Hope after Postpartum Depression

It’s actually quite odd because when I think back my entire pregnancy with Holden was quite different and to be honest dreadful at times. Beginning at about 5 months pregnant every week I was pretty sure he was going to pop out about every other week. I would be quickly and happily sent on my way back home after inspection. It wasn’t actually until 37 weeks he decided to come and change our lives forever.  If I thought the pregnancy was bad I had no idea how things could go from bad to worse.

From the time we brought him home I was unable to breastfeed due to his voracious appetite (he was demanding to be fed every 1 ½). I was just at a complete loss I never had any difficulty with his brother. On top of trying to keep up with his feedings, his older brother an only child for the past three years decided he was unwilling to share his life and toys with this new tiny person and insisted we return him to the hospital. Everything just began to jumble together and my life spiraled out of control leading to a sinking black hole that I would learn years later was postpartum depression.

This period by far was the most agonizing and dark days I can ever remember. Not so much for me but I to this day have guilt about the feelings and attitude I had towards Holden at the time. I wouldn’t touch him, I wouldn’t hold him I just slept and cried. I felt like a failure as a mother mainly due to the fact I was unable to breastfeed. I tried so hard every home remedy and old wives tale imaginable to man.

In the end after my husband finally coaxed me into bottle feeding in order to ensure Holden was getting the proper nutrition I just felt a complete and utter failure as a mom and a woman. To me being a mother and breastfeeding just seemed to go hand and hand, (the brochures and nurses at the hospital made it sound and seem so easy I figured what could go wrong.) I naively believed that you just put your child to your breast and you both instinctively knew what to do. It turns out by the way I wasn’t doing anything wrong; a) I had inverted nipples which had I been aware I could have dealt with before the birth, and b) no matter how I tried I just could not produce enough milk to keep up with this child of mine, (he’s still an eater today by the way).

I somehow got my life back under control with the huge support and help of my husband who there is no way I could have done without. I never admitted to anyone really about my postpartum depression just kind of moved past back into a normal routine and never once mentioned my downfall to my friends, family, or most importantly my doctor. My 2 children at the time and I escaped this period somehow unscathed despite my unwillingness to seek help or admit that it had even occurred. It was a period that lasted for about a total of a month where all I did was sleep and upon being awake cried along with Holden.

Now days postpartum depression is talked about so much more, due in part to a vast majority of celebrities such as Brooke Shields bringing attention to the issue. It is incredible that studies have found that 40% of women have been found to suffer from depression following pregnancy. I had no idea that such a high number existed. It does make me feel better that I am not alone and wish that I would have been more open with my doctor and found more of a support system. Unfortunately, not all women can find a silver lining at the end of it without treatment and have harmed themselves or even their children because they felt too ashamed or scared to seek help.

I did resolve my issues without medication or counseling and in my following 4 pregnancies never experienced it again but upon reflection and finding out the possible consequencesI would never recommend going without to anyone. It was a very dark period that I thankfully made through with the love and support of my husband, but it could have ended much differently. Not every experience or outcome is the same and if you do experience or even think you are possibly experiencing postpartum please seek help or support from someone even if it is to lend an ear or help you at help as you adjust to a new adventure in your life.