Surviving Postpartum Depression/Anxiety

Postpartum Depression Anxiety

Surviving Postpartum Depression AnxietyToday, I am going to share something personal about my past. Something that is hard for me to talk about because it makes me feel exposed. Something that I did not inform my family/friends about until much later, even though they probably already knew. However, I felt it was time for me to open up and share my story. The more I read about other mothers’ similar experiences, the more I feel less ashamed about my own.

I am sharing my story in hopes that this will help someone, in hopes that nobody will repeat my mistake and in hopes that this will be viewed as normal, not crazy.

I am a Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety survivor.

[Read more of my story…]

Postpartum Depression Anxiety

I have always wanted to be a mother. I was ecstatic when I found out I was pregnant. In no time, Mr. Tropical and I had our baby list ready. We decorated the nursery. We searched for a perfect name. We talked for hours and hours about what we would do, about taking the baby places and just holding the baby in our arms. I was on Pinterest day and night, researching pregnancy tips, top rated baby items, motherhood, parenting decisions, etc. We were so excited to bring our families much closer and create a strong bond between the families.

 

I had a pretty easy pregnancy aside from low blood pressure and fainting spells. My birth was a typical natural one (24 hours labor & 2 hours pushing). However, it was difficult for me because I had to have a lot of stitches done afterward. I fought through the pain because it was all worth it. I delivered a perfect tiny screaming baby girl, Coral.

 

Little did I know, nothing went the way I expected. It was a drastically different experience from my pregnancy. My expectations went out the window when we got home. I had no control over anything. I struggled with breastfeeding and endured mastitis four times. I could barely sit up, let alone walk around. It took me roughly 10 weeks to recover from the birth.


I became consumed with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep at night or take naps while Coral was sleeping. I often woke up in a panic, so sure that something happened to my baby. My heart was racing all the time. I was terrified that someone was going to kidnap Coral. I couldn’t rest and felt like I had to do something all the time. I always had a feeling of dread like something awful was going to happen. I needed my baby to be with me all the time. I pushed everyone else away.

 

I began having intrusive thoughts that frightened me. What if I accidentally suffocated her with a wrapped blanket? What if we got in a bad car accident and she died? What if I fell down the stairs with her in my arms? You get the idea. It was energy draining trying to distract myself from those intrusive thoughts. I felt ashamed. My baby did not deserve me. She deserved to have a happy mother that was not obsessed about her baby being harmed.

 

I was sad. I was devastated. I was angry. I thought I would be truly happy being a mother. I thought I would fall in love with my baby and feel like she had given my life a purpose. Yet, I felt nothing except sadness and exhaustion. I felt empty and numb, just going through the motions every single day. I had a hard time bonding with her and I felt disconnected from the world. It was even harder when she was a colicky baby, crying all the time. The first few months were a blur. I barely remember anything from those first months. I was living in a fog. I was falling apart inside and out.

 

Our relationship with both families was tested. Halfway through the first year, I had enough. I was tired of taking care of everyone else to make them happy. I needed support and I expected more from loved ones. Some family members’ true colors came out and they believed their ‘wants’ should come first before my daughter’s ‘needs’.

I realized I needed to fight, if not for myself, then for my daughter. I wanted to give her what she deserved and that was me being healthy and happy surrounded by loving/healthy people. I needed to take care of myself in order to take care of her.

 

Postpartum Depression Anxiety

The first thing I did… I did online research and found out about Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). I read the symptoms of PPD/PPA on Postpartum Progress. Postpartum Progress is an amazing website/community dedicated to help pregnant women/new mothers suffering from PPD/PPA. At that moment, I finally realized that I wasn’t crazy, just sick with an illness from changes in hormones. I wasn’t alone in this. I was finally free from thinking I was an awful mother.

 

-I found out that having disturbing thoughts does not mean I wanted to act on them.

-I found out that having more stress postpartum can affect how quickly I recover from PPD/PPA.

-I found out that the depression side of me needed help but the anxiety side of me said I can’t trust anyone.

-I found out that it is common in new mothers. One out of seven new mothers went through PPD, PPA or both.

-I found out that my doctor was supposed to screen me at the six-week visit after birth to check if I was feeling depressed or anxiety. He never did and I went home undiagnosed.

 

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

“Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery.” – Medline Plus

What is Postpartum Anxiety (PPA)?

“Maybe you’re not feeling depressed, but instead very anxious. Postpartum anxiety symptoms include constant worries and fears. Maybe you can’t sleep or eat. Maybe you are worried all the time that something terrible is going to happen to you or someone you love. You could have postpartum anxiety.” – Postpartum Progress

 

I worked hard to overcome PPD/PPA. I said goodbye to toxic family members and that was one of the difficult decisions we, as a family had to make. I fought through mastitis and succeed. I finally was able to sleep at night. Well, not sleep through the night, because of baby. I was able to bond with Coral and enjoy the little moments after the hormonal changes leveled down. I finally felt happy being a mother.

 

One of the biggest regrets of my life was not seeking help. I was afraid, ashamed and did not want to seem like I wasn’t happy with my baby. Please, do not repeat my mistake. Call your doctor ASAP.


 

Throughout all of this, the only thing I wanted was having my old self back. I am back, but I have changed. This experience changed me but it did not identify me. From time to time, I will hear or read things and they will trigger my depression/anxiety. However, they are manageable now because I have resources. I have support. I have a community.

Postpartum Depression Anxiety

If you are feeling depressed, anxious or obsessive as a new mother (up to a year after birth), just know that you are not alone. You are not a terrible mother. You deserve your baby. Most of all, it will get better and you will finally feel free.

 

Have you experienced PPD, PPA or both? What tips will you give to those experiencing it right now?

 

Please share this post with anyone you feel is experiencing this and needs help. Please help me spread awareness about PPD/PPA, so new mothers will not go through this alone.

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24 Discussion to this post

  1. Great post! Thank you for sharing your experience. I have struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life. Most recently I was having serious problems with anxiety. Medication has helped me regain a happy life.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…Arctic Fox Paper Plate CraftMy Profile

  2. Misty says:

    Thank you for this post. I went through a lot after I gave birth and couldn’t figure out why I was waking up in an anxiety attack or why I felt worthless and a bad mom. I finally went to my dr and was diagnosed with both ppd/a. I am on Zoloft and I am learning coping techniques. I didn’t have a close support system so it was hard. Taking each day one at a time and taking care of myself more helps.

  3. No one can ever tell you about PPD and PPA until you have gone through it. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. Lucy says:

    This a great story, I am glad you defeated this problem. I pray that it helps someone else.

  5. Shann Eva says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It will help so many new moms that don’t know what is wrong. I suffer from anxiety, and it got much worse during and after my pregnancy. Luckily, I was already under my doctor’s care, so I got help right away.

  6. Healing Mama says:

    I suffered from it and it was scary. I would never want to go through it again. I didn’t seek help but I wish I would have. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story. So many new moms suffer from it. I’m glad you found the support you needed! XOXO

  8. Whitney says:

    This is a wonderful post! I had all those same horrible thoughts and anxiety when I was a new mom. I felt happy, but I was so frightened all. the. time. It was exhausting. I’m so glad you realized what was happening and that nobody should feel that way! 🙂

  9. Tiffany says:

    Oh hun I can so relate to this. I had a severe form of PPD that turned into Postpartum Psychosis. I told my story yesterday on scary mommy. It’s such a hard thing to go through and it can be hard to talk about. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s the most surreal thing when you don’t have control over your thoughts any more. You are helping others by sharing what you went through!

  10. Eloise says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I was told I had PPA and PPD after having back to back pregnancies(my kids are 14 months apart). I DID have PPA, but was miss diagnosed with PPD and instead had a life threatening disease…Life can be hard, but with the right help you can overcome anything, I’m glad you are well now!

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience. I had my first 2 1/2 years ago and can relate to the anxiety. One day, shortly after birth, I had to call the bank because I’d forgotten to pay a payment on the loan for our house (We thought I could handle it all). But I had forgotten. The lady on the phone was nice and trying to walk me through it but I broke down balling and worried this was going to hurt our credit score! My husband took the phone (and the bill paying duties) away from me. It helps to have a supportive spouse. I went undiagnosed but I can sure relate to that part of it. I never felt depressed, though. Just anxious. Keep sharing your story!

  12. Jade says:

    It amazes me at how very common this is ( I had it too) but it also amazes me that we feel so alone while its there. This post is a great way to help others feel like they are not the only one. Thanks for sharing. X
    Jade recently posted…Special needs Equipment?! Heni’s ProjectorMy Profile

  13. Wow, thanks for sharing your story. It’s enlightening. I am not yet a mother but I’m glad I have read this ahead of time.

    Floradise blog

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh, how I wish I knew about this before I became a mother. You’re lucky you will be aware of this and watch out for the symptoms when you become a mother.

  14. Angela says:

    Thanks for sharing. I suffered PPD and PTSD after my triplets were born and had extensive NICU stays. Time has helped, but I also chose to medicate myself. Life was hard for a long time, but the last couple of years (the kids are 3 now) have been great. I too was ashamed to seek help, but I am so glad that I did.
    Angela recently posted…10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Pregnant SelfMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Wow, I am sure it was hard with three babies. I’m glad you chose to medicate yourself! I am sure it was one of the best decisions you made because it helped you to enjoy life again. Thank you for sharing!

  15. sara says:

    I am not a mother, but I do suffer from severe depression. I feel too ashamed to seek help, although I know I desperately need it. I hope I’ll find a community and resources like you have. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yes, please seek out any kind of help… whether in real life or online. You will feel a lot better after sharing your struggles with someone. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Tamara says:

    I suffered from some mild PPD the first couple of weeks after giving birth. I would cry for no reason and ask myself why I wasn’t happy now that my sweet baby was finally here.

    Looking back I have been exhausted and overwhelmed from infertility issues and a stressful job for a long time.

    The difficult birth, the fact that I couldn’t nurse, sleep deprivation and general hormones going wild pushed me over the edge. Thankfully it got better soon. Also I had a good friend who is also a life coach who helped me.

    Glad you got better as well. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You were very brave to take some difficult decisions and looking after yourself!
    Tamara recently posted…A-Z Blogging Challenge – Z is for ZurichMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree, it is hard to enjoy when you are already stressed from other things. You’re lucky to have a good friend to help you make it through. You’re right, it is nothing to be ashamed of. I wish I realize that shortly after I recognized it.

  17. A great story that will help so many other new Mamas! I applaud your bravery! Thankful you reached out for help and praying your story will reach many!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope it will help save mothers who are struggling and give them enough confidence to speak up and seek help.

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