I fought postpartum depression after the birth of each of my four children, but after my daughter Clara was born in 2013, I nearly didn’t make it back to life and health. Clara’s birth was a high-stress emergency C-section with multiple complications. My husband feared he would lose us both.
Luckily, we both survived, and thought we were through the woods with the promise of sunlight ahead. But the deeper threat came later; during the long months of a bleak winter, I became more and more isolated and depressed. I cried every time I was in the shower, as the sound of the water masked the sounds of my sobbing. I truly thought that my family and my new baby would be better off without me. I had been on antidepressants before, but I had stopped taking them because I thought I was okay without them. I was wrong.
I finally admitted my dark thoughts to my mother and then to my husband. My mother was my lifeline. She called me several times a day and stayed on the phone with me for hours. I went back on medication, and my husband took the night shift with the baby, because the dark hours before dawn triggered my anxieties the most. Eventually, spring came and thawed my heart. It was like waking from a restless nightmare. I started to find joy in simple things–such as a bouquet of dandelions from one of my kids.
Additionally, I got a dog because it meant I would have to walk her frequently, forcing me to leave the house at least once a day. Armed with my stroller, my dog, and my sweet baby, I would face the world and walk in the sunshine. Slowly, I came back to myself, with the love of my family, medication, and walks in the sunshine. I am so grateful for my life. I am so glad I stayed to mother my children. There is help and light and hope ahead for you. Don’t give up. Keep walking!