Just because you had an uncomplicated birth or pregnancy, does not mean you can’t have PPD. My pregnancy and birth story were textbook. I had zero complications, aside from slightly elevated blood pressure near the end. I had an easy pregnancy and I was able to give birth MY WAY. I had a long labor, but it was perfect, beautiful, and life changing. It was in the hours following that the madness began.
I carried on in dark times. I made bottles, changed diapers, soothed my fussy baby, and functioned on little sleep. I looked at my baby in complete awe and felt both joy and horror. I felt love in my heart and through my bones, all while battling a stream of lies in my brain. The constant battle between my brain and my heart were wreaking havoc on my life and forcing me to reconsider my morals and question who I was to my very, shaky core. Through this hell mama, I carried on. The days passed and I started waking up..BOOM- I had a three month old. I was sleeping but I was exhausted. I was entertaining the very intrusive guest……anxiety. Nerves, fear, panic, and the ebbs and flows of my appetite kept my days long and the nights not quite long enough. “Are you sleeping?” The doctors would ask..I was so exhausted from fighting with thoughts all day, that sleep actually came easy.
The Doctors Helped me….But They Did Not Heal Me
Yes I got help. In fact, I begged for help only 5 hours after I delivered. I knew something wasn’t right. All moms are anxious, yes? Listen mama, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO JUSTIFY YOUR FEARS or be written off that your experience is just normal new mom “stuff”. Listen to yourself, if something doesn’t feel right, fight to be heard. Little did I know that my anxiety was a symptom of Postpartum OCD.
Asking for help wasn’t enough. Four different medications and several dosing trials…..relief came and went, but I Carried on. I did all the normal mom stuff you are expected to do; Post on Facebook, Newborn pics, church photos, baptism, baths, mom and baby selfies, lunch dates, date night, etc.. I did it all with a smile.. sometimes genuine, sometimes not, but the real scary part is that no one could determine the difference between reality and fiction. I loved my baby, I loved him fiercely, But I did a damn good job hiding my illness, until I didn’t. I only admitted about 60% of the truth while the other 40 continued to haunt me; but I carried on. Carefully calculating every confession for fear of revealing too much and facing the harshest of punishment; losing my baby. My husband, mother, and a few close friends knew I was struggling. I was letting my demons win and the fear of losing control sung louder in my head as each day passed. I prayed, meditated, practiced yoga, focused on self care…..but the monster still reared its ugly head and I of course, carried on. I let my husband take over night feedings and the guilt laid on me like a heavy blanket.I fought for that diagnosis and I advocated for myself a lot- Listen, mama- don’t give up. My delivery room became a prison where I paced back and forth and missed out on a lot of my baby’s first’s I missed my baby’s hearing test, first bath, etc because I was a zombie and a prisoner to my fears. I HAD NO CLUE THAT THIS WAS NORMAL- to an extent. I look at the picture below and I remember being over the moon- but I look deeper into my eyes and I barely recognize myself. I was terrified. I carried on and so can you…
stick with me mama, more to this story later.