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The Uninvited Guest: Postpartum Depression

9 June 2010 24 Comments

It was supposed to be one of the most special days of my life. The birth of my son should have been one of the happiest days I had ever had. And it was. Well, at least it started out that way.

In total, I labored for about 20 hours after my water broke. Even after that, I was still excited for the birth of my baby. And when the moment finally arrived, everything changed. I went from ecstatic joy to total and complete indifference in a matter of seconds. I didn’t know it then, but Post Partum Depression had just joined the family…uninvited.

The first few hours were tough because I had some minor complications. Once those were resolved, I was finally able to spend time with my newborn boy. There was only one problem: I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to hurt him…I just didn’t want him. It was a strange feeling. My “maternal instincts” went against everything my brain knew I should be doing. And I didn’t care.

After 2 days of crying in the hospital, we went home. I was doing everything I was “supposed” to do, but as little of it as possible. There was no “bond.” Even though I was breastfeeding, I felt detached and alone. My husband was only home from work for the first week, so we decided it was best to get a baby nurse. I wasn’t ready to spend a whole day with this child, and he wasn’t ready to trust me to do so.

I spoke with my doctor who diagnosed me with what I already knew: Post Partum Depression (PPD). He prescribed Paxil which he assured me was okay to take while breastfeeding. I had never been on anti-depressants before, but I was willing to try anything! And guess what? It worked.

Although it took about a week until I was pretty much back to “me,” it was the best decision I could have made at the time. We kept our nurse for an additional week, but I was ready, willing, able, and wanting…to take care of my boy. Things were now “as they should be.” The most interesting thing, however, was that I had two other friends who had given birth within 3 months of me and they, too, had experienced some type of PPD…but were afraid to talk about it. My advice: TALK ABOUT IT!!!

There were no classes on PPD. It wasn’t even mentioned in the classes we took! I was lucky enough to know what was going on, and to have had a case of PPD where I didn’t want to hurt anyone. But not everyone is as lucky. So know this: there IS help; there ARE people who understand; there ARE doctors who can help you. But you have to know to look for help. Talk to people: your partner, your friends, your family, your doctors. The right help is out there. Don’t be afraid to ask for it…it was the best thing I did.

Today my son is a thriving 2-year old and there are no words to describe how much I love him. I did what I had to do then, and I’d do it again.

Lauren is a mom, wife, BornFree Ambassador, and former architect living in New York. She describes herself as being quite a bit like Phoebe from “Friends” with a little Monica thrown in. Her blog “Baby Steps. Mom Steps” is a regular column on BornFreeMom.com

In the comments below share one way moms can help reach out to other moms are experiencing postpartum depression. What’s something you can do?

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**The winner is Colleen with the email address Ccri*******@aol.com!


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*photo from thepranamama.com

24 Comments »

  • Elizabeth Kelley said:

    Thanks for sharing your story. So many women feel so alone with PPD, but it’s so important to talk about it. And good for you for seeking treatment so early…it can make all the difference.

  • Elizabeth said:

    I had a little bit of PPD with my son, but didn’t realize it. With my daughter it is a different story. My husband’s made comments and it’s embarassing. I’m glad people are starting to talk about it. It’s been over a year, and I’m still dealing with it. I have my good and bad moments…

    Wish people would take this more serious!!

  • Joyce Purcell said:

    I have a raging case of PPD (self diagnosed of course). I am exactly how this article describes; scared to talk about it. I am always the strong one and don’t want to come of looking like I am out of control of myself. I feel like I have not stopped since I got pregnant and just want a minute to be me. I now have a permanent appendage on my hip. I have tried to ask my husband to help me get through this, but he doesn’t know how. Don’t get me wrong I love my son more than anything else in this world, but I want to love me again too.

  • Joyce Purcell said:

    I shared!

  • Jen said:

    I am experiencing this right now. I am medicated but still having issues. I have decided to journal and maybe that will help me see better what I can do to get myself of the darkness… here is the very first entry.

    Dear PPD,

    Could you please leave me alone now. It’s been 7 months now and I think it is time you left. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of what you are doing to me and my family. I’m so annoyed that you force me to take meds that I don’t want too but know if I don’t I would be impossible to live with. If you can’t leave yet please give me some kind of timeline… I would like to know if there is any light at the end of this tunnel. Why do you make me so irritable? You are making simple things throw me into a rage and then later, to add insult to injury, I feel horrible for the things I do/say. Do you not realize that E is having behavioral problems that may or may not require medical attention and that M is still having issues with reflux and MPI? Didn’t you know that my husband is going to lose his job at the end of July and that he hasn’t been able to secure anything yet? I was hoping you would have gotten the memo’s and hit the road. Every day I wonder if today will be the day that things turn around and I feel like myself again. I start the day with hope and optimism but sadly end my days with grief and despair. I have no one to talk to, you have left me feeling alone all the time. No one understands the grip you have on me and that I can’t control you no matter how hard I try. I can’t just “shake” you. The very few friends that I do have don’t get it and if they did know everything that you do to me I think they would high-tail it as well. *deep breath* I am done with you now, tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully you get this and realize that this is just not going to work anymore!

    Signed,

    The normal sane mother I know I can be and should be…someday.

  • Jen said:

    I definately shared!

  • Katy G. said:

    I shared on Facebook!

  • Katy G. said:

    I also liked…:)

  • Katy G. said:

    I don’t have PPD, but I have heard of its complications. I definitely think PPD should be taken seriously and not laughed at. I know people who have had it before and didn’t have the family support they need to deal with it properly. I think talking about it with others is definitely something that might help. I feel for the moms that do have it and I hope you find a fast recovery! Everyone needs a little support…:)

  • Meghann said:

    It seems like PPD is the hardest to talk about with the first baby. It’s all new anyway so it’s harder to say with any certainty that what you are feeling is abnormal. For me getting out of the house with the little one was key. Just meeting up once a week with other moms to talk about how we were doing made me feel so much better. Even leaving the tiny one in her father’s care a few hours a week while I ran errands felt like a treat.

  • Leslie S said:

    I am fortunate that both my doctor’s office and the hospital brought up this topic. It’s so important for mom and her family to know the symptoms and be prepared to get help! Ask for PPD information from your doctor or hospital and give it to your loved ones!

  • Leslie S said:

    I liked!

  • Maritza said:

    Hi, I have been suffering from severe PPD for the past 18 months I have severe anxiety and panick attacks, I didn’t get help earlier because I was afraid to, I just started on Paxil and have been on klonopim for a while I hope paxil works soon! I feel like I am loosing it!

  • BornFreeMom » Blog Archive » Did You Have Postpartum Depression? said:

    [...] Lauren Senese of BornFreeMom.com, the BornFree community blog for US moms, just wrote a deep and honest blog about her experience with postpartum depression. [...]

  • Jocelyn said:

    I battled with postpardum after the birth of my first child. The first time my husband left me alone with my son I cried just thnking about it, and I had to have my mother and mother-in-law come over the whole time he was gone just to make it through the day. I had a very hard time enjoying the first three months of my sons life because I was terrified the whole time that something was going to happen to him and it owuld be my fault. Luckily when we had our second child there was an instant bond I had no problems with postpardum.

  • Colleen said:

    This is a common thing among us mothers. I feel as if we all have some form of this, some more extreme than others. Just realize that there is help. Ask for help. That’s what it is there for. It’s tough to bring a child in this world, to care for them 24/7, care for yourself and everything else life brings. Just know that you aren’t alone!

  • Jessica E said:

    I did not a PPD with my first 2 so I figured the 3rd would be a breeze. Well i was sadly mistaken as soon as i got home it hit me. I tried to fight it off for weeks and once the breast feeding complications didnt get any better it only made my PPD worse. I finally went and talking to the dr and he put me on meds which Helped so much. My son is now 9 months old and I am still taking the meds and I can say what a relief to finally feel myself again.

  • Jessica E said:

    I shared

  • shawnna said:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I felt so much regret in the beginning. My son is 18 months old now and I much better than before, but I wish I has spoke up earlier

  • Mel1010 said:

    A good way to help other woman is to encourage them to talk about it

  • Mel1010 said:

    i liked

  • Lauren Senese said:

    Thank you all for your great comments. I write about my experiences with the hope that sharing what I went through can help someone else. Even if it’s just one person, I’m happy to have shared. Best to you ALL!

  • Erin said:

    I dealt with PPD after the birth of my second son. I felt like I was stuck in the house all winter with a very fussy baby with a bad case of acid reflux who rarely slept and a very bored toddler going through his terrible two’s. I became so overwhelmed and I was crying and felt panicky all the time. When my husband was home all I wanted to do was be alone or sleep.

    I remember what helped me so much was finding out that there were a lot of other women out there who had gone through the same thing. That made me feel a lot less alone. I spoke with my doctor and for me starting medication helped. The baby eventually started to sleep more, it warmed up outside and we started getting out and my 2yr old turned 3 and started pre-school 2 mornings a week.

    I’d want to tell any other women going through this that they are not alone ! There is help available and even though everyone says it, things really do get easier !

  • Jessica said:

    you are so eloquent…

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