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What postpartum depression looked like for me

Updated: Mar 26

I knew all of the scary thoughts I had where not real. I knew it was not my fault. I knew I was not my symptoms. I knew I was a good person and a good mom. Still I would've never imagined how difficult it would be.


When I had my first child I had what I would call textbook postpartum blues. Near the first month after my baby was born I found myself crying rivers over tv commercials or movies, breaking down about not finding the right diapers for my child or even raging against my partner over fights I was basically elaborating by myself in my head. One call to my doctor at the time said I might be having issues due too hormones and I was told it would pass in a mater of days. He was right. That was it; but I do remember feeling like it was too much, a sense of despair and sadness that I never wanted to feel again – little did I know how hard the train would hit me after the birth of my second baby.


I would never forget this picture. I was trying so hard to feel happy it made my heart ache. I was suffering in silence but I wanted to have a fond memory with my baby to look back to. Even if was a faked smile.


My second child was born a few months before the pandemic hit and since day one we had a rough start. Breastfeeding was something I had been determined and dreaming to do. With my first I managed to do it but not how I expected so this time I was confident I could really make it happen and then without the appropriate support I found myself with both nipples bleeding and feeding a baby crying my eyes out from pain every feed.


That's when my first postpartum depression symptoms started to show and I knew what they where because I had them before but this time it was different. They felt stronger.


The scary thoughts were another level of scary. Suicidal thoughts were incredibly loud and demanding and the pain and despair of not being able to breastfeed without suffering was not helping.


I remember one day my husband left to work and I was crying. Before he left asked me what was wrong and I said I didn't know. I was crying without reason. He came back home that day and found me with a swollen face because I wasn't able to stop crying that day.


I was going thru the motions with my oldest and felt like I was neglecting him. Felt so ashamed and vulnerable when I couldn't stop crying for his sake and was waking up my husband during the night just to feel someone was watching in case the voice that said just jump through the balcony got the best of me.


I was scared but somehow I knew this wasn't me. I keep saying to myself that if I pushed through I would be fine just like I had been before. If addiction didn't kill me this wasn't going to either.


This is how my depression started to break down.


Suddenly the pandemic hit


The uncertainty of the future and the world shutting down certainly added stress to my already convulsed life yet in a magical way it gave me the opportunity to view things from a new perspective from the new found "normal".


The world is changing: Can I survive?

Scary thoughts: What changed?

Darkness is here: What now?


 

The world is changing: Can I survive?


When we first become parents there is always and adaptation period and when a second baby arrives you are also trying to make him fit in into your lives. I was trying to push through this stage battling my postpartum depression symptoms thinking it would go away like the first time. I was focussing what little energy I had into making a schedule during lockdown. All I could think and hang on to was my kids need me because it is my responsability to provide some sanity while the world is changing.


During this time I would not allow myself thinking too much. I was really scared and tired of fighting my thoughts, my body felt heavy and I was hiding almost every day to cry trying to relieve the pressure of trying to keep it together.


So in all honesty during that time I didn't have the guts to ask myself if I could survive the situation because I know for a fact my heart and soul where in the right place but my mind was being vicious with me and if I ever gave it the chance it would probably ruin me.


Scary thoughts: What changed?


I couldn't bring myself out to enjoy the balcony in our apartment because even though I was sure that under any circumstance I wanted to die I felt weak to my knees thinking I could actually jump if I was too close to the edge. This dichotomy became my Trojan horse.


The moment I realized what my head wanted me to feel true to my bones didn't match my real desires and that I had to stop ignoring these feelings in order to fight them was the tipping point and being locked down meant I had more time than usual to pay attention to myself.


Being a sober addict meant I had some background experience with mental health so I started really devoting myself to not only fight the physical exhaustion but to actually address what was inside my head.


I spent so many months scared of how dark everything felt that I relented to the feeling by applying the fake it till you make it approach.


While this worked in a way because it actually got me moving and doing the few basics, my mind was nowhere near recovering and my thoughts weren't there to be ignored. They actually needed to be acknowledged so I could bring myself to work past them.


Darkness is here: What now?


So now I was fully aware and in tune with what I was thinking and feeling. I began craving help. So I started attending weekly meetings with my sobriety group and that helped my emotional state to balance out and I also looked for profesional help to address what I now new for sure was a train of though that didn't belong to me. I was not my symptoms.


For what felt like the longest time I fought tooth and nail that state of mind and many months passed.


I recognized I was better but there was always that sense of doom lurking in the shadows, the ocasional and totally random suicidal though and some days it was harder to keep up with my duties but still I was doing them or trying to. I was making progress.


Then one day something amazing happened. The symptoms where still there although weaker. Both my kids where in their playroom and like so many other times they where both laughing and totally into their game. I peeked at the door, smiled and felt joy.


I remember how flabbergasted I was by this. I realized that since my second child was born I couldn't remember the last time I felt joy.


All this time I had been grateful and I knew I loved them but I was so deep into depression that it was like I was not able to feel or connect to positive emotions. It was like having them but not being sensitive to them. The only thing I can compare it to is when you have COVID and lose your sense of taste. You are able to eat but can't feel the flavor of the food.


So from that moment on every time I got to feel again something positive I was so happy it actually brought me to tears a few times because it was always the small things that made tear up. My kids laughing, a hug, a compliment from my husband or a even a post that made me laugh.


This all happened in the course of two years and to this day I am still wary of any weird feeling or though. Scared that somehow I can end in that state again but I am blessed enough to say that is just some silly idea easily ignored and crushed by my hard work and blessings.

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