This is probably the most personal post I’ve ever written. Please don’t judge or criticize because this is still upsetting for me to think about. I just felt the need to share my story in hopes that it would help other mothers out there to know that they’re not alone. We’re talking about postpartum depression.
First off, I’ll preface by saying that it took a long time for Logan and I to conceive, and I wanted to have a baby more than anything. I love love love to travel and we decided to forgo all the trips to pay for expensive shots to help us get pregnant. But, even one week during my pregnancy I had bad depression. I felt like my life was about to be over. I had absolutely no motivation to do anything, and all I could do was sit at home and cry for hours. I couldn’t even put make up on. It was bad. But, I’m so thankful that after about a week it went away. I don’t know how, but it just did. Then, I forgot about it.
Fast forward to the day we brought Liam home from the hospital. It never helps the emotions to be exhausted, and I was extremely exhausted. I didn’t get naps during my hospital stay and the nights were constantly interrupted by feedings, checks by my nurses, and bathroom breaks. I’m so incredibly thankful that my mom and sister (and part of the time, my dad) stayed with us for the first week of Liam’s life. They took care of everything. Logan had to immediately go back to work (boo for no paternity leave). All I had to do was focus on taking care of Liam and myself. There were times when I would just get very emotional and breakdown in front of my whole family: complete uncontrollable crying. I’m so thankful that Logan and my mom were there to help calm me.
Then, family left.
It was just me and the baby.
I felt so alone. I would cry all day. I could only think of how awful my life had become and that I couldn’t handle this new life.
I felt trapped.
I couldn’t escape.
I felt like my life was over.
I was so young, how could my life be over so soon?
Why was I doing this?
Why did I want this?
Is it too late to put him up for adoption?
Do I really want to live?
Seriously, this was what my thought process. It wasn’t pretty and it just kept coming. I don’t wish depression on anyone. It was the saddest, most vulnerable, and helpless I had ever felt. Nothing helped and my poor husband didn’t know what to do. Shoot, now that I look back on it, I don’t know what I would do with me.
When we took Liam to the doctor for one of his check-ups, he had me fill out a questionnaire that all the new mom’s fill out about how they’re feeling. The pediatrician told me that I rated on the high scale of depression and to call my ob about it. However, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I felt embarrassed and I didn’t want to damage my relationship with my ob (because that was my thought process). It was stupid because I should have just called her.
Try going from being the complete center of attention in everyone’s world and all of the sudden, in one day, go the opposite of the spectrum to completely back burner. It wasn’t about you any more. You go from having everyone praise how beautiful you look, catering to what you needed and what you wanted to eat: me, me, me. Then, once the baby arrived, you feel completely disgusting and ugly, no compliments, you barely have time to shower and get the puke off of you and you’re catering to the needs of a baby 24 hours a day.
I wasn’t like every other mom either, where they were in love with their child the minute they’re born. It was around week 4 things started looking up. It’s like something clicked. Logan started to give me foot massages (my favorite thing when I was pregnant [Logan here: her favorite thing of all time besides chocolate]), we started taking family walks like we used to before Liam, and he would even hold Liam outside while he screamed so that I could eat a meal in quiet. It wasn’t until he was 6 weeks or so that I started the very beginnings of falling in love with him.
Life got better.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly got to feeling better. Life got to feeling a little bit ‘normal’ again.
Before Liam arrived, I thought it would be really sweet to have a journal that all of his family could write a little letter to him that he could read when he got older. We left a few pages in the beginning for Logan and I to each write a letter to him and just let the family start writing in it. Every time I thought about writing in it, I got sick. I didn’t want to write a letter to Liam until I could write something nice. All I could think of writing were things like: why are you doing this to me? why are you here? why did I want you? I don’t like you right now. I hated feeling like this. I still feel guilty for feeling like this. I hate myself for thinking awful things like suicide and hurting my own baby. I know I would never do it, but it’s still awful for me to even think about. It’s thoughts like these that I don’t want to ever have to relive. I feel bad for not cherishing the precious moments of Liam as a brand new baby, soaking in how he would just cuddle on my chest and fall asleep while feeding, and even his piercing cries, that he was actually alive, that I made this little human being!
If you ever have the baby blues or postpartum depression, know that you’re not alone. It’s an awful feeling and it’s not your fault. It’s a lot for a women to go through. You’re hormones are totally out of whack, you’re more exhausted than you have ever been, you have another person to think of before yourself now, and you’ve been through one of the hardest things you’ll ever do physically. Talk to your doctor if you can’t seem to have a breakthrough. Don’t feel guilty if you need medication to help you level out your hormones and get back to your happy self. Do it for you and do it for your baby. Don’t forget to give yourself some slack. You deserve a _____ (fill in something like pedicure, massage, coffee, wine, ice cream, etc.). And of course, if you ever need to talk to someone, I’m always here for you.