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.
As I sat in my hospital bed preparing to give birth, I realized I had mixed feelings about having a child. Reality hit, and I thought to myself, “I’m going to have a baby that will depend on me for everything.” My panic increased as delivery neared, and I kept repeating over and over “I can’t do this!” I wasn’t afraid of childbirth, but afraid instead that I wasn’t fit to take care of a child.
After my son was born, I expected to feel amazing. But, all I could think was, “Why did I do this? I made a mistake. I don’t want to be a mom.” I felt numb. I was exhausted, trying to breastfeed was immensely frustrating, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I sobbed at the thought of being released from the hospital and having my husband leave me home with the baby while he went to work.
In spite of my exhaustion, I would wake up in a panic nearly 15 times a night to check that my son was breathing. I was pumping breast milk for my son, and it began to consume me. I didn’t feel like I could sit down every 90 minutes to pump; it was pushing me more and more into the dark. I had no connection to my son, and I instead only felt obligated to take care of him. Every time we went to a family member’s house, I would just hand him off so that I could have a moment of silence to myself.
The days went on, and I started thinking of every way my son could get hurt or die. I remember picking him up and squeezing him tight to my chest because I was obsessed with the thought that someone could step on him and he would die. I would lie in bed staring at the ceiling for hours, thinking that my husband and baby would just be better off without me. My son deserved a better mom, and my husband deserved a better wife. With all these thoughts going through my head, I knew I needed to see a doctor.
I was diagnosed me with severe postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. I was prescribed medication and told that it might take 6 weeks to begin working. During this time, I hit my breaking point. I got home from work one night exhausted, and my husband and I began arguing. I started crying and went into my bedroom. I remember feeling so numb to everything. I fell to the floor screaming at the top of my lungs because I just wanted to feel something. My husband came in, and I begged him to take me to the emergency room because I wanted to kill myself. I wanted this feeling to go away, and that’s the only way I saw an ending. My husband was very unsupportive of my cry for help, and I felt hopeless. I cried myself to sleep, feeling so very lonely. I wanted my husband to hold me and tell me we would get through this and these feelings wouldn’t last forever.
From that day forward, I promised myself that I would get support. I could no longer do this on my own or stay silent. I finally told someone about my experiences, and I have been doing so much better. Additionally, working out had really helped me feel stable. I finally hit the 3 month mark with my son, and for the first time I want to pick my son up and hold him. Before, I just held him so he would stop crying because it gave me anxiety. It is the best feeling in the world to want to love and care for my son.
I ask every woman with postpartum depression to find help because it can be deadly. My heart hurts for every woman that suffers because I know it’s the deepest, darkest feeling. Please seek help–you are worth it!