Hello again, everyone. Let’s dive right in and talk about postpartum depression/anxiety. After I had my son back in May 2020, I became the victim of postpartum depression/anxiety. I fell into the trap of believing that I had to do everything on my own. I mean, I am the mama, right? Isn’t that our job? To handle everything on our own? To be superhuman? That was my mentality, and I certainly found out the hard way, that I could not physically or mentally do it all.
Right before I gave birth to my son, my husband and I moved into my parents home. We had been living in a two bedroom apartment, but did not want to sign another lease for a whole year. So, we decided to move in with my parents, save money for a house, and of course, get that extra support with our baby boy. I ultimately ended up needing to have a C-section to bring baby boy into this world. When I heard him cry for the first time, I was flooded with emotions: relief, happiness, excitement, and fear. Fear, because, holy shit! We have an actual human who depends on us for survival! It’s a lot of pressure! We both were so happy and grateful he was here. After two and a half days at the hospital, we were finally able to bring our sweet boy home. He was so small and fragile. My husband and I were so nervous to begin our new lives as parents.
After having my son, I became very emotional. Crying when he cried especially, and just crying because I love him so much! Every time I would look at him, my heart would explode with love and I would burst into tears. My husband found it sort of amusing. After a few weeks though, I was still so emotional. At first we thought maybe it was the “baby blues.” Which, according to the American Pregnancy Association, “approximately 70-80% of all new mothers experience some negative feelings or mood swings after the birth of their child.” So, if you are having negative feelings and mood swings right after having your baby, it is pretty common. Some symptoms include, “weepiness or crying for no apparent reason, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, mood changes, etc.” (American Pregnancy Association). These symptoms usually last for about a week after having you baby. I went through all of these symptoms, but we realized something was wrong when it went on for weeks.
I felt like a monster. I loved my baby boy SO MUCH. We had so much fun bonding during the day. So why did I still feel overcome with sadness and anxiety? I wanted to do everything myself and I did not want to ask for help. I wanted to be the only one to change my baby boy, feed him, put him to sleep, everything! By me doing everything, I was completely exhausted all the time. As a woman who had previous lost a baby through miscarriage in the first trimester, I was so paranoid and anxious after I had my son. I was just thinking the worse would happen. “What if he suffocates in his sleep, what if he puts something in his mouth and chokes, what if, what if, what if…?” I was a ticking time bomb. Then, at night, that is when I did the most crying because of course, as you all know, babies have no sense of time. So, he was awake most hours of the night. I was getting five or less hours of sleep at night. My husband always offered to help, but I just would not let him. How could anyone take better care of him than me? I was the best for the job, only me! At night, my son would never cry, he just wanted to be awake and playing, and I so desperately wanted to sleep. I became irritable 24/7, I was anxious, sad, and just always on edge. Oh, and don’t forget my postpartum body, my God what a mess. I felt huge and ugly. Don’t even get me started on breastfeeding. That was pure hell. I loved it for the bonding experience, but hated it at the same time. My nipples were so sore, cracked and bleeding. I lasted maybe two months, and I called it quits (which I felt so guilty about by the way. But hey, fed is best ladies!).
Fast forward to my six week checkup with my OB/GYN. She asked me how baby and I were doing, and I just burst into tears! I told her how great my baby boy is. But me on the other hand, I was a train wreck. She ultimately diagnosed me with postpartum depression. In case you’re wondering, here are a few symptoms of PPD, “feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed, having thoughts of hurting the baby, having thoughts of hurting yourself, feeling worthless, guilty, or like a bad mother, sleeping too little or too much, etc.” (Office on Women’s Health). Please talk to your doctor if you are feeling these or any other feelings after having your baby. My doctor put me on an antidepressant, and after about a week, I started feeling like my old self again! I was no longer sad and irritable. I could breathe again! Who knew a little pill would be so magical? There is nothing wrong with needing meds to give you that little boost in the right direction.
It has now been a year since my sweet baby boy was born. I am much more confident as a mom now than I was when he was a newborn. I want all mammas who have gone through PPD and PPA to know that you are not alone, and to please seek help for yourself or anyone you know that is showing signs of PPD and PPA. You can overcome this. You can step out of the darkness.