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.
Growing up, being a mother was always my dream. For years, I always had my baby dolls everywhere I went and would play make believe “house” with friends. Later, when my husband and I found out we were pregnant, it was the most excited and scared I had been in my whole life! I struggled with morning sickness and remember thinking “I will never do this again. Who wants to be pregnant again after feeling this sick?” Gradually, after the morning sickness subsided, pregnancy was a wonderful experience until I was 30 weeks along.
I had been diagnosed with the PUPPP rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules & Plagues of Pregnancy), and I was miserable with constant itching. My body was covered in this rash, and I couldn’t get any relief. I cried a lot and just wanted to feel normal. I was told the rash would go away after delivery. However, while the rash did start to get better after the birth of my daughter, I found out I had also contracted scabies from a relative I visited while pregnant. I still was extremely itchy and continued to have huge welts. Because I was also trying to breastfeed my daughter (which was a horrible experience for me), I passed scabies onto my newborn. She didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep. I was not thinking clearly, and I would cry every single morning when my husband left for work.
One day when my daughter was only 2 weeks old, I had what felt like an out-of-body experience where I saw myself walking over to the large window in our dining room and throwing her through the glass. I was scared that I saw myself doing this. Even though I told my doctor, she assured me I was normal and would feel better. I didn’t crawl out of my extreme postpartum anxiety and depression until my daughter was a year old.
Once I started to feel better, I was so upset I didn’t get the help I desperately needed. I didn’t know how or why I felt the way I did, and I am sad that I missed out on my daughter’s first year of life because I was so mentally ill. I put on a good show for everyone, particularly because I had everything I had always wanted. Secretly, I vowed to never have more children because I never wanted to go through that darkness every again.
A few years ago, I began taking medication for panic attacks and anxiety, which slowly started creeping back into my life. This medication gave me my life back; I feel human again. Also, I am excited to share I am pregnant again, and I feel good going into this journey. My doctor and I have agreed I should stay on my medication throughout this pregnancy.
I share my story now because women are amazing. Mothers are amazing and it is okay to talk about this–you are not alone. Trust that what you are feeling is something that can be fixed. It is okay to be honest with your spouse and family. It is ok to seek help; you don’t need to hide or feel ashamed.