Thing 1 was 2 years 9 months when Thing 2 was born. I had a healthy baby and a normal birth experience (quite a treat after T1’s traumatic birth).
I was certain I would adjust to having 2 kids just fine.
I was wrong.
The first 10 months were SOOOO hard.
- Unable to do normal tasks (imagine dirty church clothes from Sunday still on the living room floor on Thursday)
- Lonely and felt I had no support
- I felt very detached from those around me
I went Looking for help
I went to a therapist when T2 was about 6 months old because I was so angry and losing my temper with T1. Spanking him and yelling, something that is not congruent with who I am. The therapist was not helpful at all, saying, “It is normal to lose your temper and sometimes spank your kids.” I thought I must be a bit crazy if he was telling me I was normal, because I felt anything but normal! I never went back to him and tried to help myself.
I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I got some books on anger management. I started doing Fly Lady to help me get some routines and get control of my environment. The simple routines I set up helped me to feel less overwhelmed and better able to deal with daily life. Some of the anger management tips helped too.
Waking up and Finally Realizing
Then one day when T2 was 10 months old I “woke up” and suddenly the sun was shining and I was happy. It was at that point that I realized I had been depressed, that I had had Post Partum Depression.
I was still angry. This time with the stupid therapist! He never did a screening for PPD, he never asked about anything related to that. Now years later I realize that most therapists have NO training in PPD. There is maybe a footnote about it under depression, but no real training. If a mom is having issues after having a baby, she should see someone who specializes in or at least has training in PPD.
I am not sure what exactly brought me out of PPD. I was still nursing T2, so it wasn’t a hormonal change. I know that the routines from Fly Lady helped me feel more power in my home and that may have helped. I will never know, but I was so happy to be myself again.
Why did I get PPD?
Looking back I can pinpoint a few things that may have contributed to it.
Disconnection may have started during the birth?
- I got nubain while waiting for my epidural and felt very disconnected from myself from that point on.
- Once I got my epidural I was even more disconnected. I felt like I didn’t even need to be there.
- I sent the baby to the nursery and in the morning I wasn’t that anxious to see him.
- It all felt so surreal.
I didn’t have the support I needed
- My mom was only able to stay for about 3 days after he was born, so I didn’t really have the extra support I needed as I transitioned to having 2 kids.
- One of my best friends moved a few weeks after he was born, again leaving me with little support.
- Rob was VERY BUSY working starting his own business and was not really able to help me.
- Rob also went out of the country when T2 was around 3 weeks old.
- I wasn’t eating very well.
- I wasn’t exercising.
Could I have avoided PPD or had it go away quicker?
If I had some extra support after the birth, would I have been able to avoid getting PPD? Maybe.
But more importantly, why didn’t anyone notice once I had it?
- Why didn’t my OB screen for PPD at my 6 week appointment?
- Why didn’t the therapist I made the effort to go to screen for PPD?
- Why don’t spouses get informed of symptoms, as they are first in the line of defense?
I can only think that if I had gotten the help I needed, I could have been myself so much sooner. I am sure that would have helped our family so much since I was not able to be a very good mom or wife during that time. I know that T1 and I started some negative patterns during that time.
I wish I had known and that is why I am sharing my story. To help moms out there who may be wondering if they may have PPD.