The Uninvited Guest: Postpartum Depression
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
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*photo from thepranamama.com