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Stephanie

stephanie

Since I was little, I always wanted children. I began babysitting at age 11 and never stopped until I had my own children. In fact, my first child was only 3 months old when I became pregnant for the second time. During this pregnancy, my husband noticed my mood had changed. However, we just assumed it was because the pregnancy was causing pain and taking its toll on my body.

After my second child was born, it didn’t get better. We finally came to the realization that I was suffering from postpartum depression. We thought we could beat it without professional help, and I was worried if I told anyone I would risk losing my kids. For four years, we tried to deal with it. We met with religious leaders, our parents, and friends (pretty much everyone except those who could actually offer professional help).

Additionally, I became pregnant with our third child. We were so excited to welcome our newest child, but our family was concerned because of the struggles we were dealing with on a daily basis. Things definitely became more challenging during delivery. I had a fever, and the medical team said they would be taking my baby to the NICU after the birth. I absolutely did not want them to take my baby away from me, and even wished I had never gone to the hospital.

My baby was born and they let me hold him. However, they talked to my husband about taking my son to the NICU. Against my wishes, my husband had them take my baby. I had a breakdown. To this day, it breaks my heart thinking about that day. I felt the doctors, nurses, and my husband were all against me. I was alone and without my baby. Even after speaking with a psychiatrist, I felt like I was on trial. That day, I felt like I lost control.

Three days later, my baby and I were home, but not healed. The next months were a complete struggle. Postpartum depression kicked in and I cried more often than not. Nights were spent with both my baby and me in tears. While my husband was at work, I had moments of helplessness. My baby would be crying, my other kids would be asking for lunch, and the house a mess. I would call and beg my husband to come home and help. My least favorite answer he gave was, “You are making this more complicated than it is.” He didn’t know, but in my mind, even the simplest task seemed impossible. I was suffering, my children were suffering, and my husband was suffering.

The day I finally sought help (the right kind of help) was a scary one. I was having a meltdown, and my husband mentioned calling the police. I believed him and once again was scared out of my mind. I couldn’t control this, and I didn’t want to be this way! Why was I being punished for something I could not control? I told him I would make a doctor’s appointment to get help.

The doctor spoke with us very openly and prescribed medication. After taking even a small dose, I was getting better. I also found essential oils, which combined with antidepressants, helped me feel even better. Taking my husband to the doctor was beneficial because educating him on what was going on made him more understanding of my issues. He finally saw it wasn’t my fault. Currently, my doctor also wants me to meet with a psychiatrist to ensure all my problems are being treated. Though I am not crying in bed every other day, I still struggle and am not fully healed.

My current struggle is that I am a full-time working mother with young children. Where I live, there is a wait of up to three months to see a mental health professional. There are just not enough doctors or facilities in the area; this needs to change. We need more facilities and services for women like me who struggle on a daily basis to survive. I survive each day when I should be enjoying it. People need to be more educated about invisible illnesses. We should not have to endure this in silence. Coming from a woman who is still struggling with postpartum depression a year after delivery, I believe that we need love, understanding, and easier access to help. I am not giving up–I love my children and husband too much to give up.