The goal of the Mental Health Mom Series is for Moms and Moms-to-be to share their stories to be used to help inspire, uplift and spread awareness about mental health and motherhood. Whether you suffer from depression, PPD, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder or something else your story may help change the life of another mom reader and that’s important to me!
I’ve finally sat down to write this. It’s not that it’s hard for me to talk about, or that I don’t want anyone to know, it’s just personal. This is a public forum and this is a personal story but I finally feel ready to share. PPD is the reason I got into blogging. I needed an outlet, something to occupy my mind. I needed a way to find out that I wasn’t alone. Thus my first blog, The NO Drama Mama, was born. Kind of an ironic title, clearly I was experiencing drama, but whatever.
When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, my mom expressed her concern that I may experience PPD. I had already been on medication for depression, I’m predisposed to it. I had already stopped taking the medication before getting pregnant and had done very well off of it. During the pregnancy, I didn’t experience anything unusual emotions wise (other than the obvious…hello! I was pregnant!) or mentally so I was feeling pretty confident. I thought that I would just be so happy and overjoyed with my little boy that I wouldn’t experience anything negative.
Fast forward to January 21, 2012. Mr. G was born at 11:05 PM and they finally took him to the nursery at around 2:00 AM so we could get some sleep. They told me they would bring him back in about 2 hours to feed him and just knowing that I would get to see him again, I couldn’t sleep! Plus, I hadn’t eaten in about 24 hours so that was a priority too. Throughout the two-ish days, we were in the hospital, we had many visitors, I had family come in from out of state, it was all very exciting kind of a whirlwind. I remember sitting in my room, waiting to be discharged, just staring at Mr. G and feeling this love squeeze my heart so hard that it practically hurt. I never even thought for one second about PPD. This was my new, incredible, precious life.
Our first night home was my first dose of reality. We didn’t have a bassinet, I didn’t think we would really need one. We lived in an apartment and were right next to his room that I felt close enough. Not the case! I couldn’t sleep. I laid awake on the couch in Mr. G’s room sobbing while he slept in the crib and hubs tried very hard to sleep on the floor to keep me company. I called my mom at 4 AM and uttered 2 words,”Come now.” I’m always conscious of being a polite person, however, there was no please or thank you or any other nicety. But she knew I was experiencing severe anxiety about my child’s well being.
Those four awful letters kept swirling around in my head. S. I. D. S. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t even sleep when someone else was there to watch him. I was convinced, in my hormonal mind, that if I was not watching him, he would die.
As I started to come down off of the pregnancy hormones, the anxiety gained a new friend. Depression. I didn’t want to wake up. When my husband would kiss me goodbye for work, I would be filled with dread that I would be alone and still have to function as a mother. I didn’t want to function. I wanted to lie in bed all day, sleep, and wake up when he got back. But of course, I couldn’t do that. I had a newborn that depended on me for everything. I loved him more than life itself but I just didn’t want to do anything. I was still trying to breastfeed at this time too and anytime we had a little trouble, I would get insanely frustrated. It wasn’t becoming a bonding experience for me, it turned into a chore.
Then I stopped eating. Completely. I can’t even remember if I even drank coffee, which you know is a passion of mine! Each day, the only way I got myself to force down one protein bar, was knowing that I had to feed my child. If I didn’t eat, I wouldn’t produce what I needed to for him to eat.
I remember my sister-in-law coming over to take me out of the apartment for some fresh air with Mr. G. I didn’t want to go but at the same time, it was so good to see a friendly, loving face that when she went back home I just wanted to cry.
Just about every time I talked to my mom on the phone, I was in tears. She came over almost every afternoon after work to be with me while hubs was still at work. One day she told me that this was enough and that I didn’t need to continue to suffer. She had me call my OB/GYN to schedule an appointment and off we went to get me some help.
When I stepped on the scale at my appointment, just about 30 days after Mr. G was born, I had lost 30 pounds. I only gained 35 during my entire pregnancy. There was clearly something wrong, and after telling my doctor what I was experiencing emotionally and mentally, I was put back on the medication I had been off of for about 2 years. Unfortunately, this meant that I would have to stop breastfeeding. The unknown risk of long-term effects was not something I wanted to risk on my child.
A short time after going on the medication, I began to “see the light” so to speak. Motherhood became what I thought it should be. I enjoyed taking care of my child. I began to get out of the house and enjoy my time to myself again. Even waking up before Mr. G for a little extra me time! And that’s where I am now.
I want to wean off the medication soon, I do plan on having more children eventually, but for right now it’s what works. I’m not ashamed to say that I am on medication or furthermore, that I NEED it. At this moment in my life, that’s just the way it is and I’m not the only one.