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 always liked kids and figured I’d be a mom one day, but I didn’t expect to get pregnant
so quickly. I began experiencing postpartum depression when I first learned I was
pregnant; I had depression the whole time. However, I figured the depression would go
away when I had my son, Oliver.
I began having nightmares that I was burying my son alive in the backyard. It got to the
point I would be checking the backyard in the middle of the night. I came into the house
covered in dirt and my husband asked what was wrong. I couldn’t bring myself to tell
I struggled physically with being pregnant and being sick constantly. I didn’t feel it was
celebratory in my life. I felt shame and guilt–I felt really afraid. Anytime someone
wanted to throw me a baby shower, I didn’t feel there was anything to celebrate.
According to everyone around me, my independent life was over. My freedom was over.
Everything around me was over.
My delivery was extremely traumatic because I experienced a placental abruption. My
placenta ruptured, and I began bleeding internally. I was hemorrhaging, and my son
was born by emergency surgery. When Oliver was born, he wasn’t crying. He had to
have his stomach pumped because he was choking on my blood. This caused me to
feel so much shame. I felt like because I had a complication that almost killed the both
of us, it was my fault.
Although I later told people I powered through this traumatic birth experience, I felt
exposed and vulnerable. I was in a lot of pain following my surgery. I felt guilty I couldn’t
breastfeed. I felt guilty that I didn’t get the golden hour everyone else gets. I felt like I
ruined my son’s life.
My son began sleeping at night, but I didn’t. I felt like he was going to die if I fell asleep.
I felt like he was going to choke to death or die of SIDS. I had debilitating mood swings–
I couldn’t stop crying, and I felt so numb to everything around me. I felt enraged for no
reason. I would wake up shaking. I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone about any of this, which
added to the isolation I felt as being a new mom.
Throughout my life, my mom was an alcoholic and had never been sober. She now has alcohol
related dementia, and after the birth of my son, I felt like I should kill myself if the generational
trauma was going to be repeated. My son was young enough he wouldn’t remember someone
like me. I hated myself and how different my body was. I also hated how bitter I became towards
everyone in my life. I felt like I was letting my son down by being his mom. I felt that the world
and my son would be better off without me. I began self-harming–the only relief I felt from my
mind was if I hurt myself. I began self-medicating. I never had issues with alcohol until I
experienced postpartum depression, but I began mixing sleeping medication with alcohol to try
and numb the thoughts I was having. I had thoughts I was going to hurt my son by burning him
in boiling water or by burying him. I wouldn’t hurt my son, but having these thoughts was
distressing. Even though I wanted to, I felt like I couldn’t share my thoughts and feelings with a
doctor because postpartum depression is so stigmatized. I knew my postpartum depression was
affecting so much of my family. I felt guilt, shame, and embarrassment. I read Emily’s story and
felt like I never related to someone more in my whole life.
Since then, I began therapy with an amazing therapist. I also began an outpatient
program that offered me more support over the last six weeks than I have had in thirty
years of being on this earth. I can’t thank them enough. To others experiencing
something similar, I would encourage you to keep fighting the good fight.