Post-Partum Depression/Anxiety – it’s such a touchy subject. But it shouldn’t be! I’ve struggled with Depression since I was 16 years old, those fun teenage years really got me, plus the full on “Daddy Issues” really were a struggle for me. But I never thought I would have it even worse after having a child. I honestly never knew what PPD/PPA was until I was pregnant. I realized I had PPD a few days after I gave birth to my daughter in 2010. It hit me really fast, and it was a whirlwind of emotions and anxiety. The rush of hormones, and my husband only getting to spend 5 days with us with a new baby, was really overwhelming for me.
My trigger was him leaving us, him going to work and not coming home. Not because he wanted to leave, but I was so scared he would get hurt at work, or worse, get in a car accident and die, leaving me alone with a newborn baby. I never cried so much in my life, I couldn’t sleep (not that I could with a newborn anyway), and barely ate. For me it was like all these emotions, that I knew were ridiculous and outrageous, but I had no way to control them; at all! I tried to do breathing exercises, talk to family and friends – but nothing helped. We barely left the house for over a month.
I chose to finally go to my doctor and ask about what options I had, since I was on medication prior to having my daughter, I knew that might be the best option for me. However, I was trying to breastfeed – so what would that do to my supply? I decided to go on Anti-Depressants. Unfortunately with the depression, anxiety and medication – my supply wasn’t great, and I gave up on breastfeeding. Which caused a new list of emotions, but I knew I was doing what I had to for my child, even though I couldn’t continue to breastfeed her.
My Mom and husband were so supportive during this time; I was so thankful to have them understand what I was going through. My friends didn’t really understand, as they didn’t have children yet, and never really had to deal with a life long illness like depression. Either way, they supported me the best they could. I find that most people don’t really understand what PPD/PPA means, unless they have gone through it – that’s where I think things need to change, the stigma of PPD/PPA needs to change. There needs to be more information out there for new Mom’s or even woman wanting to have kids in the future; being prepared for anything if very important. It could happen to someone like me with a history of it, or someone with absolutely no history of depression at all! It hits anybody, and with each child it can be different. With my 2nd child, I had a new OB and they never really asked me about my mental state, I never had to fill out anything on prior PPD/PPA and after he was born, they didn’t really bother to see how I was doing mentally. That needs to be where the change happens. They need to have some sort of automatic assessment of mother’s after they give birth, it could really help people cope with the “baby blues”.
About 5 months after I had my daughter, I was able to go off the medication and I felt great. To this day, I’ve never had to take anything again. In that short 5 months, I was a better Mom because I did something about it; I helped myself, to help my family.