My name is Kristen and this is my PPD story. (I am not the best at writing so bare with me.)
Ever have this feeling that you are alone? Not necessarily physically but mentally alone?
Ever felt like everything around you is absolutely perfect but you just can’t find your happiness? I mean you and your husband/partner are in a great place in your relationship. You have two beautiful, happy and healthy children. A supportive circle of family and friends. And awesome church body. But you just aren’t happy…
Ever felt like you just can’t get out of bed because you literally can’t fathom facing the day? You think it would just be easier to sleep the day away to escape this darkness you feel.
All these things along with weight gain, high anxiety, irritability, no self worth and mood swings were the things that I struggled with daily.
Jeff and I found out we were pregnant November of 2015 with our second child. We were seriously elated. Other than some insane morning sickness for the first 24 weeks, it truly was a great pregnancy. I had a ridiculously easy labor and gave birth to the most gorgeous baby girl named Everly. And our son Liam was over the moon over his new baby sister. Everly has such a sweet demeanor about her and our nursing relationship was great. She breastfed like a champ. Liam was succeeding in school. Everything seemed awesome.
The first six weeks were great. It seemed like we transitioned into a family of four fairly easy. And I was handling stay at home mom of two pretty well. But around three and a half months I just started feeling super irritable, moody, and just in an overall place of darkness. And it just went downhill from there. At first I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought I was going through another season.
When Everly was 8 months I began to realize that I wasn’t getting better. In fact, it was so much worse. I was alone, in a fog, steadily gaining weight, couldn’t get enough sleep, extremely irritable, so sad, negative and anxious all the time. I felt like a horrible mother. This was just NOT me. I knew I needed to do something. I called my mom and sobbed. In a defeated almost embarrassed tone I asked her if she thought I had postpartum depression. I knew she had gone through PPD and she would tell me the truth and how to get the help I needed. And she did indeed agree and said I needed to see a doctor.
In a way, I was heartbroken. I was defeated. I felt like this was a weakness and my pride set in. I thought I could ride it out. I was also super anti medication while I breastfed. So I waited. I didn’t get help. I tried to ignore it.
You can’t ignore depression.
You just can’t.
No matter how hard you try.
Just before Everly turned one I found myself breaking down several times a day. Over stupid things. I hated myself. I hated this fog over me. I was desperate. I needed out of my head. I literally felt crazy. I kept telling Jeff that I needed a vacation by myself. Away from kids. Away from him. Away from life. My life that was so good. Jeff looked at me and said, “You were Kristen before you were wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc. Get help. I will do whatever it takes to help you get help.”
The next day I called a new OB. I loved my current OB but I was driving and hour away to get to him. When I called the new OB, the receptionist went through the normal insurance questions and when would I like to schedule an appointment stuff. Yada Yada Yada. And then she asked why I needed to be seen. I told her it was coming up on my yearly exam and that I also thought I had PPD. She asked how old my little one was and how long I had felt this way. I said almost a year and that I had been having feelings of depression since she was three months. She then said something like it’s to late for you to have PPD. My heart sank. I immediately tried to hold back the tears until the phone call was over. I felt so defeated, sad and sick to my stomach.
That night, I posted a question on a momma forum asking if it could still be PDD, how to go about getting help and what the receptionist had said. I got a overwelming response. I bawled. So many people lifting me up, encouraging me and giving me advice on how to get help. People that didn’t even know me. Most of the women suggested seeing my primary care physician so that they could do blood work to rule out any thyroid problems. And a few days later I had a appointment with my PCP. She was so understanding and encouraging and she also confirmed my diagnosis of PPD and anxiety. A weight was lifted. Just knowing that I’m not crazy and that there was hope of getting back to my old self made me elated. She prescribed me Celexa that was safe to take while breastfeeding. A week later I could already tell a difference. The constant fog had diminished. I started to be less irritable and the mood swings and crying were at a minimum. I felt free.
Today, a month after taking the meds I feel great. I have started working on losing some weight. I’m starting to get that happiness back I had before PPD. Im not moody and I have a ton more patience for my husband and kids. I’m not completely back but I think that just takes time.
I am so utterly grateful to my husband. He has been my rock. He knew that he couldn’t fix me but knew that he had to encourage me to get help. He didn’t know what it was like but was so understanding and comforting. He truly is amazing. He truly is my guy in life.
I’m also grateful for my friends and family who cried with me and encouraged me every step of the way. You find out who truly stands by your side when going through something this dark.
And lastly, I am grateful for my faith in Jesus Christ. He hears our cries and loves us in our mess.
If you think that you may have PPD don’t just ignore it. Get help. Seriously. It’s such a dark place and you don’t have to do it alone. If you hit a road block in trying to get help keep on trying until you get the help you need. Don’t be ashamed. If you don’t like prescription meds try essential oils, or therapy.
I didn’t have sucidal tendencies or want to hurt my children but that can be a symptom of PPD. If you have these thoughts call the crisis hotline or seek professional help immediately. Here are some resources I have found helpful: