Postpartum depression is something a lot of moms go through, but few actually want to talk about it openly. I suffered from it personally with two of my pregnancies. My family is very much inclined to depression anyway, so I wasn’t surprised when I got depressed after my first child was born.
What did surprise me was the why… why was I so sad and down when I had so much to be thankful for? I felt so alone and isolated. I clung to the hope that maybe it was just a temporary phase and that it would go away on its own, but I was wrong. My anxiety spiked through the roof, and I started having panic attacks. I found myself crying for no reason daily. I was running on fumes, exhausted, sleep deprived, and isolated.
My ex-husband didn’t know how to handle it and just acted like everything was normal. I’m not sure he even really understood how bad I was feeling. I went to my OB and she prescribed an antidepressant. The medicine helped, but my ex-husband told me he didn’t like how the medicine affected my personality. He was being completely selfish considering his circumstance (that’s a story for another day), but I didn’t want him to be upset, so I stopped taking the medicine. I powered through it at that point and eventually was fine.
My second pregnancy, however, was a different story.
I was depressed throughout the end of the last trimester, and I knew that after was going to be no different. The moment I held my second daughter in my arms, I knew it was already beginning. My marriage had been falling apart, and at that moment, I knew in the back of my mind that it was over. I had just brought another baby into the world and I was supposed to be over the moon and so in love, but the depression was crushing me.
I was put on antidepressants again, and it kept me going, but again my ex-husband raised an issue with it. I tried to stop taking them, but I spiraled out of control fast. I was angry all the time, screaming at my older daughter any time she was in the same room as me. I cried myself to sleep so many nights. I felt so bad for the way I treated my oldest, but I couldn’t control it. I started self-medicating with anxiety medicines.
My Breaking Point
One morning, I had had enough. I had been up all night with the baby, and I was exhausted. I tried to ask my ex to help because I was having anxiety attacks, but he ignored it. I got in the car while everyone was asleep and left. I drove to an empty parking lot and parked. I cried, I screamed, and finally called my mom. I told her that I wanted to die and couldn’t keep on anymore. She had me call my doctor and make an appointment that day. I went back on the antidepressants, and I can honestly say they saved my life. My marriage was already pretty much over, but I had to help myself so that I could take care of my kids.
I eventually got divorced and met my amazing husband, who is so supportive, and even if he doesn’t understand what I’m feeling, he will never leave me on my own to deal with it. When I got pregnant with our daughter, I told him how worried I was about the depression coming back, but he was there for me. I was in a much better place emotionally and didn’t have any issues after the baby was born. For me, my PPD was situational. My first two pregnancies were very stressful, and I didn’t have the support I needed (aside from my wonderful mother). This last time was such a huge difference that I was able to adjust to the changes in our family and enjoy it at the same time.
You’re Not Alone
I just wanted to share my story, because I know there are other moms out there going through the same thing. Please take care of yourself and know the signs. It is so important to be at your best mentally, because your babies need you and there are people who love you. Make sure you have a good support system in place so that if you do need help, you know that you have a safe place to address your struggles.
If you are a new dad, make sure to be there for your partner if she needs it. Having a support system made all the difference for me. I don’t know what I would have done this last pregnancy without my husband’s help.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. There are plenty of moms who have experienced PPD. You don’t have to go through it alone.
Have you experienced postpartum depression? What was it like? And what helped you? Let me know in the comments. And please consider sharing this post to help support other moms who are struggling with PPD right now.