My daughter was born at 37 weeks, and I wanted so badly to have a natural birth. We did everything that most parents-to-be do, including creating a birth plan and taking multiple classes. However, in spite of my hope for a natural birth, due to preeclampsia I was attached to countless amounts of wires, tubing, and monitors as I was induced. Looking back, I know that preeclampsia saved my daughter’s life. She was born at just four pounds. As it turns out, I was unknowingly dealing with IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). I now know that had I gone any longer in the pregnancy, I may not have her here today.
After a long and dramatic delivery, we took home an extremely tiny and sickly baby.
As the weeks after a brutal C-section passed, life was going from bad to extremely bad. My daughter was getting sicker and sicker, and it got to the point where I felt like a robot.
It wasn’t until my daughter was about three months old that I was aware I might have postpartum depression, which brought on feelings of shame. “I just had this beautiful baby, and I don’t want her” is not very motherly, after all. For me, I felt absent in my own life. Although I did experience dark thoughts, overall I didn’t feel sad, happy, or anything for that matter. I felt like I was on autopilot.
For me, the hardest part of admitting that I had postpartum depression was that I had no idea what it meant. I had no idea what was happening to me, and I had no idea when it would end. With my husband by my side, we sought help. First we saw my general practitioner. Along with medication, I needed intense psychological therapy. My therapist helped me work through the feelings of guilt, dismay, and hopelessness.
The way postpartum depression was described to me is that it is like a cloud, hovering over your head. Eventually, the cloud just lifts. I didn’t believe this. I didn’t think it would ever end because in the middle of all of this, my husband worked extremely long hours and I was alone with a very sick baby. No one understood the severity of how sick she was because many thought I was the paranoid new mom.
However, the cloud did lift. I am almost 4 years past the initial postpartum depression. If you are reading this, please know that you are not alone in how you feel. For the sake of yourself and your family, please know this can target any mom and it is not your fault. With the right treatment, you can conquer this. If you do not feel like yourself, or you think you may have it, please find someone you trust that can help you. If you are reading this, know that I am proof postpartum depression can be overcome. Do not give up your fight. You will conquer this!