My Story: The birth of my daughter started my whirlwind adventure into postpartum depression and anxiety. I had a 30 hour labor, which lead to 3 hours of pushing and ultimately a c-section. I've heard traumatic births can have an impact on you're chances of getting postpartum depression, but having a history of anxiety and depression I knew the odds were against me.
It started by not sleeping for almost four days. When they pulled her out I was so incredibly exhausted and drugged up I had no emotion whatsoever. I was done. A few days after her birth I told my husband I needed to sleep. We were still in the hospital. We were having trouble breastfeeding, I wasn't making enough milk and she was demanding it all night. I put in some ear plugs and finally fell asleep.
When I woke I had what I can say now was the worst panic attack of my life. I felt like I wasn't alive, my body was numb, and my brain felt disconnected from it. I was given a Xanax and told if I took it, I couldn't breastfeed. I took it.
When we got home, my milk finally came in the second night. I started breastfeeding and finally felt in control of something. I still had to supplement with formula and felt extreme guilt for it.
I was so incredibly anxious having her home I had no idea what to do. It was only me and my husband. When she cried, I cried. I couldn't care for her like I wanted to, as I was still recovering from my c-section. The first time I got up to change her I put her diaper on backwards. My husband corrected me and I sobbed. I couldn't remember where things were in my kitchen. I didn't know how many ounces of formula she drank after I nursed her. I couldn't eat for 4 days. I would get physically sick.
My husband had to go back to work a few days after we got home. I cried and begged him not to leave me. I didn't know what I was doing. I was trapped with this helpless infant who needed me to keep her alive, and I didn't even know how to keep myself alive. I regretted having her. I kept saying it was a mistake and that she hated me. I was a terrible mother. At least I told myself that. When she woke me up crying at night I would get this feeling of dread all over my body. I hated the mornings because that meant I would have to whole day in front of me. I would count down the hours until my husband got home. If her was late it would send me into a blind rage. I would get so angry at him for the tiniest mistakes. I was constantly on edge. There was more than one occasion where I screamed into a pillow.
My husband would take care of her at night while I slept in a different room. The guilt ate me alive.
As she got older, things got easier. She smiled and my heart melted. She cooed and I cried tears of joy. I constantly told her how even though it's hard, I will take care of her. The darkness turned to light. I started getting up at night to take care of her - because I wanted to. She was nursing great, gaining weight and she was none the wiser to how hard it was for me to function.
She's now 15 months old and the light of my life. She'll never remember the last way I was, but I will. It was my struggle and has made me a better mother. I will never be ashamed of my struggle and no mother should. Postpartum disorders are real and scary. There is no reason to hide. Get help if you need it. If you are drowning, there are lifelines.
Anonymous | Chico, CA