I am 1 in 7.
There were so many things going on in my life at the time that I honestly believe contributed to my Postpartum Depression. Four days after I found out I was pregnant, my father passed away from pancreatic cancer and I never got to tell him the news.
But once I got over the initial shock of being pregnant, I was very excited. My excitement and love grew further as time went on. I closely monitored my diet, would freak out about if I took Tylenol too often, researched what not to eat, just to make sure I was giving my baby the healthiest life possible. I was beyond excited for my little one. January 1, 2018 my world came to a brutal crash, again. My son’s father was murdered weeks before I gave birth, and my whole world was turned upside down.
I felt like I lost a piece of me. I couldn’t even process this loss and my days seemed to become very dark. I somehow managed to push through and give birth to our son. That was one of the most traumatic moments of my life, knowing he was never going to walk through that door. I can remember the moment I held my son on my chest and started bawling because all I could think about was how he wasn’t there with me to experience this or to hold my hand when I needed it.
I specifically remember a day after giving birth I panicked in the hospital. My son had jaundice and had to be put under a light. I had no sleep because I was constantly trying to stay up because I was always worrying. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. I began crying and telling my mother and my son’s father’s mother that I can’t do this. I was way in over my head having a child. I didn’t want to do this anymore. They reassured me I was strong enough to do this, and I kicked the thoughts for a few days.
We finally went home and as the weeks went by, the worse I got. I had started therapy again a few weeks after giving birth. I remember after one of my sessions, my grandmother picking me up, I wasn’t driving because I had so much anxiety I couldn’t function. We pulled into a parking lot and I remember looking at my son and crying, because in my head I didn’t know if I could do this or even wanted to at that point. I honestly didn’t think I could do this. The freak out I had in the hospital made me think, “What if I can’t raise my son?” My anxiety got so bad that I couldn’t even get up with my son in the middle of the night anymore, my mother had to help me. I remember laying there as he woke up crying and feeling paralyzed in fear because I didn’t want to deal with it. I wished it would all go away and I could go back to normal. I hated that this wouldn’t just go away. I didn’t know how to deal with it. The weeks went by, the more I grew distant from my son and I continued therapy and got back on an antidepressant. I felt so ashamed because my other mom friends seemed to feel nothing but joy after giving birth, and all I could feel was fear. I continued to get worse.
One evening my mother, grandmother and I went to eat. We sat down and I started to cry in public. The anxiety and sadness I felt was overwhelming. The thoughts were always racing and never turned off. I felt scared and that I was beyond help. That’s when my mother and grandmother suggested I needed to go somewhere to seek help and I knew in my heart it was time to. That night I packed my things and my mother drove me to a local mental hospital. I remember filling out all the paper work. I’ve never been in a place like this before and honestly was scared. I hugged my mother goodbye. I remember being walked to my room that night. It was in the middle of the night so everyone was sleeping. I was assigned a roommate. I was beyond scared and my anxiety was through the roof. I laid down and couldn’t go to sleep. My thoughts were racing. I eventually fell asleep. The first two days were the worst. I was so anxious and freaked out I threw up my breakfast. I finally got to see a psychiatrist on Monday. I was admitted Saturday night. I stayed for a total of 6 days. My blood was taken every early morning. I was put on Lithium to help slow down my racing thoughts. It was horrible. I felt so off. Like I didn’t know who I was. Like I was in a movie. I was finally released.
I remember my grandmother picking me up and bringing my son inside. It was an uneasy uncomfortable feeling. I didn’t really recognize him. He had changed so much just in the short amount of time of me gone. I was afraid he didn’t even know me anymore. I slowly started to pick things up again and slowly progressed to doing things on my own. I scheduled an appointment with another psychiatrist to get a second opinion and to get off the medication I was put on because it made me feel very weird and not all the way in reality. I eventually saw this second psychiatrist. I felt relief. He didn’t think I was crazy. He just thought I was really depressed. So we began new medication and continued therapy sessions. Overall, I improved somewhat. This continued and with some switching of medications I started to feel better. I didn’t have anxiety around my son. I could take care of him. Overall since being on this new medication I became better. I returned to a functioning life. I slowly found myself talking to people again and not avoiding my friends. I remember being so embarrassed that I didn’t tell my friends what happened to me for a while. I could be semi normal again. I still had my downs but overall it was liveable. So the weeks went on.
There was a point in time I can remember after I got better going slightly downhill again. It was a short period of time and I can remember just wanting to die. I would be driving and start thinking about losing my son’s father. All I could think about was how I was ready to go. I just wanted to be with him, I didn’t want to be here anymore. That went on for awhile but seemed to fade away because I know I have to be here for my son. I’m the only parent left. I am better. I still have my moments sometimes. I feel more of a connection to my son. He makes my days brighter. He is my best friend. My whole world. The reason I wake up and continue to push on.
I am a SURVIVOR. This has scarred me. This could have easily taken my life. Postpartum Depression is real. It’s terrifying. It is around us. Do not be afraid to reach out. Reaching out could be what saves you and your child. It may seem scary but not getting help is even scarier. Medication and therapy SAVED MY LIFE and helped me become the mom I always knew I could be. I wouldn’t be here for him today without that help. Somehow this is apart of my journey. This does not define me, this only makes me stronger. I am 1 in 7.