Postpartum depression, like a lot of mental illness, is not well understood. It affects a large percentage of women who have been pregnant. It can affect first time mothers, fifth time mothers, those who don’t carry their baby to full-term, and sometimes it can even affect fathers. The important part is that it can affect anyone, and it is not something to be ashamed of.
I have dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. I experienced anxiety as I entered my twenties, and when I miscarried last year, I experienced even greater depression and anxiety. I miscarried at 8 weeks, but because of preexisting health problems, this information wasn’t discovered until I was 13 weeks into the pregnancy. I was then told that it would be unwise to continue trying to get pregnant, as it could be potentially dangerous. This information broke my heart not just for me, but for my husband. I felt like it was my fault that I could not give him something I felt was so normal. I went into a deeper and darker depression.
I have never felt so trapped and out of control. I wish I could put into words how the depression felt, but it is not something that can be described. It scared me. One day I was out with a friend and had an anxiety attack, which is when I realized that something was really wrong. I finally went to the doctor. It was hard to talk about what I was feeling, and it was hard to explain how this dark fog was different than anything I had felt before. I was broken. This is when I learned something new about postpartum depression–it is not uncommon to experience postpartum depression after a miscarriage.
I may never have the same mind that I once did, but all kinds of things change us, and that is how we grow. I cannot control that my brain has a chemical imbalance. I have to take medication to stabilize the imbalance, but this is not my fault. I did nothing wrong.
I will be okay. Although I still have to fight depression on a daily basis, I know that I am better and I made it this far because I admitted I needed help. I have come to terms with how my life is, and I am perfectly content just being an aunt to my wonderful niece and nephews. One day I may adopt a child, I might foster a child, or I may never have my own kids. The future is mine to decide.