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How I Survived Postpartum Depression

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I was so excited that I went out and bought all the current baby books, and all of my focus went into making sure I did everything I could to have a healthy baby. I wanted to learn how to be the best parent I could be. I read every chapter, learning how my daughter was developing and learning about childbirth. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I was trying to decide if I would be able to handle the pain and have a natural birth or if I would need an epidural. I created my birthing plan and did everything I could to prepare.

I can remember skipping over the parts in the books that talked about postpartum depression. The only times I had heard about postpartum depression were in news stories about women killing or hurting their kids. I was so excited to become a mother that I knew I wouldn’t want to hurt my child, so I didn’t think I needed that information.

Stress ruled my life.

I worked in retail as a store director while I was pregnant. To say it was stressful would be a huge understatement. I was understaffed during some of the busiest times of the year. My blood pressure was high, and my obstetrician was telling me I needed to slow down and relax. Then, I developed gestational diabetes. It seemed like no matter what I did, nothing was working out as I planned. Pregnancy was supposed to be a happy time, but all I could do was worry, about everything. I worried about taking time off since I was shorthanded at work. I worried about being able to take care of a baby. I worried about the whole birthing process. Everything was new and I felt so alone.

About two weeks from my due date, I woke up dizzy. I had to hold onto the wall to get to the bathroom. My head felt like it was spinning. My husband and I called my doctor and headed to the emergency room. Once we got to the emergency room, they checked my vitals and ran some tests. My blood pressure was high, and my doctor put me on bed rest. I was instructed to lay in bed on my left side until my daughter was born. I felt panicked and did as I was told.

Bed rest allowed me to say no to other’s requests.

I did as I was instructed, turned off work phone, and relaxed for the first time in a long time. Early that next morning, my water broke. My husband and I gathered ourselves, got our bags, and went to the hospital. I got checked in, we called family, and nothing went according to plan.

My birth plan went out the window.

My blood pressure was skyrocketing, I was in labor all day, and I still wasn’t dilating. My doctor told me I had to have a cesarean section. I was terrified. I had my daughter via cesarean, and I was so excited to finally hold her in my arms. I began breastfeeding her right away. A couple of days went by, we were home, and I was completely overwhelmed. I was healing, but my milk wouldn’t come in, and I was still dizzy.

I eventually had to move to formula for my daughter because my milk just wouldn’t come in. I felt like I was failing her. My ob/gyn referred me to my general physician because my blood pressure was still high, and he didn’t know what was causing my dizziness.

Time to get some answers.

I went to see my general physician and he started asking questions, asking me if I was crying and feeling overwhelmed. I said yes, but isn’t that normal?

He continued talking to me and informed me that I had postpartum depression. I just started crying and kind of dazed out. He said I needed to contact him if I felt suicidal or felt like hurting my daughter.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and I felt like a complete failure.

I took the medicine he prescribed, and it helped. I never wanted to hurt my daughter or myself, I was just really hard on myself. I told myself that I was a failure as a wife and mother and that I didn’t deserve to be either. Things slowly got better and after about a year, I felt like a cloud lifted and I was back to my old self.

Looking back.

As I look back now, nine years later, I can understand why I felt like I did. I put too much pressure on myself, and I expected everything to go as planned. These days, I try to be more spontaneous and to go with the flow. I’m also not afraid to ask others for help. Having postpartum depression taught me what was important in life, my family. They are my focus now.

Don’t be afraid to get help.

If you are dealing with postpartum depression, please get help. Know that it is nothing you did, and it doesn’t make you a bad mom or bad person. Most of all, it does not mean you don’t love your child.

Parenting is hard. Give yourself some grace, and you will get through it.



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