Living with postpartum depression
Posted on May 21, 2019 by admin
This post is personal but I believe so important to share.
I gave birth to my 5th child, a baby girl, August 10, 2017. She was born by scheduled C- section That morning. Soon after Norah was born I realized she was not like my other newborns. Norah was fussy and not easily soothed. There was no eat, sleep, poop happening. It was more of eat, cry, poop and repeat. We were discharged 2 days later and when I got home the reality of 5 kids hit me. We not only had a very fussy newborn but a toddler, pre teen and two teenagers to care for. I felt overwhelmed. The first couple of weeks were sleep deprived chaos. Norah was unhappy and so was I.
In the next couple of months I tried to establish a routine for all of us but there was always something going on with Norah that put a dent in that plan. We struggled with allergies from the start, she went through 5 formulas before we settled on one that seemed to agree with her. She had severe eczema to the point she was scratching herself raw. Going back and forth to the pediatrician became our new normal. I kept telling the dr, “there’s something wrong with her”. There had to be something wrong with her I would think to myself. Something more than these allergies and eczema.
I started to dread the mornings and look forward to bed time. My days rolled into one another and they felt like torture. Long, draining and definitely not enjoyable. I did not feel “in love” with Norah, she felt like a chore and I was forced to care for her. I had never not enjoyed being a mom. These thoughts and feelings felt wrong. I would push them aside and force a smile when someone would stop me in the store to say how beautiful she was or how lucky I was. Inside I didn’t feel lucky at all.
I noticed when she was a few months old that my thoughts were getting worse. I absolutely hated being a mom. The things I used to care for were no longer priorities. I stopped taking care of my house and would lie in bed until my husband got home. My body physically hurt from the stress I was under.
The night of Sunday June 17, 2018 I was on Facebook when I came across a post from Juggling the Jenkins about her struggles with postpartum depression. All of a sudden everything clicked. As I read the post one part in particular stood out to me, she decided one morning that she was not going to get her two young children out of their cribs, she was going to let them cry, scream and soil themselves. She was done being a mother. At this point she states that she reached out to her doctor and was told to go in immediately. I related to what I was reading at this point, it was like Someone had put into words exactly what was in my mind. I immediately got in the shower and cried and cried and cried. I felt this weight off my shoulders. I felt ready to tell someone. I gained this courage just from reading this post. It seems so silly but I wrote to Tiffany Jenkins thanking her because I felt like she saved me.
The next morning I made an appointment for Norah at her pediatrician. The appointment was for a rash she had but I knew I was going to mention my feeling to the doctor while I was there. I have been taking my kids to this pediatrician for over 10 years so I felt comfortable and knew I wouldn’t be judged. The minute we were seen at the office I broke down, confessed everything I had been feeing for the past 10 months. It felt amazing to get this off my chest. She decided to start me on medication. I left the office,filled the rx, went home. I prayed it would work, That it would make me feel like my old self.
The first few weeks on the medication I felt cloudy, numb and tired. I wrote down every symptom hoping to document the change back to my old self. And it happened, about 6 weeks later I could tell the difference. One day I looked at Norah and felt this intense love for her. Something I had not felt since she was born. She was beautiful and amazing and I was lucky to have her. Norah started to change as well. She seemed to outgrow her eczema, her allergies were disappearing and she was happier. I enjoyed being her mom, finally!
Looking back I feel robbed of those first 10 months. Norah is my last baby and I did not enjoy her being a new baby. It’s a sad thought but we’ve shared many happy moments since getting help. Norah is a kind, gentle and super loving little girl. I now look forward to waking up with her and dread bedtime(sometimes￼). I really could not imagine my life without her. At one point I wondered why Norah was given to me but it all makes sense now.
If you are struggling with Postpartum Depression don’t be afraid to ask for help. According to the CDC 1 in 9 women suffer from postpartum depression and possibly even more since this is only what is reported. The number to the suicide prevention hotline is 1 800 273 8255. There is a whole community of people ready to help when you are ready to share your story.