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.
After I had my first 2 babies within 3 years, I wondered if postpartum depression was real. I felt like I was living the perfect dream, and I couldn’t grasp why someone could feel so alone and hopeless while having so much joy in their home. Fast forward 3 years, and I have a very real understanding of postpartum depression.
My beautiful baby boy was born recently, and it was the perfect delivery. I had an emergency C-section with my first child, and with the tough labor beforehand, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy her. My second baby had trouble breathing, and so I didn’t get to hold her for over 6 hours. When I had my third child, he was perfectly healthy, and I felt great. I really thought I was the luckiest mom. My son was an amazing newborn, but a few weeks after delivery, I started feeling hopeless. I would lie on his floor at night crying and pleading with my Heavenly Father to help me be happy. Why wasn’t I happy?!
I started yelling at my girls and snapping at my husband for no reason. Finally, I realized it was really bad when one night I yelled at my 4-week-old baby. I blamed him for not letting me get enough sleep and for the stress that was causing me to be like this. Not only did I blame my sweet, innocent baby, but I also blamed myself for not being a good enough mom. I started thinking that my children would be better growing up without me, and even entertained thoughts of suicide. I put on a happy face whenever others were around, but I felt anything but happy. I felt so alone.
My husband has many religious responsibilities, and I started resenting my religion for taking him away from our family so often. I wondered why I had started feeling this way when before I had excelled at being a supportive spouse. I knew it would be hard with him gone a lot, but as I slipped further into my depression, I really started questioning everything and everyone around me. My husband thankfully was in tune enough with me that he could see me slipping into a dark hole and was able to persuade me to seek professional help.
I started taking medication, but it didn’t get better right away. Was I going to make it until the medication started helping? One of my saving graces was a sweet friend who stopped by frequently to see how I was. I think she was one of the few on the outside who had seen me at my lowest point. She realized how much I was struggling and helped me through the next few weeks. I started feeling better slowly, and finally I was grateful to be a mom again. Postpartum depression is not something you can talk yourself out of–it is very REAL, and the feelings that come with it are unimaginable. I have accepted that medication can help me to be a better mom. Since my experience, I have realized how much new mothers need help. We are in this together, and it really does take a village to raise a child.