Most of my life, I have dealt with depression and anxiety. When I had my first daughter, Adriana, I had the “baby blues.” Two years later, I had a C-section, to deliver my twins, Brynley and Cayden. Both perfectly healthy, but I needed an emergency hysterectomy, to stop the bleeding. That night, I was brought to the ICU, because my blood pressure kept dropping and I was needing a blood transfusion. Come to find out, I had some internal bleeding, which required me to stay in the hospital for another week, to repair the damage. The babies stayed in the nursery the entire time, and I was not able to be in my room alone with them, because of my physical condition. Upon returning home, I ran into more complications, and was admitted back into the hospital for more surgery. During this time, my in-laws volunteered to keep the babies at their house, while I was in the hospital, so my husband could be with me. Meanwhile, my oldest daughter, was staying at my parents house.
When I came home, I spent most of my days in bed, being in so much pain, and mentally drained from everything. My husband, would be downstairs with the twins all day and night, doing all of the feedings by himself, while taking care of me. Needless to say, he was beyond the point of exhaustion. He would come up to the bedroom and just cry, telling me how he missed me, and how awful this whole situation was. I couldn’t help but feel so guilty, for causing him this much stress. He would have to ask me if I wanted to see the babies. I sometimes I had to force myself to make my way downstairs, and hold them for a few minutes. I was unable to feed them or just change a diaper. My husband recalls being scared that he was the only one who loved them, and hoping I would come around.
One day, when my parents had brought Adriana to the house to visit us, (she was still with them so my husband didn’t have all three kids) I cried on my mom’s shoulder, and said, “I’m afraid of what’s going on in my head.” I just remember having this “out of body” experience. I knew how I was acting, but didn’t have the energy to care. All I wanted to do was be by myself and sleep. I felt so selfish and like the worst mother for having to recover and putting my family through all of this.
The next day, I forced myself to call my therapist. As soon as she walked in the room, I just broke down hysterically. I was diagnosed with Post-Partum depression, and was put on medication and scheduled for weekly therapy.
I forced myself to get help, leave the house, and push myself everyday, because my children deserved to have me around. The more I was able to do, the easier things got. Looking back, I think those first couple days of the twins life, I was unable to bond with them at all, which triggered a lot of it. I still feel guilt for not being there, and missing those precious first couple of months. With therapy, I’m able to come to terms with the fact, I had to take care of myself, before I could take care of anyone else.
I still have little periods of depression, but I’ve learned different coping skills. There are so many new moms out there, that feel like motherhood is supposed to be this perfect experience. The pressure isn’t healthy. There needs to be more open conversations about PPD, so women can feel like they are not alone, and it is possible to come out on the other side. If there’s anything I want someone to take from hearing my story, it’s to know that you are not any less of a mother, for feeling the way you do. Take care of yourself, so you can be better for them.