Mariah’s Story with Postpartum Depression

Mariah's Story

It all happened so fast.

Or did it?

There is a constant battle in my heart on whether or not this journey of mine could have been prevented – or in the very least could have been different.

Should I have been more prepared?

But can anyone prepare for something like this?

This journey through postpartum depression, my story, actually began far before I even realized it.

I was in my prime. I finally landed a job that I worked so hard to achieve. I went through hours upon hours – years upon years – of schooling to learn & grow in a field that I was truly passionate about since childhood. And I made it.

Mariah & Husband, Maternity Photos

I was settling into a new state & realized it was time to reinvent myself.

Who did I want to be? I was the healthiest I had ever been in my life. I changed my diet to represent more whole foods. I worked out 5 – 6 times a week. I strengthened a new passion of mine – yoga. I was volunteering an average of 10 hours a week at an amazing organization. I valued myself & the importance of growing a relationship with, well, me.

I was there. I was actually where I wanted to be.

But then.

The little red lines. There were two faint, little red lines.

THE BEGINNING OF IT ALL

I got pregnant with a man I had been dating for less than a year.

I didn’t give myself any time to truly process my reality. I just dove in.

In about 5 months we were married & moving into our newly built home.

That’s when my anxiety hit an all-time high. It was hard to manage the day-to-day tasks that I typically had no problem working through. My job began weighing on me emotionally & all the pregnancy symptoms I’d been experiencing became overpowering.

I stopped working out. I stopped eating healthy. I stopped building & strengthening the relationship I had with myself.

I was sick & pregnant – so I made that my excuse to completely abandon the lifestyle I had created.

Without realizing it at the time, I put my mental health on the back burner, which inevitably created a snowball effect.

“Surely the anxiety is just a symptom of pregnancy. It’ll get easier to manage after I give birth.”

That is what I kept telling myself.

I told myself that while I walked into work after a 30-minute panic attack in my car. I told myself that after a sleepless night full of tears, anger, frustration. I told myself that after spending an hour in the shower crying silently while holding a soapy loofa.

I told myself that it would all go away because I truly believed it would. I honestly thought that having the baby would relieve me from the anxiety – or at the very least that it would make managing

Mariah’s Daughter

it easier.

WHAT I THOUGHT WAS THE BEGINNING

I made a decision early on in life that my ultimate goal was to be able to raise my children at home full-time. Without going into much detail, I had it in my heart that it was part of my purpose on this planet.

My beautiful, sweet, precious baby girl was born on an early Tuesday morning, which was also my last day of being an employee.

My birth experience went as well as I had hoped & my hospital stay was excellent. I felt the rush of love that a lot of women describe the moment their babies are placed on their chest. I even thought to myself,

“How could life get any better than this”?

And then I got home.

It took maybe three days to realize something was wrong. I had read a lot about ‘baby blues’ & kind of expected some fluctuations in my mood.

But I didn’t expect to cry a good portion of the day (& night). I didn’t expect to lose my appetite. I didn’t expect to lose my drive to get out of bed in the morning.

I didn’t expect the nightmares, the obsessive thoughts, the hallucinations, & the paranoia.

I didn’t expect to think about taking my own life.

It all happened so fast.

I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through until about two weeks into the worst mental spiral of my life. I hit my breaking point when the suicidal thoughts became almost impossible to lift.

A SURPRISING TWIST

After telling my husband, we both agreed that seeing a therapist would be in my best interest. I searched online for about two months before I finally got the courage to call someone & make an appointment.

Before then, though, I spoke with my daughter’s pediatrician & a nurse practitioner (NP) in my obstetrician’s office. It was interesting because my daughter’s pediatrician was more helpful than the NP, who was supposed to be there to guide me. I left her office feeling worse, thinking that my emotions were invalid.

Jump back to the therapist I finally saw, she tried to tell me I had PTSD & put me on some special ‘plan’ which I found out was for a research project she was working on.

“Maybe this is just how things are supposed to be for me,”

I kept thinking to myself after leaving each visit feeling ten times heavier.

Mariah’s Daughter

I felt like no one understood what I was going through. That each professional I spoke to was hearing my symptoms for the first time, not knowing what to say or how to help.

I wanted to give up.

But, I hit another breaking point when I noticed my daughter, now a few months old, would have bad days when I had bad days. It woke me up to the fact that my mental health wasn’t just affecting me, but my family too.

WHEN THINGS STARTED LOOKING UP

I stopped going to my therapist & spent any extra time I had on the internet searching my situation. I used any knowledge from my degree in social work as I could & put together a plan for myself. I studied as if I were writing another grad school paper – but on my own life.

I started using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) by acknowledging & restructuring my negative thoughts. I wrote in my journal, a lot. I started eating better & began a new workout regime. I joined a motherhood group called Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at my church. I made it a priority to get out into the sun at least once a day (but more if I could). I even found a new therapist that helped me more than I imagined possible.

But then.

The little red lines. There were two faint, little red lines.

AN ADDED PIECE TO THE ROLLER COASTER I WAS ON

There I was, feeling better. Eight months into motherhood & I finally thought I could be the mom I wanted to be.

Looking at those beautiful little red lines crushed my entire world. How could I be pregnant? I couldn’t even remember the last time my husband & I had sex.

The day I found out was also the day I lost control, again. Any progress I had made in managing my mental health disappeared immediately – all of my PPD symptoms came flooding back.

The sadness, the hallucinations, the paranoia, the obsessiveness, the heaviness in my chest, the panicking, the suicidal ideation.

I remember walking into the other room & physically seeing myself lying lifeless in my bed.

The few months following that night are a blur. My husband took some time off of work to take care of our daughter while I, well, had a mental break down. My doctor prescribed me an antidepressant, but my body reacted negatively to it & made me incredibly ill. I stopped taking it before I saw any significant changes in my symptoms.

I researched how to have a miscarriage naturally. I planned out my own death. I screamed at God. I screamed, a lot.

If it weren’t for my daughter, I would have ended my life.

Amid a panic attack one day, I looked at her & just knew something had to change. She needed me to get up & restart.

So I did just that.

A NEW BEGINNING

I picked myself up off of the floor and I walked back over to the thick white starting line. I figuratively put a picture of my daughter in my back pocket as I laced my shoes up tightly & began again.

CBT, journaling, eating healthy, exercising, staying outside as long as possible, going to support groups, reaching out to family & friends. I researched all that I could about pregnancy hormones & how they affect your body. Heck, I researched anything I could think of that would help.

And because of all that, my second pregnancy went smoother than my first one. I got to a place where I could manage my symptoms & still feel like a functioning human being. The debilitating anxiety was there on my off days, but I was a lot better than I could have imagined.

A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE

My labor & delivery with my second daughter was nothing like my first. I felt disrespected from the hospital staff the moment I walked into the emergency room & didn’t really feel at peace for the rest of my stay there.

On top of that, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my sweet baby’s neck, so she was completely silent & purple as she entered the world. My first thought was something along the lines of her being dead, which ended up being an obsessive thought I couldn’t get rid for of the first three months of her life. Whether in a nightmare or some weird stare-off daydream, I kept picturing my baby’s purple body.

Mariah and her sweet family

My second postpartum experience was interesting because from a bird’s eye view, it looked pretty “normal”. I got so good at managing my symptoms, that I too believed I was not experiencing PPD.

That is until my daughter’s two-week appointment. I filled out one of those PPD surveys that the pediatrician is supposed to look over & I saw it clear as day. Postpartum Depression.

I didn’t want to believe it was true because I didn’t want to think that all of my hard work wasn’t actually doing anything for me. I didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that PPD was still a very active part of my life. It wasn’t until my daughter’s two-month check-up where I finally truly opened myself up to what was going on. That even though I was actively working on managing the hallucinations, they still existed. Even though I was actively working on the suicidal ideation, the paranoia, the obsessive thoughts, the nightmares, the difficulty sleeping, the sadness – all of it was all still there.

TO BE CONTINUED

I wish I could wrap up this piece by sharing the end of my journey, but I can’t. I am writing this at four months postpartum & am still actively working through my PPD puzzle. Will there be an end soon? I hope so.

I know that I am in a better place right now than I have been in a long time. The symptoms I described all still exist, but they aren’t so apparent these days – managing them comes a lot easier & good days outweigh the bad.

 

If you’re reading this in a similar state, I want you to know things do get better. Times are tough, but so are you. We all are just trying to figure out how to be the best we can be in all parts of life. We are in this together.

 

XO Mariah

 

 

 

Do you identify with Mariah's story?

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

Watch Now

Related posts

Comments ( 23 )

  • Avatar
    Paisley

    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: https://www.reliable-webhosting.com/

  • Avatar
    Trevor

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you
    writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is also very good.

    Have a look at my blog; webhosting

  • Avatar
    Freya

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

    My website … web hosting sites

  • Avatar
    Alejandra

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s
    the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. adreamoftrains website host
    web hosting company

  • Avatar
    Warner

    Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so
    I came to check it out. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my
    followers! Great blog and amazing design.

    Feel free to visit my web page … best web hosting sites

  • Avatar
    Breanna

    whoah this weblog is magnificent i love reading your
    posts. Keep up the good work! You understand, many individuals are
    hunting around for this info, you could help them greatly.

    my web-site web hosting company

  • Avatar
    Pilar

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS.

    I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody having the same RSS problems?
    Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

    Visit my page – cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Marie

    Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it
    😉 I am going to revisit yet again since I bookmarked it.

    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you
    be rich and continue to guide other people.

    Here is my site; cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Tracey

    If some one wishes expert view on the topic of running a blog afterward i propose him/her to pay
    a quick visit this blog, Keep up the nice job. yynxznuh cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Brigette

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. Nevertheless think about if you added some great photos
    or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this blog could definitely be one of the very best in its niche.
    Superb blog! cheap flights 3gqLYTc

  • Avatar
    Milo

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m
    going to revisit yet again since I book-marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide
    other people. 3gqLYTc cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Rosalie

    I think this is one of the most important information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But should
    remark on few general things, The website style is wonderful, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good job, cheers cheap flights 3gqLYTc

  • Avatar
    Sam

    Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this paragraph i thought i could also create
    comment due to this good paragraph.

    My web-site :: cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Riley

    Outstanding story there. What happened after? Good luck!

    My page: cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Claire

    Peculiar article, just what I wanted to find.

    My webpage … cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Christoper

    It is perfect time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy.
    I’ve read this put up and if I may just I desire to suggest
    you few interesting things or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles regarding this article.
    I desire to read even more issues about it!

    Feel free to surf to my site cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Thalia

    I constantly spent my half an hour to read this blog’s content all the time
    along with a mug of coffee.

    Also visit my site: cheap flights

  • Avatar
    Asa

    Quality articles is the secret to interest the visitors to visit the website, that’s what this web page is providing.

    Check out my web page black mass

  • Avatar
    Hans

    you’re in reality a good webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible.
    It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick.
    Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece.

    you’ve performed a fantastic activity in this subject!

    Feel free to visit my blog – black mass

  • Avatar
    Graciela

    It’s amazing in favor of me to have a site, which is useful
    in support of my experience. thanks admin

    my web-site black mass

  • Avatar
    Minerva

    Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this website, and
    your views are good designed for new people.

    Here is my web site; web hosting sites

  • Avatar
    Maximo

    Outstanding post but I was wanting to know if you could
    write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Kudos!

    My homepage – web hosting services

  • Avatar
    Chloe

    Excellent post. I absolutely appreciate this website host.
    Continue the good work!

Leave a Comment