My first clue that I may develop postpartum depression was when my son was born. I looked at him and thought “I feel no connection”. I did not cry happy tears. My husband and I did not find out the sex of the baby prior to his birth, so I anticipated my first question to my husband would be, “what is it – a boy or girl?” I asked no such question. I just sat there, waiting for them to stitch me up, inside and out. My childbirth was traumatic and I was very physically incapacitated. I am a strong person physically (I run, workout, etc. daily and did through my pregnancy) and it was a huge setback to be feeling so physically traumatized.
When we came home from the hospital I was terrified. I went upstairs and sat on the bed, sobbing, telling my husband I could not “do this” (meaning care for our son). My friends assured me these were just baby blues. I have a history of a very serious eating disorder and have been treated for depression before, but none of this was discussed with me prior to my son’s birth. Everyone kept telling me it was the “baby blues” and who was I not to believe them?
After a few weeks I thought things were getting better. Sure, it would take a whole day for me to be able to pull myself out of a dark mood, but I thought I was adjusting. People kept telling me I should be grateful that I had such a beautiful, healthy son. I knew I should be, but something still felt off. I was anxious most of the time and was also having thoughts that I would not mind if my son were not here. I did not physically want to harm him but I did want to run away and never come back. A person I know lost her son at 4 months old and I started thinking that if something happened to my son I would not mind because then I could go back to living my old life. I half started wishing that something would happen so I would not have to be responsible for this human for the rest of my life. It was just too overwhelming and I felt nothing was ever going to be the same.
Things got very bad when I tried to go back to work. I was not sleeping, was crying for hours at a time, would be frozen in the same spot for hours, and eventually asked my husband to take me to the hospital and admit me because I was “going crazy”. Luckily I reached out to the people who helped me through the eating disorder and they got me into a wonderful psychiatrist the next day. I did not have to go to the hospital and was prescribed a couple different medications. It is now 5 weeks later and I feel much better. I am also engaging in talk therapy. The irony of this is that I am a Licensed Master Social Worker and my job is to counsel people. Luckily my husband and I were able to see the signs of distress and get help quickly. This is a very serious, debilitating disease no one talks about. In my recovery I am bound and determined to bring this to light and give it the attention it deserves. Women that experience PPD are not bad mothers. I love my son so much and have always cared for him the best I could and called on others when I knew I was compromised.
It was a great relief to find one website that discussed postpartum depression. Thank you for letting me share my story.