Postpartum Depression: The Two Faced Reality
Welcomeback Everyone! In My little Miracle: The First Breath, I introduced you to my world of motherhood and what journey life has handed me. It being a three part story in and of itself, I don't know whether I should call this a fourth part or a whole new topic! If you read those three blogs, I'm sure your could see many reasons that I was at risk for postpartum depression (PPD). I had a rough time going into motherhood, and it didn't get any easier. As a matter of fact, I got PPD at the most inconvenient time of my life. Of course, I'm pretty sure we all could conclude that literally EVERYTHING I went through was just stupid and inconvenient, but hey, I'm here. I'm alive and that's what matters.
I personally believe there were many large factors that played into my depression.
One, I was no where near ready to be a mom. I mourned my old life and had a hard time handling the responsibilities at first. Being a new mom is overwhelming on it's own because you panic about everything. Your body is in overdrive all the time. Now-a-days I dose with a little bit of Tylenol and move on rather quickly when issues arise. But, at first, that adjustment period SUCKED and people DO NOT talk about it enough. It almost felt like I was questioning whether or not I wanted to be a mom AFTER I had my son. So that made me feel like a horrible person.
Breastfeeding didn't work out. I was so dedicated to it because it was my "one and only connection" to my son. But he would just vomit it up ALL the time. It got to the point where I was feeding for hours on end and it was just a repetitive cycle of my son barfing, crying out of hunger, eating, repeat. I was so tired. No sleep, constant screaming, constant barf. Something had to give. I asked the doc and she said "it isn't possible for babies that young to be lactose intolerant." Which, look, I don't have a medical degree. But that sounded like a load of crap. I kept trying for around month and couldn't take it anymore. I called my Best Friend and said "Get as many cans of soy formula as you can and rush to my house. It's an emergency, I can't take it anymore." She grabbed something like six cans, rushed in the door, made a bottle for me and quickly gave it to my son. He was not hesitant at all, kept it down, and FINALLY, went to sleep for more than 30 minutes. I was so emotional. Because I felt like I wasn't good enough for my son at that point and I also felt like a bad mom for continuing to force breastfeeding when I knew deep down that it was not the right thing.
The dynamic in my marriage shifted greatly. My husband and I were in a honeymoon phase when we found out I was pregnant because we were newly engaged. We couldn't stay off of each other back then, shoot, no wonder I ended up pregnant! But dealing with a really difficult pregnancy and an awful labor somehow managed to put a rift in our relationship and it was one I could not get ahold of. Not only did I have adjustment issues, he did too! We weren't focused on working together as a team, we were focused on just keeping track of ourselves and trying to do what we thought was right. But for those of you who do not know me and my husband, we were raised VERY differently and we have complete opposite outlooks on life. So whenever we get stuck in the habit of focusing only on ourselves, we start keeping score against each other. And that sucked! Because once my PPD hit, he didn't see it, even when I said it right to his face! We were both tired, both exhausted, because we weren't leaning on each other for support. So we both operated at 100%, 24/7, and we. were. gassed.
My priorities for work shifted into priorities for my son. I used to be the girl who was supposed to get off at 430 PM, but didn't leave until 7PM. I was considered the top against my peers in the unit and it was great. Then, I couldn't stay until 7 PM anymore because of my son. Unfortunately, I felt a large shift in my work dynamic as well and didn't understand where my new set of morals and values would lead me. And once you've settled yourself into a team and you are a redesigned person, they don't expect those changes, so disappointment follows. It shouldn't be that way, but it's normal. It's growing pains. I had to figure out who I was all over again. At work, at home, in my marriage. Being a mom redefined who I was. It changed everything about my character. I feel it made me more calculated about my decisions and more emotional about other topics and I had to learn how to cope with these new strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately I did that with minimal support, but, keep your circle small, as they always say. And I did. And it turned out good.
All these changes were good and bad. It was a two-faced ordeal. And I was a two-faced person. How could I be so damn happy? But so angry and sad at the same time? I didn't understand it. In one second, I'd be admiring my son, and the next I'm rushing him to his crib so he is safe while I run outside and have a panic attack. People didn't talk about this either. Ever. I wasn't prepared. I got one little video about why I shouldn't shake my baby in aggression and I laughed at it! How the hell does someone get so mad that they violently shake their baby like that? But now I understood. Because I would periodically put my son in his crib and walk away many more times than I could count. Fed? Changed? Safe? RUN.
People don't talk about what it's like to feel aggression towards your child and its scary. I KNEW I would never hurt him. But I'm sure other parents felt that way too. What happened if I change my mind in a split second? What if I can't control it?
Then came the multiple cries for help. I practically yelled it in my husbands face when he was too tired to hear me. I bawled my eyes out to my friends. I told my boss, my pastor, my doctor, my pediatrician, mental health, the counselor... No one knew what to do with me.
Here's my advice.
DO NOT GIVE UP.
I was just short of booking myself into the ER to be sent to a psychiatric ward because I felt like I could burn a building down in any second. And these dummies sent me out, "here's our number, we will call you when we know where and who you should go to."
WHAT?! I was in distress! Don't send me away! But they did. So I kept going. Everywhere I went and everyone I spoke to, I told my story.
"Hello. My name is Daisy and I think I have PPD and no one will help me." Until finally, someone listened. And she was PISSED. She kicked down every door that I couldn't and got me my answers. She got me my help. She gave me advice. She told me her story. And all the sudden. I wasn't alone. I wasn't an alien. I wasn't a freak. I wasn't a bad mom.
I was just a poor girl, who went though a hard situation and was severely depressed. And I got my help.
So please, never give up. Never give in. Reach out to anyone and everyone possible. The lady that helped me, I barely even knew. So don't limit yourself from people who can step in and assist you.
Thank you for your time. I can't wait to hear your feedback! Stay tuned for more upcoming topics! And I would love to hear your stories of PPD and how you managed, overcame it, or if you haven't found the help you are looking, maybe I can point you in the right direction. At the very least, I'm someone who will listen. Much love to all the readers, I hope you have a great week!