I started this blog a few months after my son was born. I was going through a really hard time mentally and needed an avenue to vent, clear my head, and say things I was thinking but people might find inappropriate if verbalized. I wanted to reach out to my peers, other moms who may be struggling with parenthood or simply find someone who could relate to my feelings and fears.
I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression when my son was 6 weeks old. However, I knew something was very wrong with me long before that. From the moment he was delivered something inside of me changed. It was like my soul was ripped out of my body. I felt empty inside. The sadness and the uncontrollable crying was immediate. It was like I had no say in my feelings, no control over my own body.
At first it was chalked up to the intense change in hormones after delivery. But after a few weeks of the "baby blues", my feelings of hopelessness and anxiety were still present. I felt trapped inside my own body. I resented everything about my partner and my life. Luckily, never once did I feel ill will towards my child or want to harm him. I loved him. I would rock him at night and just cry. I felt like a failure because I didn't carry him to term (he was born 5 weeks early due to preeclampsia), I had a horrible delivery, he stayed in the NICU for a week, and I was unable to breastfeed and barely could pump. He was strictly formula fed at 4 weeks old and we never looked back.
I began lying to doctors even before I was discharged. Those "stupid" postpartum surveys are in place for a reason and I just lied through them. I lied in the hospital, at my child's first visit, and during follow up phone calls. Finally at my 6 week check up I decided to come clean. I wasn't coping at all. I was a mess.
- Sadness- CHECK
- Hopelessness- CHECK
- Low self-esteem- CHECK
- A feeling of being overwhelmed-CHECK
- Sleep and eating disturbances-CHECK
- Inability to be comforted-CHECK
- Low or no energy-CHECK
- Becoming easily frustrated-CHECK
- Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby-CHECK
- Decreased sex drive-CHECK
My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant which I unhappily accepted but knew I wasn't managing my feelings on my own. We did follow up appointments in 3 weeks and 3 months. He wasn't quite ready to take me off so he recommended I stay on the medication until my son turned one years old.
The Cymbalta helped. My partner and I started to reconnect. I wasn't sad anymore and I was starting to actually smile and laugh again. I wanted to be touched and held. I wanted to go out into the world once more.
The Cymbalta also hurt me. I was at a stand still with my baby weight, even gaining when I barely ate. I suffered from severe stomach cramps and diarrhea on a daily basis. So, at 7 months postpartum against doctors orders, I weaned myself off the medication.
I can't say that I did great because I didn't. I managed. The symptoms came back and when my son was 11 months old, my partner and I suffered personal set back and I took a nose dive. For the past month and a half I feel worse then I ever have and have decided that postpartum depression and anxiety issues after one year is far too long. It is time for real help.
Many woman feel embarrassed to talk about PPD, that they will have a scarlet letter on their chest, and that their friends, family, and community will look down on them. PPD is real. It is a disorder that cannot be controlled on your own. Whether it be with the help of medication, counseling, or both, there comes a time where you have to climb out of the darkness and be whole again.
I am ready to take that step.
Are you a new mom that is having trouble coping? Please talk to your doctor, spouse, and loved ones. For more information and resources on Postpartum Depression click here.
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