Erin's Story

My dream, for as long as I can remember, was to be a mom. With my first baby, I was sick before I had a positive pregnancy test. This would turn out to be my first sign of pregnancy with all three babies. My first OB appointment wasn’t until I was 12 weeks, and by then I had lost 10 pounds and was living off of Dr. Pepper and fries. I was nauseous the whole nine months. I also developed a condition called cholestasis at the end of my pregnancy and my doctor, who knew almost nothing about the condition, didn’t do anything to help me manage my symptoms (extreme itching). I was just too sick and tired to question anything. I was literally hoping I would survive.

At 39 weeks I was finally induced and had a beautiful baby girl. I felt better immediately! Those first three months were complete bliss. I took the time to heal. I took naps daily. I would dance with her in my arms to Michael Buble’s Christmas album and read her Guess How Much I Love You. Food tasted so so good. I could shower without throwing up. I could sleep. It was like the sun had finally come up after a very long night.

Two years later I was pregnant again. At 11 weeks I had my first anxiety attack. I got out of the shower and started itching. I thought I had cholestasis again. (I didn’t, it was just dry skin. Ha.) But that was the first, of many, attacks. The first one was the scariest. I really thought I was going to die. My body tensed all over and shook so badly, it was hard to form words. I called my husband sobbing and shaking, begging for him to come home from work. After, I was exhausted. My body was sore for days and I was terrified of having another one. Sometimes vomiting set it off, sometimes I just had one. I got to the point where I could anticipate them coming, like a storm in my bones. I just kept telling myself that I only had to make it a few more months and then I would feel so good again and be on that new baby high.

When my second daughter was born, I bonded with her instantly. I knew she was MY baby and I loved her fiercely. But resting is hard with an absolute tornado of a toddler. My cousin got married a couple of months after I had her and their reception was at a barn. My whole family was in from out of town and it was a chance for me to catch up with some of my favorite people. My toddler ran out (laughing) into the mud with the horses and I had to chase her down in a dress and heels while holding a newborn. I was furious and we left early. It was the day before mother’s day and as we drove away I screamed “HAPPY FREAKING MOTHER’S DAY TO ME!” I sobbed the whole way home. I had another attack that night.

I read up on postpartum depression and anxiety and even though I checked some boxes, I thought I wasn’t that bad because I was still functioning. I had bonded so well with my baby, after all, and no website talked about wanting to sell your toddler to the zoo.

But I talked to a family doctor, who prescribed me some medication. My attacks got worse, even though I stuck with it for six weeks. I would pray that I would just stop breathing so that my husband could have a better wife and my kids could have a better mom. I never planned out a suicide, but I was close. I stopped taking the medication and tried working out, taking better breaks, eating healthy foods, meditating, etc. I thought it was working and gradually my attacks and those horrible thoughts went away. But I still had to fight every day to be happy. Sadly, I thought this was just my “new normal.”

I got pregnant again three months after I stopped nursing. I was sick, like I had been with both girls, but this was the first time I went to the hospital to get fluids. GAME. CHANGER. I started getting better at 13 weeks, the earliest I ever had.

I switched to a midwife group halfway through my pregnancy and for me, it was one of the best decisions I could have made. They asked me how I was doing emotionally at my appointments (my doctor never had) and they took the time to listen to my concerns. For the first time as a mom, or soon to be mom, I felt like I was being taken care of by a medical professional. When my midwife broke my water at the hospital, she stayed with me until my son was born. It was an amazing experience. However, I was scared to leave the hospital and face those tough-loving little girls. I ended up having a great first two weeks. I went to the mall, I took my daughter to preschool, I was cooking. (I’m going to tell you what my midwife told me: “You shouldn’t be doing those things that soon after having a baby.”) But I was so proud of myself. I had beat PPD! And then I crashed.

My husband was on the alert for signs of PPD and he told me to make an appointment. I was offended. I was having a bad day! Couldn’t a person have a bad day? But then I had another, and another. I started thinking my baby looked like my dad (who I didn’t have a good relationship with) and it freaked me out. Sometimes I couldn’t look at my sweet little boy. One day, I just couldn’t stop crying. So I called.

The phone call went like this:

Receptionist: “Hi, what would you like to make an appointment for?”

Me: “I’m just *sob* having *sob* a really hard *sob* time *sob* emotionally *sob*.”

I was so embarrassed. I felt like I had failed. I had failed at being happy. I had failed at being a good mom. And I had tried so hard.

I cried through the appointment and my midwife held on to me as I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and psychosis.

I felt nothing but shame filling that prescription and I felt no hope taking that first pill. “What if this is just how I am?” I thought.

I told my mom later of my diagnosis and she was shocked. “Will you always have psychosis?! Isn’t that a permanent condition?” This didn’t help, but I can’t blame her because “psychosis” is a very scary word. When I posted my story online, my friends and neighbors were equally shocked. “I had no idea!” was the common response, but turns out you can hide a lot of crazy.

I’m also realizing that PPD is a tricky little demon who wears many hats and is a master of disguise. It looks different on everyone.

But a straight up miracle happened, and within a week, I felt like myself for the first time in three years. My “crazy thoughts” went away, I could get through the day without a nap, and I fell more in love with my family than I had ever been before. I feel in control of my life and my emotions, rather than feeling controlled by them. I have more confidence. I’m more laid back. I still have hard days, like everyone. But my good days far outweigh the bad.

I wish I could hug every mom-to-be, new mom, and not-so-new-mom who ever feels like I did. I wish I could erase the shame, guilt, and feelings of failure associated with PPD and all mental illness. If you think you might need help, please please please call a doctor, midwife, therapist, or anyone else who can get you help. In the meantime, here’s a hug.

Do you identify with Erin's story?

Take me to the ``Shatter the Silence`` series.

Watch Now

Related posts

Comments ( 24 )

  • Amos

    Hi, very nice website, cheers!
    Need cheap and reliable hosting? Our shared plans start at $10 for an year and VPS plans for $6/Mo.
    Check here:

  • Lilian

    Hi there colleagues, nice piece of writing and fastidious arguments commented here, I am
    truly enjoying by these.

    Here is my homepage – web hosting reviews

  • Dorcas

    We stumbled over here different website and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about your web hosting providers page repeatedly.

  • Williams

    It’s amazing to pay a visit this site and reading the views of all mates regarding this
    paragraph, while I am also keen of getting knowledge.
    adreamoftrains web hosting providers
    best hosting

  • Erlinda

    Terrific article! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be
    shared across the best web hosting.

    Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit higher!
    Come on over and visit my website . Thanks =)

  • Wayne

    Hi there to every body, it’s my first go to see of this web hosting site;
    this website consists of awesome and actually good material in support of readers.

  • Charley

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs on the web.
    I am going to recommend this website hosting services!

  • Gertie

    Very energetic post, I liked that bit. Will there
    be a part 2?

    my web-site … cheap flights

  • Jaxon

    I visited multiple websites however the audio quality for audio songs present at this website is actually marvelous.

    Feel free to visit my blog … cheap flights

  • Dawn

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Thanks, I appreciate it! yynxznuh cheap flights

  • Nina

    I was suggested this website by my cousin.
    I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You are wonderful! Thanks! y2yxvvfw cheap flights

  • Bessie

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It
    really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others
    like you helped me. 32hvAj4 cheap flights

  • Genevieve

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I
    in finding It truly helpful & it helped me out a
    lot. I am hoping to provide something back and aid others such as
    you helped me.

    Also visit my blog post; hosting services

  • Theodore

    Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Bless you 34pIoq5 cheap flights

  • Dessie

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this
    excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group.

    Talk soon! yynxznuh cheap flights

  • Grant

    Outstanding quest there. What happened after?

    Take care!

    My blog post :: cheap flights

  • Roseanna

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that,
    this is great blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

    Feel free to visit my web page; cheap flights

  • Bradley

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering
    what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a
    blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy
    so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Feel free to surf to my site :: cheap flights

  • Shawn

    Hey there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.

    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

    Here is my homepage cheap flights

  • Adell

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside
    and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL
    I know this is completely off topic but I had to
    tell someone!

    Here is my blog post; black mass

  • Gretta

    Howdy! This article could not be written any better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous
    roommate! He continually kept preaching about this.
    I most certainly will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he’s going to
    have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!

    My web page: black mass

  • Cyril

    You could certainly see your expertise within the work
    you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers
    such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe.
    All the time go after your heart.

    Take a look at my site: black mass

  • Whitney

    Hurrah! At last I got a blog from where I can actually get helpful
    data regarding my study and knowledge.

    My website website hosting services

  • Torsten

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.

    Brief but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read article!

    my site: website hosting services

Leave a Comment