My daughter was born 25 months ago, and only now I have found myself reflecting on what happened, and how it has affected us all. Her birth was a planned c-section because she was in breech position. As we arrived to the hospital I was told that my midwife would not be there, and was introduced to a new one, who was very kind. The c-section went perfectly well, and as soon as I met my daughter I fell completely in love with her, all I wanted to do was to hold her and keep her close.
During our stay in the hospital this new midwife help me with establishing breastfeeding, gave me lots of useful advice, and also told me that it would be normal if, during the coming weeks, I felt like I wanted to “throw my baby out the window”. With this in mind, we went home and I found myself feeling like this a couple of days later, but I told myself that this was normal, as the midwife had said.
Two weeks later I was at my parents’ house and my daughter needed a diaper change; I remember grabbing the changing pad, and just dropping it on the floor yelling “I don’t want to do this anymore”, and started sobbing. My mother rushed to help me and told me to call the midwife, because she had noticed that I had been a little down, and with no appetite at all. I called her and she said the same from a few weeks earlier, that this was normal; but this time she added one more sentence, that I now realize changed everything: “You may be over reacting, take some chamomile tea”. As she was the expert, I took her word as truth, and kept going.
I started having more and more anxiety episodes, and I could not be left alone with my baby, because as soon as my husband left for work I would start sobbing so hard that I could not hold her, as much as I wanted to. My mother and aunt started suggesting that this might not be normal, but as the midwife had told me that I was over reacting, I convinced myself that she was right and ignored the advice that was coming from the people that were next to me, and knew me better. Even my stepfather, who has 6 children from 4 different women, and so knows a lot about postpartum experiences, once told me in a very loving way that he thought this might be PPD, and I just pushed him away, telling him that my midwife had told me that I was OK and that this was completely normal.
10 weeks later I had to make some errands, one of which included going to an office, 7 blocks away from my house, where I had to take a number and wait to be called in. I planned every single detail of this outing as it were one of the biggest adventures of my life: scheduled the baby’s feedings so that she would not ask to nurse while we were there, and set off. I arrived and found that there were lots of people waiting. I took a number, it was 75, I looked at the screen, and they were calling number 28. This meant that I would have to wait at least one hour to be called. And just there my mind went blind, I started crying and stood completely frozen, without knowing what to do. I went out and the only thing I could do was to call my mom, because she was the last number dialed on my cell phone. She asked where I was and I just could not tell her, I was completely frozen. In the end I managed to explain where I was and she slowly guided me to my house on the phone, while I cried non-stop. I arrived to my house and found my husband working, and I tried to explain what had just happened, but I could barely remember.
Later that day my mum and husband sat with me and told me that this was not normal at all. I was still holding tight to was the midwife had said, that I was over reacting, and it took a strong conversation to make me understand that she could be wrong, and that I needed help, for both my and my baby’s sake. My lack of appetite had been very noticeable, and I was already 22 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. Once I let myself accept the idea that this health expert could be mistaken, and that this really was something bad, it was like a portal had opened, I remember thinking “So there is a chance that with some help this might go away”, with a sense of instant relief. They recommended a doctor that specialized in PPD, and I called her. She was out of town for a couple of days, but asked me to tell her a little bit about my symptoms on the phone. I did as best as I could and, once again, one sentence changed everything. She said: “You are on time, everything will be OK”. I met her the following week, and was already feeling better, all thanks to that single sentence she had said, that we were on time, and that this was going to go away. I started treatment with medication and therapy, and it took us 10 months to find the right combination of medication for me to feel stable. From there I returned to my normal life, went back to work, started going out again with my girl, even went on a holiday! After a year on this high dosage of medication we are now starting to reduce it, and this had brought a lot of reflection with it. Without doubt medical help and therapy are the key factors that have driven my road to recovery, but without the constant support of all my environment this wouldn’t be possible, and I do not even dare to imagine where would I be.