Anonymous: Postpartum Psychosis

My Story: I lived the fairy tale version of becoming a new mom until the baby actually arrived. Married for 5 years to a loving and supportive husband, pregnant after one month of "trying", no morning sickness, only gained 7 pounds, and only 4 hours of labor.... You get the picture. We took all the classes and I read countless things on breastfeeding and laboring techniques. I was elated with my head in the clouds for the entire pregnancy. I had never felt better or more alive. I was obsessed with the idea of growing a person inside of me. I daydreamed constantly about seeing my precious creation for the first time. My water broke at home 2 days shy of 38 weeks, and was also the day after Christmas. We went to hospital and had our little girl quicker than I ever expected. I loved watching my husband love her. Our connection seemed to grow just from that one day. I was also thrilled when she took to nursing without a big struggle. Happy daddy+healthy baby= a happy mommy....this was my new normal, or so I thought.

As soon as we got home, I started to slowly decline. Day by day, hour by hour, my thoughts were no longer mine. I couldn't control them. I just wanted the kid to stop crying. She was always aggravated no matter what I did. The only peace I got was when she ate EVERY 2 hours. So while she might have been quiet for that little bit, I was exhausted. I would often nod off sitting on the couch while she was eating, and wake up to her rooting to eat again. I tried formula, rice cereal, sleeping in a swing, sleeping in a rock in play, driving around, sitting in a steamy bathroom, humidifiers, gas drops, probiotics, etc., just anything different to get different results. If she wasn't eating, she was usually screaming. I often got 2-3 hours of rest a night because I was the feeder. She wouldn't do bottles at night for some reason. They claimed she had colic. I somehow managed to stay awake at work the following days. But when I got home, all I could do was cry.

I cried all the time. I felt so out of control and I'm very much a control freak. I was having horrible dreams and thoughts but nobody knew. I guess I'm too good at pretending to have it all together. I would think about putting her head under the water when bathing her just to see what would happen. I debated on driving into lakes when I passed them. I came very close to shaking her many times. I considered breaking into the neighbor's house to get a gun and end my life. Thank God we didn't own one. I had never been suicidal in my life until that point. I'm so thankful I would always snap out of it before doing anything I would regret. This was my life for 10 miserable and lonely months. I knew I had postpartum depression, maybe even psychosis. I wish I had told SOMEBODY. I dealt with it even after her colic was gone.

I hit an all time low when she weaned at close to a year and I told my husband what had been really been going on. He was shocked and all he could do was cry because he had no idea. He thought all the crying I was doing was normal because all of his friends said their wives did the same. I refused to see the doctor (even though I work for one). I would have some good days so I just ignored the bad ones.

My daughter is 2 1/2 now and the gut wrenching emotions that come with postpartum still creep up on me. I've just recently started feeling more like my old self again. I wish I had tried to get counseling early on. I feel like I missed out on so much because I was so consumed with the depression. I have not been to see my OB/GYN doc since my 2 week postpartum checkup and I have an appointment next week. I'm scared to death to go bc the wounds feel so fresh. I still can't talk about it without crying. I will be asking for something for anxiety for right now. I hope to get 100% back to my old self in the near future and consider another child. I've already started praying for my mental health next go round if we have another baby.


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