I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Disease), borderline personality disorder, and PTSD related to childhood domestic violence. All I ever wanted to be was a mother, but the PCOS made it almost impossible. I had lost many pregnancies, all of which were in very early stages. I had just about given up hope. However, on my 32nd birthday, I got a positive pregnancy test. I was at the doctor the next day, and we took every precaution to keep the pregnancy. It was a very rough pregnancy, and we almost lost the baby multiple times.
On June 20th, 2012, my labor started (I was exactly 37 weeks & 2 days). Labor went on for 52 hours before I was rushed into an emergency C-section. I was so scared. They strapped my arms down during the surgery, and due to a fever, I was shaking violently. The shaking injured a disc in my neck, which pinched a nerve and caused tremendous pain in both my arms. I was terrified and in pain. As soon as my daughter was born, they flooded my IV with pain medication, and I barely remember seeing my daughter’s face before they rushed her to the NICU. My daughter and I spent 4 full days in the hospital, with my daughter spending most of her time away from me in the NICU. Because of the complications I experienced, I wasn’t able to produce enough milk to feed her. This felt like my first failure as a mother.
Almost exactly 6 weeks after my daughter’s birth, my anxiety was off the charts. My depression was so intense I actually regretted ever wanting to be a mom in the first place. I felt like I had misjudged EVERYTHING I thought I knew about being a mother. Additionally, 5 months after my daughter was born, I had an ovary removed. This made everything much, much worse. In fact, I remember during this time writing a paper for school about Andrea Yates, and I connected with her so much that I was afraid to be alone with my child. At this point, I started anxiety medication to help calm the madness, but it also made me less capable of mothering my child.
My daughter is now almost 4 years old. I still struggle, but the postpartum depression and anxiety began to subside when she was almost 2. I’m in therapy, and I’ve learned so much about both postpartum depression and about myself. Postpartum depression is close to my heart as I have lived with it for almost half of my child’s life!
There is nothing worse than looking at the child you’ve spent your life longing for and not wanting her to be real because you feel too broken to be her mom. So many moms suffer in silence. Please get educated and discuss the issue during pregnancy, because not every woman has identifiable risk factors. Those around you need to know how to recognize signs that you may be suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety. Mostly, DON’T BE ASHAMED!