Yeah you know me! Say it loud, say it proud! I have hopped on the Postpartum depression roller coaster three times. Call me controversial but I am convinced that every single woman that goes through the grueling pregnancy process goes through some sort of PPD. The problem is that if we do not talk about it, women will not know that they are going through it.
When I had my first daughter (Sophia), I thought Postpartum depression meant that you hated your baby. All the signs of PPD pointed to crazy moms driving their minivans into lakes and Brooke Shields. I thought PPD meant that a mom wanted to kill her baby and then eat it with a side of placenta and fries but had I known or heard a story like mine or had someone reached out to me and warned me of what could possibly come, I would have been more knowledgable about the ride I was about to go on and prepared to get off much sooner.
This is my story.
The first time I really held Sophia, my OB walked in and asked me if I was feeling weepy, I said no. Being a weepy meant that I had already failed. I had not even been a mother for 24 hours, I was supposed to be in bliss. I was supposed to be a lot of great things but the truth was, I did feel weepy. I felt more than that. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
Once I was home, I kept searching for that bond that people insisted that I had. Every time I would hear or read, “Aren’t you in love?!” it felt as if there was a cannon ball going through my chest. I wasn’t in love. What was wrong with me? I felt fat, I could not take a shower due to a fear of my baby dying if I left the room and I was doing it all alone because my husband had JUST started a new job. The only support I had was an online community of women that I found through Babycenter who I am still deeply thankful for today because if it wasn’t for them, I have no idea if my battle would have ended victorious.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and my frustration to find that bond led me to feel even more sad and alone. I feel deeper into Postpartum Depression. I remember one afternoon where I sat in a dark room while holding my daughter and cried. I am not sure how long I sat there for but at that moment, it felt like forever.
I went through PPD for 6 months with my first daughter and once I began feeling like me again, my husband and I decided to become pregnant again. We later introduced a tyrant, our second daughter (Penelope) into our lives. Unlike Sophia, the bond with Penelope was instant. She was everything. However, a little over a week later, I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt the way you would feel in a dream where you are the only person without clothes on. Even after going through Post Partum Depression once, I was ashamed to admit that it was happening AGAIN. I thought it only happened to first time moms. A few cry sessions and mood swings later, I learned that it can happen to anyone and became the PPD warning advocate for all my friends. Once I saw they were almost ready to pop, I contacted them (still do) and explained to them what I went through. Many of them were so offended that I suggested that they could possibly experience PPD that they blocked me off of their social networks and still do not speak to me but knowing that openly sharing my story has helped 1 of my friends is worth losing them all.
I experienced Postpartum Depression for the third time after the birth of my son (Baron), however, my husband and I knew what signs to look for. He called me out, I called myself out and we got through it together and faster. I was only able to get through it sooner because I knew what was going on. Whoever said knowledge is power was not lying. Knowledge was my weapon of mass destruction the third time around.
I would like for anyone who is reading this to know that Postpartum Depression does not always mean you hate your baby, it is not the “baby blues”. The baby blues are bullshit. Postpartum depression takes away your happiness and checks you out of the joys of motherhood. My rule of thumb is, when you feel overwhelmed and want to cry for a few days, those are the baby blues. When you feel overwhelmed and want to throw a salad at your husband because he forgot the croutons (will not confirm nor deny) and then run away never to be seen again, that would be PPD. I don’t mean to sound so PSA-ey but do not be afraid to ask for help. It will make you a winner at the motherhood game, even if it has only been 24 hours.
If you feel that you or a friend are struggling with the roller coaster that is Postpartum Depression, visit PostPartumProgressive.org, tell a friend, tell your online community of moms, tell someone, anyone, even ME that you are feeling funky. Diarrhea of the mouth is the first step towards claiming your happiness again and remember, all the cool moms do it (because I’m obviously cool).