Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month – Kathryn

My story might be a bit different. Like a handful of mothers I did not seek counseling or get treated. I battled this in silence, not knowing what was going on. Throughout my pregnancy I was like every other mom. I loved my unborn baby and did everything to give her the best start. I ate great, stayed away from everything pregnant people are “supposed” to, and tried my best for her. My husband deployed when I was 6 months pregnant and wouldn’t be home until she was 6 months old. I knew there was a chance they’d send him home but a slim one. I had a very rough birth that ended in emergency c section. As soon as she was here and my husband was still in Afghanistan I knew I was alone. You could almost say that the deployment “triggered” my PPD/PPA. I’m not sure if that’s true but I know it didn’t help. 

Every day that I was at home I felt like I was in a haze. I cried non stop everyday for hours. I felt like something just wasn’t right, I couldn’t put my finger on it but something wasn’t okay. There were weeks going by and I just was going through the motions. I didn’t leave my hours for weeks. Every time Abigail cried I felt like I wasn’t good enough…. Like I couldn’t make her stop. I felt like I was overwhelmed every minute of the day. Thoughts about dropping her off at police stations to be “free” of her, thoughts of how’d she hurt herself, how I’d accidentally hurt her, or just unthinkable things consumed me. I actually didn’t go to my 6 week Post check because I was so scared they’d take her from me because of how I was feeling. I was doing this all alone having all of these horrible thoughts and I couldn’t get my head around anything. I felt very alone in everything. I didn’t feel a connection with her like I thought I should. I cared for her and made sure all of her needs were met, but I just didn’t feel like she was mine. I felt like maybe once my husband came home it would be different. Maybe that was the missing piece….. I was wrong. 

It took me about a year to finally start feeling like she is mine. I never sot treatment, I never told anyone how I felt, I kept it bottled up inside me until I had my son. I knew it was different. I felt an instant connection. I felt love right away. I don’t know if it’s cause he is an “easier” baby but I knew that it was different. I still feel lucky that I came out with no meds, therapy or help. I wish that in the military they “taught” us better about PPD. Maybe then I would’ve got help and not felt like I was broken or something was wrong with me. I hope for other moms that are experiencing PPD/PPA that they know nothing is wrong with them and sometimes we need a little bit of help. I wish I would’ve reached out and got some. Don’t be ashamed… Don’t go through it alone. Oh yeah…… And to this day the only people who know that I EVER felt this was my husband. I have never told anyone in my family for fear of judgment. Everyone in my family has had babies and no one told me about PPD. Never asked how I was doing…. Nothing. Maybe if this wasn’t such a taboo topic we could help others and not be in hiding about it anymore.

Postpartum Depression
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