Talking About Postpartum Depression

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After battling unexplained infertility for years, we finally had our first baby. It was a very easy pregnancy and our son Ethan was born in the summer of 2007.

I never thought that I would not love being a mom. Or that I would not know how to be a mom; that it was going to be harder than I thought. After doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted for so long, it was hard to just give up my life to take care of such a demanding little person.

Ethan didn’t care if I was tired or if I needed to eat. He didn’t care if I wanted an hour to myself to read or wanted to watch something on TV. He cried a lot. He slept poorly. I was breastfeeding, and so we were always together. My organized life fell apart. This mommy thing was not what I thought it would be, even though I knew that it really was. Ethan was doing what babies do….he was being a baby.

And in the middle of the night, I started thinking that maybe I really didn’t want to be a mom. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for it. I wasn’t feeling this connection with my baby that everybody always talked about. I was scared that I didn’t feel like I thought a mom should. But I didn’t tell anybody else. I put on a smile and tried to pretend that this was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I remember one afternoon my husband Jason went to watch his nephew’s baseball game. I was sitting on the couch holding Ethan, who must have been about two months old, and I was trying to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to him. But I couldn’t; I just kept crying and crying.

It was then that I finally realized that something wrong. That feeling so sad and dejected about being a mom wasn’t the way I should be feeling. That I needed to tell Jason how I was feeling. I knew it was wrong to feel the way I was feeling, but I had been too embarrassed to admit those horrible feelings to him. I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t love our son.

Jason came home that day and found me crying. I finally told him how sad I was. How I didn’t even like being a mom. How I didn’t want to do anything but sit on the couch. I didn’t want visitors. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to eat. That I just wanted to sleep. A lot. He asked me to call my doctor because he remembered from our classes we took before I had the baby that it was common for some women to experience post partum depression.

When I finally got to see my doctor a few days later, I cried the entire time I explained my feelings to him. He smiled, and patted me on the knee…and told me what I was experiencing was NORMAL. That a lot of women feel the same way. That he could help me. And he did.

I had post partum depression, and medicine fixed it. Luckily, a small dose was all I needed, and a month later I was like a new woman. I couldn’t turn these feelings off on my own, and I was glad to have reached out and gotten help for it.

When all of those horrible, sad and angry feelings went away, I talked to my friends and family about it and was surprised by how many of them experienced it, too. I had nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. What I couldn’t understand was why nobody talked about before I mentioned it. Nobody said “Hey you know, just in case you start feeling this way…” Why was everybody so hush-hush about it?

So I want to tell you here and now, if you are having feelings I described, or any of these symptoms of post partum depression, please talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you feel “normal” again. Because remember, what you are feeling is normal for some new moms.

Did you ever experience the baby blues or post partum depression?

 

17 comments responses to "Talking About Postpartum Depression"

  • Postpartum psychosis is a separate mental health disorder which is sometimes erroneously referred to as postpartum depression. It is less common than PPD, and it involves the onset of psychotic symptoms that may include thought disturbances, delusions, hallucinations and/or disorganized speech or behavior. The prevalence of postpartum psychosis in the general population is 1—2 per 1,000 childbirths,’:`”

    Bye for now <http://healthmedicine101.com/

    posted by: Reuben Louissant on July 1, 2013

  • Before my daughter’s birth, I was as prepared as any first-time parent could possibly be. I had planned to take a significant amount of time away from my full-time job from my employer (who graciously continued my pay during my leave), I had a very supportive husband, I had a very supportive extended family, and I had a safe home in which to raise her with every modern baby-rearing device available. We were so excited about the pregnancy and her arrival.

    Postpartum depression snuck up on me. In the first few weeks after the birth of my child, I thought (and my doctor assured me) that I was just experiencing “baby blues.” But, as we would all later discover, it was severe postpartum depression and anxiety.

    My family was unbelievable in their support. My husband cared for our infant daughter by himself (while still running his own business) while I needed to be hospitalized. My mother took several months of leave from her job out-of-state to live with us Tuesday-Friday of each week. I had doctors who looked after me.

    But I was still so very sad and very anxious. And I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness…as though I had been forgotten by God and everyone else…even though I knew, logically, that this was obviously not the case.

    It is very painful for me to share this, but it is very common for women who experience severe postpartum depression (which I regretfully didn’t learn until after I was well): I got it stuck in my mind that I didn’t want to be a mother. This deeply saddened me and made me feel trapped.

    It took me two and a half years to feel, with absolute certainty, that I was well. But I absolutely, positively have opened my heart to her. In fact, I love her more than life. And God knew that, my husband knew that…I just was very ill.

    posted by: Kristen on February 12, 2013

  • Reblogged this on Motherhood is not for Sissies and commented:
    Today its BELL LETS TALK DAY – Bringing awareness to mental illenss – I hope this reaches who ever needs it today and enourage all to keep the dialogue open

    posted by: motherhoodisnotforsissies on February 12, 2013

  • From one warrior mom to another thank you – I wish I had the knowledge and support like I do now on PPD. I hated being a mom and I thought I had made a huge mistake. Love, light and blessings to you and your family xoxox

    posted by: motherhoodisnotforsissies on February 12, 2013

  • [...] what is wrong and reach out for help. Recently, blogger Natalie Hoage shared her PPD story on MoonFrye.com, and I thought you’d like to read it. One of Natalie’s risk factors for postpartum [...]

    posted by: Postpartum Depression Stories: Maybe I Really Didn't Want to Be A Mom on February 12, 2013

  • Thank you so much for sharing this – your description of new motherhood is one that will be familiar to many women, and very comforting as well. Your courage will surely help others.

    posted by: Katherine Stone (@postpartumprog) on February 12, 2013

  • [...] at Moonfrye, I’m talking about postpartum depression because somebody has to! It’s still such a taboo topic and I think it’s important to [...]

    posted by: Where I've Been This Week 2012: Week 7 - Mommy of a Monster & Twins on February 11, 2013

  • YES. I had terrifying Postpartum Anxiety – I was so jittery I couldn’t even focus long enough to read a page of a magazine, and I was sleeping only 2 hours a night. It was terrible. Thank God for medicine! Thank you for writing this post.

    posted by: Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) on February 11, 2013

  • Such an important, brave post, Nat. Thank you for writing it.

    posted by: Galit Breen on February 11, 2013

  • Thanks for sharing, Natalie. I only experienced baby blues and a little sadness because nursing the twins was so difficult at first, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was nothing compared to what a lot of women go through. Thanks for sharing your story.

    posted by: Leigh Ann on February 10, 2013

  • Thank you for speaking out! We are finally breaking the silence in the UK too xxx
    http://www.thekrakenwakes.org/your-rage/mad-bad-mothers/

    posted by: Naomi on February 10, 2013

  • This brings tears to my eyes because I can relate. Although PPD was buried under my larger, clinical depression, it’s a beast for a new mom. I’m so glad you had a safe place to go with your husband and amazing doctor.

    posted by: aladyinfrance on February 10, 2013

  • Where I live, I can honestly say, I’ve never met a woman who’s ever admitted to having PPD. Not. One. Everyone’s happy, content, doing awesomely. I was a mess the first month. I cried. I felt inadequate. I was angry. I was not myself. I had no doubt of my love for my son, I was having doubts about myself. I honestly thought I was going mad. I never saw a doctor about it, I never brought it up with anyone, and it was only when I started blogging when my son was 15 months old, that I realized PPD was normal. I have no idea if I had it. I know I was miserable. Somehow, I came out of it on my own. Well, with my son and my husband there for me. I was one of the lucky ones.

    There needs to be more conversation, less taboo. I’m glad you got help, Natalie.

    posted by: Alison on February 10, 2013

  • I hate that women have to go through this. I hate that mental illness is STILL taboo in this county. And I hate that I had to fight and fight and fight to feel like myself again. For an entire year. It seems that breastfeeding is more important than being mentally healthy for your child, for your spouse, or for yourself. I could go on for days. You know this.
    Thank you for getting this out there. If we continue to talk about it and support each other, maybe new mothers won’t be so afraid to get the help they so desperately need. xo

    posted by: Carri on February 9, 2013

  • Yes! Starting the dialogue is important. Looking back, there are things that might have been a little “off” about the way I felt, and I wonder if I should have reached out. Thankfully it never got to a breaking point.

    posted by: Angela on February 9, 2013

  • It astonishes me how many women get this and how little it’s talked about. I’m always so glad to see someone sharing her story like you have here.

    posted by: Robin | Farewell, Stranger on February 9, 2013

  • Oh, yes, PPD is so common, and many women suffer without getting treatment. And it is so hard to get help. Mine was not something that was fixed with a small dose of meds; it took quite a lot and a combination of meds, as well as therapy. Now I’m pretty open about my experiences, but I can tell it makes people uncomfortable.

    posted by: Angie Kinghorn (@angiekinghorn) on February 9, 2013