Last week I asked all the mamas on Social Media what might be one thing they wish they knew more about before having their baby. I've received so many answers for all sorts of different topics, but the most popular of them all was about Postpartum Depression. I realized there aren't many new parents who are aware of what this is and how exactly to deal with it, so I asked moms to share their stories in hopes that we can bring awareness and let all mothers that are going through this know that it's ok.
Many moms shared their incredible stories, and Tania's experience is one I'd like to share.
Tania: "I think the main reason for my Postpartum Depression was the emergency c-section I had to have.
My first baby was delivered vaginally but the epidural didn't work on my body very well and I was only numb half way. That was terrifying! I prepared mentally for the second delivery, telling myself that the epidural won't work well again. I was so brave when it was time for this second baby! I was in labor for 18 hours and everything was going great! The epidural actually worked this time, but unfortunately things went downhill from there.
My baby turned and my cervix got swollen which was the reason why I had to be taken to the OR for an emergency c-section. That was the moment when I accepted that I had to do whatever I needed for my baby. I thought I accepted the fact that I had to get cut open.
When my baby was born, I was asked if I wanted him on my chest and I said "no". Not because I didn't want him but because I felt defeated. All that was going through my head was "18 hours in labor just to end up being cut open".. This followed me for months to come.
Coming home was the worst! The fact that I needed help to get on and off the bed killed me. I felt vulnerable.
I reached out to a few moms that had c-sections and they all told me "it will take time". I tried taking it day by day, one step at a time, but there was not a day when I wouldn't cry. I hated having people over because I'd feel anxious around them, yet I would cry when they'd leave. I cried and cried when my husband went back to work and I felt so lonely. I felt helpless, even worthless!
Anxiety started to creep on me when baby was about 2 weeks old. I felt helpless hearing him cry. It hurt carrying him. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without my husband. I would get so mad at him because I really wanted to be in his shoes. I didn't understand why it was me that had to deal with the recovery of the c-section, and how it was possible that my baby was only calm with him and not with me.
Everyday was a battle. For my 6th week appointment I was tested for depression and I was told to seek help because I had PPA (Postpartum Anxiety). Me, being a pharmacy tech and knowing the side effects of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, I refused to go to a professional. I tried handling it all by myself the ‘natural’ way.
Through these months I felt like a burden. When anxiety creeped on me I questioned if my family was better off without me. I felt that my husband deserved someone better because he was doing so much for me! I didn't know it then, but that was just my anxiety/depression playing with me!!!
I tried talking to family and friends about the way I felt. My husband knew what was going on but sometimes he didn’t know how to help. His support was more than enough though! He pushed me to make time for myself (pedicures, eating out with my girlfriends etc.). He would even stay with the baby at night so I can go get a full night sleep in the guest room. Through all those months of fighting Postpartum depression and trying to feel like my old self again, I was extremely thankful for my husband and the people around me that were trying to help me feel better.
Now, after a year I know that it wasn’t really me feeling all of that. I would say that it took me about one full year to feel completely normal again--no medicine, no professional help, just lots of support from my husband mainly and lots of self-focus and self-loving, but most importantly GOD!!! Every time that anxiety tries to follow me again, I pray and pray and pray and it all goes away. Every time I talk to someone about this experience I cry, I even cried writing you this. The way my mentality was exactly a year ago to how it is now, it is a whole different mind!!! I’m amazed!!!
My advice to all the moms in the dark is to NEVER EVER be ashamed of the way you feel and speak up!
I even had a calendar fixed up all pretty each month to kind of motivate myself to look forward to “something” every day, even if it was “grocery day”. Up to this day I keep up with that calendar on my fridge. Do whatever you need to make you look forward to “something”. Accepting that you are not ok is the most important step into feeling yourself again, so just take it one day at a time!
Thank you to Tania for sharing her incredible story with us. I hope more moms can realize that they are not alone, and going through Postpartum Depression doesn't make you any less of an amazing mother that you already are!