Time to talk about it: My postpartum depression

Postpartum depression. Something I’ve only mentioned here and there on my blog… and, always said I would talk about more in the future… but, never got around to doing it (maybe avoiding it?).
I started my blog in April 2010 to deal and hopefully find other ladies going through the same thing I was. I know my depression was probably worse because of the birth I had and trying to deal with a newborn all at once: that was really hard for me.
When Ruari was born I didn’t even really understand I had just had a baby and what really happened to me until about a week later. I know it was the morphine and the other VERY strong drugs they had me on, but I was able to be disconnected from everything that first week (and, I was in a hospital with nurses doing everything for me).
Christmas day 2009 was thee day I started noticing something… I know it was the normal Baby Blues from all the hormones surging through me… but, I was crying at EVERY single thing. Mike was worried about me, but I told him the nurses said the baby blues would get better with some time… but, if I was still like this by February… to start worrying about me.
So, the days went on. Ruari wouldn’t nurse… I was pumping for her nonstop so we could bottle feed her my breast milk… I’m dealing with building back up my blood supply from what I had lost… barely able to hold Ruari because my surgery pain was so bad… needing Mike to be in the bathroom while I showered to make sure I didn’t pass out… not getting enough sleep because I had a newborn… I was emotionally turning into a hot mess.
One of my BIGGEST stresses was the fact that Ruari never breastfed. I’d say maybe she latched on and fed a total of 10 times? Maybe… never enough to fill her. I had PLENTY of milk… enough for everyone! ;) But, she just wasn’t having it. I felt like I would be a bad mom if I didn’t feed her breastmilk… so, I kept trying to get her to breast feed. I continued to try for 3 months. Nothing. She didn’t want to breastfeed. That was it. Those first 3 months of me trying to get her to breast feed were terribly stressful. I wanted her to do it so badly… and, I was told she would… and to not give up! I cried so much from her never feeding directly from me. I had already lost my chance to ever have a natural birth… now I’d lose my chance to ever feel the connection through breastfeeding? If you’re wondering… she NEVER ended up breastfeeding from me and I pumped for her for a whole year.
I felt like I was going through all of this alone. My friends and family all worked days (my sister lives in New Zealand) and I was at home… totally sleep deprived… dealing with my emotions… and a crying baby that only wanted to be held… for hours alone…. every day. I was beginning to feel smothered and I started to not like my baby. I HATED every time I thought about not liking her. I started to hate myself for hating my situation. It’s hard to explain how I felt… but, everything just felt so heavy. I started to regret ever having a baby… If I had never had a baby I wouldn’t have almost lost my life… I wouldn’t be this exhausted and hating myself…. life would be better. That’s what I thought.
Mike was REALLY starting to worry about me now. He finally decided that it was time to do something. He stopped listening to me saying, “Oh, I’m fine… I’m just tired.” It wasn’t true anyway. I wasn’t fine… I just wanted to BE fine. I was not. So, he found a postpartum therapist for me… scheduled me an appointment… got my sister (who was home for a couple months from New Zealand) to watch my baby… and made sure I went. I did. I pretty much sat down on the therapist’s sofa and started crying before she even opened her mouth. I was a mess. A complete mess.
My therapists ended up prescribing me some depression meds. I was VERY weary of actually taking them. While I knew I needed them, I didn’t want any drugs to get into the breastmilk I was feeding Ruari… and, I didn’t want to give her formula (so silly, I know). I actually held onto my prescription for a couple of weeks before I actually did anything with it. What really helped me in the direction to start was my friend Kelsey. She asked me what I thought was better: being totally depressed and not connecting with my baby because I was afraid to get drugs in her system… or… to take these drugs to help me out of what I was going through so I could be a happy mama for my child. That was it. I started taking them. I know for a fact I would not have been able to get out of my fog without these meds. I am not a ‘medicate for everything’ kind of girl… but, this was necessary.
After about a week of medicating… I started to feel better. I was coming out of the fog… things that normally sent me into tears were no longer doing that. I was feeling better. I started to enjoy my baby instead of dread the time I spent with her. I started up my Paper Mama blog and found this amazing world of supportive blogging mama’s and daddy’s that had gone through… or were going through what I had been.
The reason why I decided to FINALLY talk about my depression: because I’m hoping there’s some new mama out there I can help. A new mama that is going through the same thing I was and is in need of a little love and support. The best thing I learned was that I’m not alone. I’m not the only one getting no sleep and feeling so depressed. It’s a rough patch that pretty much every mom goes through (some more than others) and to not be scared to reach out and ask a friend, family member, or even online blogging friend for advice or even just to listen to your story. It’s important to talk about what you’re feeling. Holding it in only makes it harder to deal with. Especially if you have any thoughts of hurting your baby. While I never had these thoughts, I know it can be common for postpartum mom’s to think this. Don’t hold it in. Tell someone and ask for some help.
I just wanted to point out that I’m not telling everyone to go out and get some depression drugs… they just helped me. I’m still currently taking them… but, I’m weaning off of them and am just about done! I will probably be done with them by the end of August. Yay! They were important for me… but, I’m ready to get off of them. :)
I still have my bad days… when I don’t get enough sleep or when Ruari is melting down every 5 minutes. BUT, it’s nothing like it was before! I’m happy. That’s huge.
So, if you made it through the longest post ever.. thanks! I hope this helps someone out there. Thanks for ALL of your support! All of you. :)

Chelsey



9 Responses to “Time to talk about it: My postpartum depression”

  1. Terri says:

    When I had my first son, in 2008, I was so totally clueless the needs of a baby! I ended up suffering (which now I know was needlessly) in silence, feeling totally alone. I thought a mom had to be everything to everyone and not ask for help. I thought I had to keep it together because if I asked for help, I would be seen as a bad momma, weak, unable to care for herself, so how can she care for this baby?! There was the depression, and then he didn't sleep. Almost, well, ever. He was a horrible sleeper. I was like you where every little thing made me cry. A total wreck. When he turned one, I started a new job and almost lost that job because I couldn't hold it together. I think the job actually saved my sanity. Just being around other adults in the real world made a huge difference. He started to sleep, and I started to get my mind back. I should have gone to talk to someone but I didn't. My second son was born in 2010 and he has been polar opposite in most every way of his brother. I was terrified of suffering PPD again with him but it wasn't nearly as bad. Like you, I still have bad days. But there are more good days than bad days. It is awesome to know that as moms we aren't alone, we aren't weird or crazy for feeling like the world is ours to take care of….it's a mom thing. I guess. I'm glad you're doing better. I enjoy reading your blog. And, thanks for making me feel, even as my baby will be two this year, like I'm not alone. Hugs, Terri

  2. My favorite thing about blogging was that I found out I wasn't alone.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I suffered from PPD as well and it is a very lonely, scary place to be. I know you will give a lot of people who are struggling with this hope – and that's so important when your in the midst of PPD. It's so nice to find such open honesty about an issue we try to hush. <3

  4. Mindi says:

    Wow thanks for sharing this very powerful post. I'm sure it was not easy to push publish. I feel that so many mom's struggle with PDD but feel uncomfortable talking about it. Like they will be less of a mom. I hope this post helps other mom's feel that it's okay to get help aand okay to talk about it. I had a pretty horrible birth experience with my first son but not PDD. I can't imagine having to go through a hohorrible birth and then PDD. You are one strong mama!

  5. Kimberly says:

    Hi Chelsey,
    I found your blog via another one who had linked to one of you challenges. I just started following. This one caught my attention because I am a PPD survivor too.
    I started my blog because I needed an outlet and I needed to connect with other women so desperately.
    I just want to say that I am so proud of you for sharing your journey. Not a lot of women are willing to talk so openly about it. But the more we talk about it the more women will step out of that dark space and reach out for help.
    Thank you so much for pouring your soul out here. This will help out more women then you know.
    xoxo

  6. Heidi says:

    I found your blog reading your no heat curls (awesome by the way)…but I can totally relate. My son's birth was a HORRIBLE experience followed by infections from my c-section, nursing struggles, and other health complications. I was literally on my own and so drained I had no color in my face. PPD is a real thing most OB/GYN's just seem to write you off once you deliver. I got help, was on meds and it made a huge difference. I had the same fears. I got pregnant again (a surprise) when my son was only 6 months and was devastated to go through that again. The second time around I got PPD again only worse. It's so comforting to know that there are other women going through the same thing I did and that I'm not some "freak" who doesn't feel that connection with their child right away. Thank you for sharing this with all of us! It is so hard but you are right it does get better.

  7. Ashley says:

    Hi Chelsey,

    I've been reading back in your blog, and I wanted to say thanks for writing this. I had my baby in August of this year, and I've just recently been diagnosed with PPA and PPD. It's a heaviness just like you described.

    Thank you for writing and coming out about your PPD. It's helpful and eyeopening and just what I needed to read.

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