A mom who survived postpartum depression has shared her story with us to empower women to seek help for postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can be a life-altering, crippling and devastating condition, speaking up and seeking help is the best way to overcome.
“Tears aggressively ran down my face. I was shoving my clothes in a tote. “I’m leaving you.” I blurted out. “Omg I actually said it? I’m actually packing my things? And over something so silly! How can I just give up my best friend because of a small argument that had over escalated?” I thought myself. The first rational thought I’d had in hours. Maybe even days. Now I started packing slower. I didn’t want to leave, but I felt like I had to. I knew my actions of dragging things out like this were wrong, but I just couldn’t stop it. I was angry, and so hurt. Over nothing. Crazy right? I picked up my phone and called my mother. At 2:30 in the morning I began explaining to her that I was leaving my husband, and I’d be coming to stay with her for the night. My mom was so shocked. “Did he cheat on you? ” “No mom.” “Did he hit you?” “Mom he would never.” ” So why do you feel the need to drag your babies out at this time of night on the highway? Is it that serious?” I then realized it wasn’t serious at all. I had made this whole big marriage ending argument out of nothing. “What is wrong with me?” I started crying even harder.
Several years before I was watching The Tyra Show, and Tyra was featuring mothers who were having a hard time transitioning into their new lives with their new babies. Becoming a Mother wasn’t what they had expected it to be. It was draining, tough, but most of all, it was depressing. One of the women spoke about how she imagined her baby falling, and hearing his head crack. I thought “who could ever do that or be that way?” Fast forward time, and there it was. I was dealing with similar thoughts, and emotions. Every time my baby cried, I wanted to cry along with him. I would have recurring thoughts about placing my baby in the trash can. Dreadful I know. I knew this wasn’t my intention, nor did I want it to be, but sadly the thought kept running through my mind. Not angrily or to hurt him, but uncontrollably on my part. “If I don’t want to do this, why do I keep getting this thought forced in my head of doing so?” I kept feeling as though I was a terrible mother for thinking this way. Suicide was my most common thought.
First it crept in quietly. It would just flow through my mind like the wind. Eventually it was a thunderstorm constantly hitting me, wanting to be the solution to all of my problems. I would close my eyes, and say a prayer. That’s not how I was.
Things didn’t start off like this for the me. Giving birth to my second son was such a blessing to me. I was so grateful for him, and anticipated his arrival like every mother does when she’s pregnant. For three weeks my baby and I were bonding beautifully. It was different compared to the events I had experienced with my first child. It was a sudden change not only with my baby, but with everything. I found myself not wanting to leave the house, I dreaded looking in the mirror, and I would pass my baby off any chance I could get. I just didn’t like taking care of him anymore or myself. I knew I felt different in general since I had my first son, like I was no longer free or attractive. But after my second son it was different, way different. This was worse. It was darker. I was ecstatic to be a wife and mother. Yes it was hard for me to connect with my first son, but once I got through what I thought was a “sad phase” we were inseparable and our bond was outrageous. Although every now and then my sad phases would return, and I just didn’t want to be bothered with not just him but anyone during those times. I didn’t want to be bothered with life. I just wasn’t my free spirited and ambitious self anymore. I thought this is what motherhood does to you. But I was wrong, this was something else.
The more time went on the less logical I became. In my mind my husband was my worst enemy. To him I was blowing everything out of proportion, which caused me to see him as being extremely insensitive. We would argue before breakfast ignore each other all day, and have a big blowout right before it was time for bed. Which led to me crying all night. Literally, all night alongside my newborn. That was my greatest friend and biggest supporter. I didn’t want to fight with him. We’d barely fight at all, and now it was nonstop. This went on for days in that exact routine.
There was too much pressure. It started off with crying spells at night when my husband and children were sound asleep. Then it grew to crying every time something was out of my control, until finally I cried for 12 hours straight, 3 nights in a row. I thought I hated my husband. I thought he hated me too. I felt like I had no other choice but to leave him.
That morning my mother knocked on my door at 7am. My husband had already left for work. “What’s going on with you?!” I held back my tears. “Look at me, tell me why you’re leaving?” Her voice soften. Not one reason could come to my head as to why I was about to break up my happy home. My mother’s facial expression changed. She walked in closer. “Are you depressed?” I could no longer hold back my tears. “I think so.” I was so embarrassed. My mom immediately called my doctor.
We arrived at my OBGYN’s office in less than an hour. After evaluation my doctor diagnosed me with Postpartum Depression.
“Why would you ever want to kill yourself? You have two beautiful children, a supportive husband…”
He continued on in a supportive speech, but I could tell he didn’t understand. He’d never been through it. My mom was in tears from the thought of me wanting to commit suicide, and I cried from seeing her cry. I had been feeling helpless, hopeless, and truly worthless the days and year before, but when I was in the doctors’ office I began to see light at the end of the tunnel, I was finally getting help instead of internally dealing with this since the birth of my first child. My doctor prescribed Zoloft for myself, and suggested I see a therapist.
Since I’ve gotten help I still have my days. However I’m getting back to my normal self. Prayer along with working out helps renew my mind, body, and soul. I’m able to go out and enjoy more “me” time. The bond between my boys and I is indescribable. My marriage is stronger than ever and I’m more than grateful for my support system.
Postpartum depression is something rarely spoken about, but much more common than we think.
I was so hesitant to share my story, because of the thought of people thinking I was crazy or a bad mother and wife. But I realized I’m not any of that. Postpartum Depression doesn’t define a woman, but women need to define and talk about postpartum depression. We could save lives. They are stronger than one may assume. You can get through all things through Christ who strengthens you.
If you feel like you have Postpartum Depression I suggest you to talk to a trusted family member or friend, and call your doctor immediately for help.
If you notice symptoms in a loved one sit with them, and talk to them about your observations as lovingly as you know how. The two of you should seek help for your loved one together as soon as possible. Trying to get through Postpartum Depression alone, or being too ashamed to say anything has caused mothers to lose their lives, and unfortunately innocent children as well. With the proper help and awareness any mother suffering from this illness will be okay.”