I was in the hospital for five days recovering from a C-section. My baby was born early and was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for seven days. I felt as though I was just going through the motions of being a new mom, but my baby stayed at the hospital and I was sent home. I felt like I was disappearing. How could I be feeling this way when I was supposed to be celebrating my child’s birth?
I struggled with postpartum depression with my three youngest children. My youngest baby, JoJo, is now thirteen months old and I still feel as though I am suffering with some of the symptoms of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression could begin any time within the year after a baby’s birth.
Some of the many signs of Postpartum depression include:
– Feeling tired or irritable
– Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
– Crying spells
– Having no energy or motivation
– Sleeping too little or too much
– Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
– Feeling worthless and guilty
– Loss of interest or pleasure
I inherited most all of these symptoms after having my youngest three children. I was so sad that I could not enjoy my last baby. During my last pregnancy, my husband and I made the decision for me to have a tubectomy because of complications with all of my pregnancies. My obstetrician also encouraged me in making this difficult decision. Even though I knew I had to do it, I still struggled to make the decision. A tubectomy is permanent and cannot be reversed. This guilt accompanying this decision was overwhelming!
During my periods of PPD my hubby and I were struggling with our marriage. We were both lacking sleep, struggling to transition our third child into her own bed, experiencing extended family drama and enduring numerous teenage headaches. The extra stress with having a toddler and a new baby was rough. Sadly, my two oldest were feeling the wrath of our stressful family dynamic because unfortunately we were not able to give them enough one on one time! Having PPD felt like it was the lowest point of my entire life!
While struggling with depression, I learned who was real and who was fake in my life! I lost many people I thought I could count on. People began to kick me when I was down! I began to examine my circle of friends and family and I realized I was allowing people to come in to my home that did not deserve a seat at my table! Not having the support I needed, I reevaluated my relationships and surrounded myself with positive people that had only good intentions.
Being a postpartum depression survivor has helped me grow so much spiritually. I have grown so much in many other ways too! I have gained best friends and reestablished bonds with my mother and my aunts. My husband and I are on a path of true happiness and I feel truly blessed! I cannot tell you how grateful I feel to have these people in my life. I am living proof that you can survive a storm and come out stronger than ever!
My advice to anyone suffering from postpartum depression is to reach out to your doctor. Allow people to help you! It is okay to feel vulnerable and to allow positive people in to your life! Ask for help. Having a newborn baby is challenging. The months of sleepless nights feel endless. Being unable to calm your baby can bring on feelings of hopelessness.
Please know, you are not alone and postpartum depression is very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If you settled on an average of 15% of four million births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone.