Postpartum Depression is a serious issue. People commit suicide because of this, harm themselves or their babies, and have serious issues because of this.
I was one of the women that suffered from postpartum depression. It was the worst feeling it in the world. I got it after I had my son, Little #2. I felt like the worst mom ever but couldn’t help it. I didn’t like taking care of him, I didn’t feel like I was his mom, I didn’t want anything to do with him. I did take care of him but not as much as I should have. I didn’t cuddle with him or hold him as much which was really weird for me because with my daughter, Little #1, I held her all the time. So much that others were saying I was spoiling her way overboard. I honestly though there was something wrong with me and I didn’t deserve to be my sons mom or anything.
Truthfully, there wasn’t something wrong with me. I was just suffering from postpartum depression. Now, I was 19 and knew nothing about what it was. I had never heard of it nor had I ever experienced anything like it before. I thought I was going crazy and was the worst mom ever.
My postpartum depression lasted until my son was a year old. For a year, I took care of him and made sure all his needs were met, but I didn’t do all the extras like holding him, cuddling, playing, etc. He also turned very colicky. That was my first experience with that as well. He would cry constantly, didn’t matter if he was already fed, already changed, already slept, was being held, etc. He would just cry constantly. The only time he wasn’t crying, was when he was eating (which he loved to be doing!!) or sleeping. He used to get swaddled until he was a year old and maybe just over a year, because that’s the only way he could sleep. I had some help from my sister, my friend, my other sister, her boyfriend, my sisters friend, etc. Most of them could calm him down but I couldn’t. It was like there was something wrong with me. I also majorly felt like my son could feel all that negativity and depression and that he was mad at me because I didn’t do the extras with him like I should for every child. We had been through a lot of moving, leaving things behind, and leaving people behind. It was a very difficult time.
Eventually, my little’s dad started seeing them and helping out with them. I was very nervous about it but was so thankful for a break once in while like every other weekend. It was very much needed. They needed to see their dad and I needed a break to try and get our lives back on track. After their dad started helping and after we moved into a stable place with my sister, her boyfriend, and her kids, everything with my son started to fall into place. I felt more bonded with him, wanted to spend time with him, tried to make up everything to help, and be the best mom I could be to him and to my daughter again.
I really wish I could have gotten help sooner so our relationship would have been better right away, instead of a year down the road. I’m very thankful that now it is better with my son for the both of us. Now, we cuddle a lot, talk all the time about everything and anything, spend lots of time together, do fun activities together, and are still working on bonding to fix our relationship more.
You may have postpartum depression if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:
- You feel overwhelmed. Not like “hey, this new mom thing is hard.” More like “I can’t do this and I’m never going to be able to do this.” You feel like you just can’t handle being a mother. In fact, you may be wondering whether you should have become a mother in the first place.
- You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this. You feel like your baby deserves better. You worry whether your baby can tell that you feel so bad, or that you are crying so much, or that you don’t feel the happiness or connection that you thought you would. You may wonder whether your baby would be better off without you.
- You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you see on TV or read about in magazines. Not everyone with PPD feels this way, but many do.
- You can’t understand why this is happening. You are very confused and scared.
- You feel irritated or angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies. You feel out-of-control
- You feel nothing. Emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.
- You feel sadness to the depths of your soul. You can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying.
- You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. You feel weak and defective, like a failure.
- You can’t bring yourself to eat, or perhaps the only thing that makes you feel better is eating.
- You can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, nor can you sleep at any other time. Or maybe you can fall asleep, but you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep no matter how tired you are. Or maybe all you can do is sleep and you can’t seem to stay awake to get the most basic things done. Whichever it is, your sleeping is completely screwed up and it’s not just because you have a newborn.
- You can’t concentrate. You can’t focus. You can’t think of the words you want to say. You can’t remember what you were supposed to do. You can’t make a decision. You feel like you’re in a fog.
- You feel disconnected. You feel strangely apart from everyone for some reason, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
- Maybe you’re doing everything right. You are exercising. You are taking your vitamins. You have a healthy spirituality. You do yoga. You’re thinking “Why can’t I just get over this?” You feel like you should be able to snap out of it, but you can’t.
- You might be having thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind. Or you’ve thought of driving off the road, or taking too many pills, or finding some other way to end this misery.
- You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy”.
- You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
- You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
Now that you’ve gone through this list are you thinking “How the heck does this lady know me? Is there a hidden camera in here?” Nope. What this should tell you is that you are not alone and you are not a freak and you are not highly unusual. If you are having these feelings and symptoms then it is possible you are experiencing common illnesses that 15 to 20% of new mothers have, and they are completely treatable.
You are not alone. Stay strong and talk with your doctor. They can really help you.