Disclaimer: The following article mentions the topic of suicide or other sensitive subjects, which may trigger negative thoughts and feelings for those currently suffering or still recovering from a mental or mood disorder. Reader discretion is advised.
I suffered from PTSD, depression, and anxiety due to trauma I experienced during my teenage years. After nearly 10 years of counseling, antidepressants, lots of love from family and friends, and much work on my part, I truly had never felt better and felt I had finally gained back control of my mind.
Fast-forward to January 2015 when I found out I was pregnant. I had been told I couldn’t get pregnant, so it was quite the surprise. At my first ultrasound appointment, I found out I was pregnant with TWINS; I was in shock for quite a few weeks. During the pregnancy, I stopped taking my antidepressants and stayed as healthy as possible. I felt that my twins were my saving grace. After a few weeks off my medicine, I surprisingly felt better. I hoped that maybe I would also be ok after having the babies–then maybe, just maybe, I would be completely better.
I struggled physically with the pains of growing so fast, and I ended up spending a good amount of my time resting and trying to comprehend what was coming. I was so excited but also very nervous. Then, around 35 weeks, I began to really struggle to move, was in severe pain, and was swollen. One night, I decided I couldn’t handle it anymore and needed hospitalization. In labor and delivery, I found out I had preeclampsia, but my doctor said it was my choice to deliver or not. Considering that my babies might end up in the NICU if I delivered early, I decided to wait it out; it was a very long week. It was a struggle to consult with my busy doctor, and I continued to swell to the point of not being able to walk. I had to be helped with literally every single aspect of daily living.
One morning, a nurse said I looked much worse. After a round of tests, we found that my lungs were full of fluid and the C-section was quickly scheduled. During the procedure, I told the doctors I wasn’t completely numb yet, but they continued the operation until I screamed in pain. I was then given additional medication and fought to stay awake. I wanted to be present for the birth of my babies. I remember them showing me one of my boys, who was blue all over . . . then I woke up in the recovery room. They brought me the healthy twin and told me the other was in the NICU. I could barely hold him or stay awake. For the next few days, I fought for my life and felt so close to death. I wanted to hold my babies. I wanted so badly to go to the NICU and see my baby; I hadn’t even met both twins yet. It took 3 days before I had the strength to meet my other son.
When we finally made it home, I knew my road to recovery was going to be difficult. But, I was determined to be a good mother. I began to heal physically, but I also began to notice my anxiety and depression coming back. I fought with myself mentally for 4 months, reassuring myself that I went the whole pregnancy without medication. I began snapping at my boyfriend and family over everything. Panic attacks started again; my mind was beginning to spin out of control. I decided to stop being stubborn and go talk to my doctor, at which point I started on antidepressant medication. It helped, but not enough. I started having disturbing thoughts and feelings, such as how getting in my car and driving into a pole would be the best option for everyone. I knew deep down that those thoughts were not the answer, but it was debilitating to feel so out of control, lost, hurt, upset, and confused. My doctor and I adjusted my medication dosage, and I have a wonderful mom who is very supportive. Additionally, I began counseling and continued to progress. Although I’m still struggling, I’m still here.
Finding out that I was not alone in my struggle has helped immensely. I’m slowly climbing out of my darkness with the help of my loved ones. I will be better one day; I will get past this. Being able to remind myself I’m not alone is a wonderful step in my journey. I hope my story can show that even if you’re still struggling, it is ok. It’s ok to admit you need help. Although difficult, it’s ok to say that you struggle with postpartum depression. Thanks to the supportive people in my life, I will climb out of my darkness one day at a time.