My Story: After the birth of my daughter I expected a little anxiety, what I didn't expect was to experience 5 years of what felt like an overstayed bout of postpartum anxiety and depression. I had this plan in my head about how perfect bringing her into the world would be, but fate didn't rule in my favor.
I was miserable while I was pregnant and I already felt so guilty that my body wasn't supporting my pregnancy like a woman's should. After numerous bed rest orders I ended up gaining 70 pounds (a lot of which was fluid) and did good to waddle around. After blood pressure shot up at 38 weeks, due to pain, I was put in the hospital to be induced.
I was induced on December 31 and spent the entire next day in labor. In that time I had 2 epidurals and I don't even know how much other pain medication, it just wouldn't work. I felt everything and I couldn't breathe (I wasn't sure, but I thought the pain would mostly be in your abdomen and vagina, but the pain I felt there was a breeze compared to the 300 pound weight it felt like was crushing my chest and upper back).
After a day or more it was FINALLY time to push, THANK GOD!!!!! Of course as my luck would have it pushing 2 hours to no avail I ended up in the operating room for an emergency c-section.
It was my nightmare, my body had officially failed me.
At that point I still wasn't numb so they put me under. My daughter was born on January 2nd and her first cry I didn't hear, the fist thing she felt wasn't me, and I was far from the first person she saw. I missed it all and I was devastated. Just writing about it, tears are rolling down my face.
Due to the heavy amount of medication I was given, I was out for 2 hours after her birth. For 2 hours my daughter was alive and crying in an incubator before she touched my arms. I woke groggy and barely able to hold up my own head. I finally got to meet her. Unfortunately my sad news didn't end there. They brought her to me and the first thing they told me was, "she seems fine and we think it was just from the labor, but there's something wrong with her head".
I looked and unable to even comprehend what they were telling me I kissed and held her. The emotions I felt the first 2 days after I had her were mostly just numbness. It all felt so surreal. I think that was in part due to blood loss, I ended up with 2 blood transfusions after delivery and after a week long stay in the hospital we were finally released. That's when things got worse.
I found out then that my daughter had craniostenosis, and would require a very serious surgery before her 1st birthday.
My pp became severe and persisted. I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was a failure. To top it off my milk didn't come in and I had to bottle feed. I was incapable of doing what every woman was able to do. My body struggled to carry this baby, My body was unable to bring her safely and peacefully into the world, I was incapable of providing her nourishment, and now she had a birth defect that I couldn't help but think was my fault too. What did I do wrong? I asked myself every day.
I became so overprotective I didn't allow anyone to help take care of her. She was mine and I would not fail at anything else. Her surgery came and went when she was 9 months old and she did wonderfully, but I still couldn't let go.
She didn't sleep through the night until she was 3, so that translated to I didn't get a full nights sleep for almost 4 years. YIKES!! (No wonder I was a hormonal emotional wreck). However, now she is in Kindergarten and has severe separation anxiety <---- definitely my fault considering she never left my side.
I'm told it's a manifestation of parental separation anxiety. So, although I manage much better, here I am still feeling like I've failed her. I know that I am a good mom, and everything I do is with her in mind, but those horrible feelings just won't give me peace. I don't know if this is still pp or my pp just manifested into something else, but I can't stop trying to make it up to her. I've been told I am trying to overcompensate for the things that I had no control over, but I think I just want to prove to her and myself that I am a great mom and despite my failing body I can do what a great mom should be able to do.
But despite sleepless nights spent making sure she has the perfect Halloween costume, perfect party, or perfect Christmas... I wouldn't trade it for the world. In the end, although the hard feelings are there and persistent, the joy she brings me overshadows it all and the guilt and depression seem a little less intrusive.
Heather Harris | Georgia | Mama to Kinley, 5 | Connect with Heather on Facebook