I Didn’t Know I had Postpartum Depression

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.

 

Will I feel happiness again?I was

  • Angry
  • Overwhelmed
  • 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.

Basic Health

  •  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.

 

 

 

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12 Comments on “I Didn’t Know I had Postpartum Depression

  1. Thanks so much for sharing these experiences and insights, Sheridan. Definitely sharing this.

  2. Sheridan~
    Really appreciate you sharing your story!

    I do post-partum coaching with my clients and often we find that using EFT will clear the distress that is contributing to their PPD. Many times, it is birth trauma or even a relatively easy birth that didn’t go perfectly as planned that is the cause of the distress.

    I think that a continuum of emotional care from Conception through the first year or two can really help moms feel supported.

    EnjoyBirth
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    Reply:

    That is great! I can see that EFT would be so helpful. I agree that a continuum of care would be beneficial. I need to start thinking about adding some postpartum services to my offerings.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry you went through such a hard time, and even tried to get help and it backfired! We definitely need to do more to help women with this big transitions, and look for the PPD signs.

    EnjoyBirth
    Twitter:
    Reply:

    YES, we need to really help support moms through this transition!

  4. Wow! I felt compelled to comment on this great piece because I have just come to the realization over the past few months (my son is now 14 months old) that I, too, suffered from post-partum depression. I completely identify with your description of “waking up” to the experience and only being able to pinpoint what it was in hindsight. Thank you for sharing.

    EnjoyBirth
    Twitter:
    Reply:

    I wonder how many moms don’t even know they have PPD until they “wake up”! I sort of thought I was the only one.

    Lauren Reply:

    I know what you mean – I didn’t realize other moms experienced that, either. I think I did have a sense that something was “off” but I never thought I was depressed or that there was even a way out of what I was feeling. I also saw a therapist, and she told me I was actually experiencing symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder; the treatment approach she used with me – EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) – was helpful, but it is definitely a process. Sheridan, I’m particularly interested in your experience because I used Hypnobabies for my son’s birth – so we have at least a couple of things in common. 🙂 Anyway, it’s just nice to know there are other moms going through the same thing, so thank you again.

  5. Thank you for sharing! No new mom should have to suffer alone.

    EnjoyBirth
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    Reply:

    Thanks for your great website, what a wonderful resource!

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I do believe that I was one of many women in this country and around the world who suffered from PPD without even knowing it. I had such a tough time after my daughter’s birth, struggled with sometimes suicidal thoughts, but because I didn’t have any one to give me a name for what I was experiencing, I assumed that something was just wrong with me. I now know that nothing was wrong with me, but that I was battling PPD. Along with hoping for more awareness of PPD in the medical community and society at large, I hope that women receive the tools to be their own biggest advocate in all of this.

    EnjoyBirth
    Twitter:
    Reply:

    Wow, there are a lot of us who suffered with no diagnosis. I think knowing what it was may have made it a bit easier. At least we wouldn’t have thought we were crazy!

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