My Journey with Postpartum Depression (PPD)
I just want to start this off by saying this is my own opinion, experience and journey through Postpartum Depression (PPD). Everyone’s journey is different and everyone’s opinion is valid
Ps. For anyone currently struggling… I have been there, I hate being there, I past there and I am always here. For anyone with Postpartum Depression, PPD, Depression, or just feeling blue. For anyone, again, I am here.
What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Well if you’ve pushed a tiny human baby out of your cha-cha, you’ve probably heard of that and the baby blues. Well, it’s like the baby blues on steroids.
Apart from the fact that it happens soon after childbirth, PPD is clinically no different from a depressive episode that occurs at any other time in a woman’s life. PPD symptoms are the same as in general depression and must meet the same criteria for diagnosis. However, not surprisingly, the symptoms of PPD often focus on motherhood or infant care.
I do talk openly about my struggles with friends and family about PPD and one quite shocking thing I’ve found out is most people do not think that PPD and “regular” depression are the same. They are, they are treated similarly, diagnosed similarly, they just have a different beginning.
But I am thrilled to be a Mom, Why Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
This… this is just, ugh, so true. I remember being thrilled beyond words that I was a Mama. My daughter was beautiful (still is, you’re welcome world). I was healing wonderfully after she was born. Life as a whole was moving forward at a wonderful pace but, apparently, my mind couldn’t keep up.
The truth is, I have no idea why PPD happens, when it rears it’s ugly head, or anything. I’ve just experienced it and moved on with my life. I personally do not believe there is any connection between how happy you are and why PPD hits every single person. But rest assured that I know you love yourself, I know you love your child, and I also know you don’t want this (or deserve it).
How I found out
So, funny story, I didn’t find out. I also didn’t seek treatment. My husband, sister and my own Mother rallied around me and, from what I gather now, came up with a game plan to talk to my Doctor about it. I felt absolutely fine, normal if I can actually say that, I felt as if I had taken on this monumental job of motherhood and I felt as though I was kicking ass.
I was not kicking ass… Mama was emotionless, irritable, rude, shutting myself in, and shutting the world out. In fact, I doubted all of this until 3 years after when I was looking at old videos and was able to see just how blank my expression was. I was shocked. I remember that exact moment in time and remember how thrilled I was to watch my daughter dig into her 1st birthday cake, crawl for the first time and say “Dada”. All the feelings of pure joy, and awe watching my daughter grow right before my eyes. But in the video, I looked numb. I looked blank, as if I wasn’t even there. That was a terrifying reality.
Back to treatment though… I was tricked into seeking treatment. I am not mad or resentful for it because it is exactly what I needed without knowing I needed it. My mother came with me for my daughters immunizations and at the end of the appointment she mentioned my mental health. She voiced her concerns about me to my doctor and I was mad (at the time, I am not now, I was being an ass).
I wish I could tell you that I talked with my Doctor, he prescribed some magic pill, and I was healed of my Postpartum Depression over night. This is not true. There is no easy fix and there will not be. I chose with my Doctor and family as my support system to treat my PPD through therapy and workbooks. I was told to go to therapy once a week and to work on myself through reading material, workbooks and keeping my support system in the loop. And it took years…
I worked on myself, I was selfish and was reminded often that it is okay to be selfish sometimes. I focused on self care and taking some me time. Through the entire process of therapy and selfishness (a whole 2 years before I was myself again) I was able to find myself again.
The Now, 8 years later
I am okay.
It was a process but a worthy cause. Me.
Knowing what I wanted and what I needed in life was the most amazing outcome. I know myself better now than I ever did before I had Postpartum Depression (PPD).
Knowing myself made me a better mother to my baby girl who deserves it.
My husband and I were able to plan for another child and with the help of my support system and my Doctor I was able to enjoy pregnancy and motherhood again. I was able to focus on my mental health throughout the entire pregnancy and love to admit that I did not have Postpartum Depression (PPD) with my second. And what a difference!!! I laughed, giggled, and cried (the good tears) constantly. I actually glowed throughout my pregnancy (not the case with my first).
Enjoying my ‘me time’, my children, my husband and my life has been a lesson that has been a true gift.