t figure out how to do things like go to Target and Home Depot in the same day. Daily tasks, that I used to not think twice about, completely overwhelmed me. I couldn’t make a plan or a decision to save my life and I had previously been very much a type A/planner/decision maker. Could NOT get my shit together which then upset me even more and led to more irrational thoughts. I would tell myself it was ALWAYS going to be this hard and I would NEVER get back to normal. I became more and more resentful of everything he needed and then felt more and more guilty for feeling resentful. As time went on, my resentment turned to feelings of incompetence. I’d try to talk myself out of feeling resentful just to then be convinced I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to. It was an out of control spiral that lasted over a year. I never sought treatment and I really don’t know why other than I never identified it as postpartum depression. It started during my pregnancy so how could it be that? I am a nurse and didn’t even know depression DURING pregnancy was a thing! It is most certainly a thing. My husband knew it but didn’t call me out. To this day I don’t know why.

Fast forward 3 years to my 2nd pregnancy. This time it was planned and I didn’t have prenatal depression the 2nd time around. But the postpartum depression hit hard. Same debilitating anxiety like symptoms although I will say I was also sad with this one. Constant feelings of failure and sadness. What little of myself was left felt completely gone. When my 2nd son was 2 months old I left him in his crib during a crying fit and called my mom to come over because I had to get out. I was still on maternity leave and my older son was at daycare so I put him in his crib and left my house. Before she got there. Now granted, she lived 2 miles away and I had talked to her and knew she was able to come over. But still, people, I freaking left him before she got there!!!! Not ok. My husband was PISSED. Didn’t trust me after that and was basically like “listen crazy lady, get your ass to the doctor and get some help because I’m not doing this for a year again”. So I did and it got better.

Take home points:

1) Experiencing a perinatal mood disorder (i.e. Postpartum depression) does NOT make you a bad mom.

2) Getting professional help for a perinatal mood disorder does NOT make you weak.

3) The screening process for perinatal mood disorders is half-assed at best. Don’t wait for your doctor to just “pick up” on it.

4) But…. your family and friends may very well pick up on it. If THEY think there’s a problem, there is.

5) You don’t have to suffer, treatment is very successful.

*The number one cause of death during the postpartum period is suicide.*

Let that sink in.

Think about all the testing and monitoring that happens for complications during pregnancy. Now think about how the follow up for the issue with the highest mortality rate during the postpartum period is almost nonexistent.

Although most people aren’t suicidal, please know you don’t have to feel like this and it’s not your fault. Please know you are not alone, or even in the minority, and there is very successful treatment.”

I ask everyone who has experienced a perinatal mood disorder, or a family member who loves someone who experienced it to comment with your story and share the post. We must talk about it because it’s the guilt and shame that keeps women from getting help. In order to save the lives of these Mommas we must destigmatize this and let them know they are not alone.

-ANONYMOUS

 

One Response to Message From Anonymous

  1. I couldn’t agree more that this issue is never discussed and is far more prevalent than many know.
    My husband and I have been together for 12 years. We held off on becoming parents until we felt “ready”.. whatever “ready” means. Until you experience pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum/newborn phase, you have no idea what you think you’re “ready” for.
    I had a slight inkling that I might experience post partum depression or blues, simply because of how emotional I would always get with my menstrual cycle. But again, I didn’t really know what PPB/PPD would look or feel like.
    Coming home from the hospital as two fairly educated adults, we were running around the house like two headless chickens. Why was she crying now? She’s been on my boob for 24 hours straight she can’t be hungry. Why won’t she sleep? Don’t all babies innately sleep? How the hell do you swaddle this baby like they did in the hospital? Etc etc etc. clueless, headless chickens. Mind you we had no help. Our families live 1200 miles away.
    And so we didn’t sleep for weeks, no months. And I about jumped off a bridge with breastfeeding frustrations, my body feeling like it was hit by a truck, sleep deprivation, lack of food or water, wanting a shower or just 5 minutes to myself. Compound all of the above with the most dramatic hormonal crash of life and I simply wanted to disappear. And I cried. I cried allllllll day and all night. I spent a lot of time rolling around on the floor balling my eyes out and begging God to take this pain away.
    Who knew PPD could hurt so badly?
    But I didn’t even know it was PPD- I was in such a haze. All I could think was.. what the hell did I just do to my Happy little married life!? Will I ever be apart of the world again?
    And one day my friend called my husband and explained that I needed help immediately. So off to the doctor I went. I started Zoloft that evening and then spent the rest of that night vomiting as a side effect. Needless to say I didnt take it again.

    It was a long, painful process. But all I can say is that God healed me. I begged and prayed and begged and prayed, “Help me!”, “Teach her to sleep”, “take this anxiety away from me, it’s too much”, etc etc. And in time God healed me.
    There are STILL days that I miss my life before becoming a mom. I miss freedom, and dates with my husband. I miss all my regular hobbies and I miss shopping just because. But holy smokes do I love her.
    And so it is still a process. But, I will support and pray for any and every woman who experiences this debilitating pain. It is SO real. But, we women are warriors. And we can overcome.

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