Postpartum Depression is real man. I had it just like many other women have.
Smiling for pictures was a burden
I had no idea I had it because it was never explicitly discussed with me. The doctor asked me a few questions about my mental health at my follow up appointment six weeks after giving birth to my son. Was I getting enough sleep? How was I feeling emotionally? Questions I answered honestly but it turns out she just didn’t ask the right questions. I was not alright. I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed with being a new mother.
I felt very strongly about doing everything for my son. I always wanted to feed him because I was exclusively breastfeeding, I wanted to put him to sleep, and hold him while he was awake. I never wanted to leave him with anyone including my own husband and if anyone said anything about it to me I became very angry and upset. I cried a lot. I felt alone and like no one understood why I was so sad, including myself. When I began having thoughts of self harm because of my failure as a mother, I knew that I needed help. I wanted to be a mother to my son and I knew that the way I was going was not how I envisioned it. I sought help.
I didn’t know about postpartum depression but according to Google, I had it. I found a therapist that specializes in postpartum depression but after a few sessions realized that he was not a good fit for me. While moving on to a new therapist was hard, it was well worth it because my new therapist really helped me get through a very difficult time. Not only did she help me through my postpartum depression, she also helped me through other trials that came with motherhood. She pulled me out of a really dark place and I have remained out of the space for years. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I was terrified and shared all of my worries with my therapist. She reassured me many times that just because I had postpartum depression with my first child didn’t mean that I would have it again but there was a risk. She also reminded me that now that I am able to recognize when I am feeling down, it would be easier to cope with because I am now armed with tools to help me get through it.
I gave birth to my second daughter and guess what? I did not have postpartum depression! Days after my daughter was born I became very sick and went back to the hospital to remain for eight days. (I had a stroke, which I will cover in another post). I spoke with my therapist via phone two weeks after my illness began and told her how I had been feeling. I was shocked that even a postpartum stroke, I didn’t feel depressed. I was taking each day as it came and just enjoying my children. It felt weird. It felt wrong. How could I go through such trying times and not become depressed? She told me that I was growing. I was using my tools that made big things seem smaller and more manageable. Everyone has a journey, this is part of mine.
If you think you may have postpartum depression, seek help. It is not a battle you need to take on alone. Once you’re diagnosed, remember that it is not forever, and with help, you will be happy again. Also, remember that each pregnancy is different and while you may have had postpartum depression in a previous pregnancy, you may not have it with your next.