Tales From A Working Mom // Handling PPD

February 7, 2013 in postpartum,tales from a working mom

talesfromaworkingmom

Before you start reading, I need you to understand that it was really hard for me to publish this. It’s difficult to be so honest with myself and everyone else; but I think it’s important to try and break the stigma by opening up a dialogue about it.

I need to make a big confession:

Shortly after delivering Ari I felt what can only be described as a sense of loss.

At first I didn’t say anything. I kept it to myself. I had expected some of this, right?

I was doing great in the hospital — running completely on adrenaline through our rush of visitors.

But once we got home, I was a complete mess.

One of the cats knocked over my latte? Cry for hours. Have to nurse a screaming baby? Cry for hours.

I expected to be emotional post-delivery. I anticipated the postpartum depression. But, to be honest? I had never really experienced depression before. Not like this.

For nearly a year, I took care of this little life inside of my belly. I developed a special relationship that a mother gets when she is the only person who can feel this little life growing and growing inside of her. So when I had to suddenly learn to share this new life with everyone that was anxiously awaiting his arrival, I felt a huge loss; like my job was ‘done.’

And I was angry. Angry that I had to wake up and feed the baby; angry that I was expected to selflessly take care of this new human; that I was supposed to instantly feel an overwhelming sense of dedication to this person.

I recently explained to a friend that right after Ari was born, I didn’t want Chad to leave my side. But he made me so inexplicably angry that I also didn’t want him to say a single word to me. I was angry at him for no reason.

And he was really worried about me.

Hell, I was worried about me.

I had never acted like this before. I was exhausted, but unable to sleep; I was emotional, but for no reason; I was over it.

I even had my placenta encapsulated in hopes of re-introducing the missing hormones back to my body. [Yeah, yeah, I know, totally hippie-granola and semi creepy to some of you.]

Nothing was working.

To be clear, I never wanted to hurt myself or the baby, nor do I think I would have ever gotten to that point; but I just knew I didn’t want to continue feeling this way.

I was starving, but I couldn’t eat; I was exhausted, but I couldn’t get to sleep at night. I would lay awake in bed and cry.

I decided to take the first step and talk to people about it. I talked to every woman I knew who had a baby. We talked about how many of them had experienced similar feelings. A surprising number of people I spoke with felt some level of sadness and loss. I was shocked that I hadn’t heard about it sooner.

In my research on PPD, I found that postpartum, most women experience some level of these symptoms. But your emotions should level out by week three.

By week three, my emotions were more out of whack than ever.

So I called my doctor and made an appointment.

I went to the appointment with my OB by myself. I tried to keep it together as the man who helped me through my darkest moments of delivery Ari — this man that we had grown to love — asked me about how I was feeling.

I lost it. I cried. I practically screamed, ‘Help me!’

He knew of my aversion to medical intervention. He told me about my options of therapy and about how some people take anti-depressants. I looked him in the eye and I told him “I will try anything to feel better.”

I meant it. I was at the point where I was in this cycle of depression, worry and anxiety. I couldn’t break free.

So I went on Zoloft. And after three weeks, I felt like a whole new person.

Ari was still fussy. He was still screaming constantly and he was still colicky.

But I was able to manage the depression and anxiety so much better — I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Do I know if the zoloft was the be-all and end-all cure to my depression and anxiety issues? Absolutely not. But I know that with the combination of that and a pretty incredible and understanding support system, I’m feeling a whole hell of a lot better.

I still have moments where I feel like I need to step away; like my world is unraveling. But I think it’s just more like a normal sort of new-mom crazy. And I’m learning to handle it. And I still have that great support system.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Alicia at Poise in Parma
Twitter: poiseinparma
February 7, 2013 at 7:33 am

You. Are. Amazing.
I have so many words, but I’m not sure how to share them. So perhaps I can give you an even bigger hug next time I see you as a way to show I’m grateful to you sharing your story?
xoxo

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Jenna February 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

I saw the same thing happen to someone close to me. And you’re right, it’s not something that new moms talk about much since there is so much expectation that you should be over the moon. Kudos to you for opening up and being honest. (And I totally get the spilled latte..if I were a new mom there would definitely be tears if that happened. Hell if I were tired and that happened to me today there may be tears). Glad you’re feeling better 🙂

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Lane Baldwin February 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

Wow, so eye opening reading this! You’re so brave to share your story, and I respect you 100% for it. I love your blog, Rachel!

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Amanda February 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Wow I am in tears reading this you are such amazing woman!!!!! This just made me feel even more grateful to know you through the blogging world. Good for you for writing this!!!!

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ann February 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Rachel, when I read this post I could have been reading my diary entry from a year ago. I went through the same thing when Jack was born. I wanted to avoid drugs too, but knew I had to do what was best for me and my family. I only stayed on Zoloft for 2 months, but it helped me get through a very sad, dark period and I came out of it a better mom, I know that for sure. I still have my moments, from time to time, where I am just…blah. But I do know it gets better. Hang in there and if you ever want another mom to talk to, I am here for you!

Ann
@aweinzimmer

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Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks February 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I think it’s really courageous to write about PPD. I would agree that a lot of women are overwhelmed in their first weeks after a birth and I wish our communities were more proactive about taking care of our mothers. I know I was a ball of tears for a bunch of weeks after giving birth. I never felt overwhelmed about being a mom to a preemie in the NICU; rather, I felt overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and feeling an obligation to answer everyone’s questions and well wishes; I was overwhelmed that life kept trucking along, even though I just wanted it to slow down, maybe even stop for a few minutes. I remember my first follow-up appt with my doctor, filling out a PPD questionnaire. I’m quite certain I measured on the PPD scale (if such a thing exists), but I wasn’t ready to really do much about it. My second follow-up appt at six weeks was a completely different story. My son had just come home from the hospital and the noise from everyone in our life was beginning to settle down. I think every mom/family needs to process birth in their own way and it’s nice to know there is medical options out there to support us during that time.

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Joelle February 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Thank you for sharing this. Your honesty has taught me a lot that I didn’t know and might some day need to. I’m sure that this post will help many women out there who are going through the same thing. I admire your courage:)

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katelin February 8, 2013 at 8:08 pm

thank you for sharing this. as someone that hasn’t experienced any of this yet it’s always refreshing to hear the real stories & real emotions behind motherhood.

ps. you are fabulous and don’t you forget it!

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Tracy
Twitter: tracytilly
February 10, 2013 at 9:01 am

You are a wonderful woman and mom and I am glad you shared what was happening. I am so glad you’re feeling better. Sending lots of love as you continue on! <3

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Emily February 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I just found your blog and wow – you are incredible. Kudos to you for being so honest and open about an issue that is so often swept under the rug. Not only PPD, but any sort of mental illness or anxiety is still so hush-hush. I don’t understand why. I think it’s wonderful that you are feeling better and able to share what is – no doubt – a very personal and common issue among individuals.

Emily

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