Imagine being pregnant for nine months and being super excited to meet your bundle of joy. You have imagined the soon to be snuggles, and have excitedly waited for the moment of giving birth.
And when you do give birth, the beginning is just as magical as you imagined. I can still remember holding my son Ronald when he entered the world. He was a bundle of goo and warmth. I loved every freaking second of it. My world was laying in my arms. So tiny, and oh so fragile.
After you give birth you hope your body will go right back to the way it was. Hormonal imbalances take place and make you feel crazy.
On top of that, sleep deprivation from your newborn baby is taking over, and if you breastfed like I did there is the pain that no one really talks about in the beginning. The cracked bleeding nipples. Crying as your significant other hands you your child to feed because you know it’s going to hurt.
You begin to lose your sense of self. You feel like there is no time for “you-time” anymore. Being 100% responsible for another life is scary.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Mom Guilt creeps up on you. Self Doubt ensues. The question you keep asking yourself “Why can’t I figure out why my baby is crying.”
Anxiety over every little thing.
Then you find yourself crying for no reason. You’re irritated, and angry. You doubt yourself and your abilities to even be able to take care of a baby. Being able to focus/concentrate is a thing of the past.
That Bond you envisioned having with your child has become a pipe dream. Looking at your little one, you have feeling of resentment. You don’t want it, but it is there.
Diagnosing Postpartum Depression
There is usually a mandatory appointment with your OBGYN 6 weeks following the birth of your child to check on how things are doing. This is when you should talk to your provider about the feelings you are having. They will have you fill out an assessment tool specifically for postpartum depression. Only a Health Care Provider can diagnose you with postpartum depression.
Couldn’t I Just Have Baby Blues?
This depends, how long have you Been experiencing the feelings you have been having. Baby blues usually only lasts a week or two and typically goes away by itself. While Postpartum depression lingers overhead like a grey cloud, with no sign of how you have been feeling going away any time soon.
Treating Postpartum Depression
There are two main methods of treatment for postpartum depression, Medication and Talk Therapy. I recommend both.
My doctor prescribed me 25mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) This little blue pill was a total life saver.
Now don’t think that this was an overnight fix, it took a couple weeks for the pill to take an effect on my body. And after about a month, I noticed that it seemed to have leveled out and I was getting some feelings of saddness back. Instead of thinking the medication was not working, I talked to my provider about it and she increased my dose to 50mg. I have been on this does close to 9 months. [They are actually going to try and taper me off Zoloft here soon YAY]
I started seeing a therapist right after I spoke to my provider about how I was feeling, and having her diagnose me with postpartum depression. Having the ability to talk to someone about anything and everything was so cathartic. I learned some things about myself during this too. For instance I have social anxiety, I will envision different possible scenarios playing out before actually being in the situation.
You are in charge when it comes to talk therapy, you decide what you talk about. The therapist is there as a guide, but you set the direction of the discussion. Now if you don’t like having that much control, you can always tell your therapist that they can lead the discussion.
You Will Get Back to “Normal” Momma
Like I said before it wasn’t over night, but now I feel like I am back to my old self. I am happy, smiling, look at my baby with the utmost love. It took time.
I would not have changed the journey for anything. I learned so much about me, and gained patience.
Getting Help is the first step, and the rest is up to you!