How Does Postpartum Depression Feel? Part 2
"If I can help one woman, than sharing my story is worth it."
Written by Blair
I always get the baby blues.
Usually before I'm out of the hospital, I start crying for "no reason." It takes me a couple weeks to pull out of it. It's an awful feeling.
For the most part, my emotions are in check prior to having a baby. I'm pretty even keeled; exhausted because of lack of sleep during pregnancy, but my emotions and hormones while being pregnant are nothing compared to post labor hormones.
I am extremely close to my family and my "village" of girlfriends.
Close might be an understatement. But after I have a baby, I dread seeing people except for my mom and husband. I don't want to fake being happy they are there, I don't want visitors, I don't want them touching my child (though this did get better after the first baby)...
I just want to be alone.
I have three beautiful children and each birth was completely different from the other. With my last child and birth: the pregnancy was hard. I was sick a lot with "morning sickness" and I stopped sleeping after the first trimester. My husband was overseas. We were building a house. I had two other children to care for. I became really fixated on hand-sanitizer, which looking back now, I realize aided in me being sick with colds/viruses/sinus infections practically the entire pregnancy.
We moved into our new house on the 17th, my husband came home on the same day, and we were induced 3 days later because my husband only had two weeks home. I had our daughter on the 21st and Christmas was just 4 days later. She had to be in the NICU for the first 2 days because of a red blood cell issue. I had never had a baby that was put into the NICU. She had jaundice really bad. I was pumping to get my milk in and it came in really fast. I mention this because of the quick change of hormones. (All of my babies have had jaundice and I have always pumped, my milk just came speeding in with this little one) My sister in law offered her breast milk to us so we didn't have to supplement with formula. This KILLED me. I felt like my decisions on supplementing her were being questioned.
This started my crying.
This wasn't my first baby, so I knew as soon as I started crying, I wouldn't be able to stop. I had been fighting it, literally, from starting. I was right. We were released from the hospital on the 23rd. I remember pulling the blankets over my head literally feeling like I was in a hole, the darkest, deepest hole there was and I couldn't breathe. I knew it was never going to get better. It was at that moment that I knew I would never have another baby again. I knew I could never experience this type of hurt again.
I kept picturing myself breaking plates.
I just wanted to break things. I didn't. Maybe I should have- but I'll never forget that feeling.
The baby had Dr. Appointments every day and was nearly re-admitted on Christmas Eve because of her bilirubin levels. I remember that when we'd go back to the hospital to check her levels, the color of nurses scrubs evoked a longing to be back in the hospital.
I don't know how else to explain it. I just felt better I guess in those four walls of my room.
I believe that because of my exhaustion, current sinus infection, how fast my milk came in, and baby having medical issues, this all lead to my emotional state. I also had way too much on my plate. My mom and my best friends knew I was in a dark place because there was no controlling my emotions.
I was physically incapable of hiding my crying.
I did reach out to someone whom I knew had PPD before and just offer my sympathies because I felt awful for her, or anyone for that matter, that had to experience this. I was already on medication for anxiety. I talked to my dr. During this time and he just encouraged me to be around my family and seek help with the baby so I could rest.
It's been many years since that time and I remember everything so well. The feelings are still so raw and 'there'. I actually hate thinking about that first couple weeks. It could be described as the baby blues, but it was so much faster, harder, and horrible that I think it was a touch more. It was like nothing I had ever experienced with my other two children.
As supportive as my husband is/was, that is one huge regret- in our child birth classes (that we took with our first), it's just not emphasized enough- the potential for baby blues and PPD. I feel like even if he didn't understand what I was going through, he could have empathized better. It's a VERY lonely, isolating, no light at the end of the tunnel, horrible, awful feeling.
I wish that all mother's could know that in her darkest moment, there will be light.
That the feelings she's feeling are real, scary, and terrible.
I wish for her to have a system in place for her to really try and rest when the baby is born.
I wish for her to SPEAK HER TRUTH.
Don't be afraid of hurting peoples feelings because you don't want visitors. I wish for parents to talk about the potential of PPD and maybe have a plan in place "just in case." In my opinion, after the birth, supporting the mother should be everyone's focus just as much as the baby is the focus. She won't be able to sustain her miracle if she isn't being sustained. Women compete with each other.... Who can bounce back the fastest after childbirth.