When I found out I was pregnant I was super excited. It was something I had been waiting for, for what seemed like forever. I found out at about 6 weeks, which meant I had another 6 weeks until I was “safe”, into my second trimester. I was so anxious during that time. I worried about miscarrying often. I was 35 so the pregnancy was considered high risk. Everything turned out just fine, I wish I had worried less during that time.
My entire pregnancy was fine, I had total placenta previa, however it did resole itself at the very last minute. I never experienced morning sickness, swelling, cramps of any kind. I will truly say it was an easy pregnancy. I had a scheduled C-section because of the placenta previa, which I wanted to keep even though it did resole itself. I always saw myself having a C-section rather than vaginal birth. The idea of a vaginal birth scared the shit out of me! So my point to all of this bragging about how easy my pregnancy was is to let you know nothing happened during my pregnancy to be a precursor to postpartum.
Finally our little guy was born in July 2013. He was born at 37 weeks, just a little early but not much. He was a peanut weighing in at 6lbs 1oz. He was perfectly healthy, no need for an extra medical attention due to being delivered 3 weeks early. He was perfect!
Very soon after we brought him home I felt something wasn’t right with me. Baby blues? Seemed more than just the blues to me, but I gave it time. Days turned into weeks, I was feeling worse and worse. I felt exhausted, extreme sadness, anger, stuck, and imprisoned. My husband knew something was wrong but didn’t know how to help. It got worse, I was crying all of the time, I felt guilty that this baby was driving me crazy. I felt like an awful mother, and would think, why did I do this. Then feel even more guilt. I didn’t eat, like ever. I lost about 40lbs in 6 weeks after delivery (I only gained 25 +/- during my pregnancy). I could not sleep, I would toss and turn all night long. It would take hours for me to fall asleep, then any little peep from the baby and I was awake again. I didn’t cook for anyone in the house. I think I only cleaned bottles, everything else I could care less about. I felt in my head I just needed quiet. I would hear the baby crying constantly, he did cry for about 9+ hours a day because of colic, but I would “hear” him, but he really wouldn’t be crying. I was unmotivated to leave the house. Sometimes I would get the baby all packed and just go to the mall to walk around. Not to walk and get exercise but more so I wasn’t going to deal with this baby alone. Like a stranger at the mall would help me when he started his usual screaming… I know it doesn’t make sense, but it did to me at the time. I was irrational, and could not concentrate on anything. I never thought about hurting my baby, but it definitely made me understand how people have lost control, and why shaken baby syndrome is a real thing. The final straw for me was when I held my little guy up as far away from my body as I could get him and told my husband I didn’t want to be his mommy anymore. I was heartbroken, my husband was pissed and disgusted. Again the guilt!!!
After many attempts of reaching out and not being understood how bad this was, I finally got an appointment with a postpartum clinic in a local hospital. I was accepted into their “day program”, everyday intense therapy for however many days you need it. 9am-4pm and you can bring the baby with you. I said I couldn’t imagine being able to do this. I wanted help, but I also felt very crippled at this point. My mind was not rational, my body was sleep deprived and was getting no nourishment. I was a hot, bitchy mess! They did offer another program, which I accepted. I had counselling and I was prescribed Zoloft! Hallelujah!! Just knowing I was taking the steps to get back to me, the “normal” me, made me feel better. It took over 16 weeks for me to start feeling back to myself, but I did get there. My relationships with everyone got better. I loved my little guy, and finally felt no guilt. More people experience postpartum than you may think. One in 5 women experience postpartum. You can experience it even if you have never had depression before in your life (like me), you can experience it with the easiest pregnancy and with great support throughout your pregnancy. It could be baby #5 and you have postpartum for the first time. You just never know. I really hope more women will come out and express their issues. It can really help others going through it. There is nothing to be ashamed about. We all love our babies from the moment we know about them, but we may not feel it. Postpartum is chemical and hormonal imbalance that happens after giving birth to some of us. It will get better if you get help and support. It doesn’t just go away, even if you had a good day, there will be many more bad days. If you know someone who is going through it, don’t judge them, it is out of their control instead help them. If you are experiencing it, go seek help, there is a ton of it out there now, and it WILL help! I hope this touches at least one person and makes them feel not alone, and that there is help! I will continue to share my story because it can happen to anyone at anytime!