I first experienced symptoms of depression after graduating high school, at which point I started medication and therapy. Little did I know what the road ahead would entail for my life, including the lives of my future family.
After marrying, I soon began a family and gave birth to a baby boy. Shortly after taking my baby home, I felt depressed and cried all the time. I thought I should be incredibly happy, but I was not. After meeting with a psychiatrist, I briefly improved, but things quickly worsened after a miscarriage and another pregnancy in quick succession. After a difficult pregnancy that was filled with anxiety, things only worsened after the birth of my second son, as I had never resolved my initial postpartum depression .
A cross-country move soon made things even more difficult, particularly because we had no health insurance to help with therapy and medication costs. This stress, along with an eating disorder I had struggled with for years, made my life overwhelming and a constant struggle. On top of this, I became pregnant again and my third son was born prematurely. With a husband in school and 3 small boys, the postpartum depression caused significant weight loss and mental instability.
After another pregnancy when my youngest baby was less than a year old, my mental instability culminated in a postpartum psychosis that caused my world to crash down around me. The postpartum depression from all of my pregnancies and deliveries seemed to compound together, and it took almost a decade of hard work, medical intervention, and perseverance to reach recovery.
I believe people need more education on postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as information on the risks of leaving it untreated. Please reach out to others and offer support. Being aware of the symptoms and seeking help will allow us to protect our loved ones. No one needs to be ashamed of their struggle. Do not suffer silently. You are not damaged; there is help and hope ahead.