What it's really like to live with postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is something that people don't talk about very often, just ask me. Not many people know this about me but, I suffered horribly from PPD. I had the kind of postpartum depression that lasts for years, that sucks the joy from your life and laughs in your face. It truly feels like you are underwater and drowning in your own life.
I had a very traumatic birth with my youngest son, and 3 years later there are still things that I am angry about, and can't let go of. I definitely believe that the anger, and hurt I felt over his birth was a huge contributing factor to my severe PPD. Of course postpartum depression is brought on by the sudden change in your hormones, but there are a lot of contributing factors involved. (I am not even going to try to attempt to dive into what causes postpartum depression, because that is out of my scope.) For weeks after he was born I felt completely violated by everyone around me, all I wanted was to be left alone but no one was hearing me and this just added fuel to my fire. I was still able to bond and connect with my son, but that was the only bond I was interested in. My relationship with my husband suffered immensely because I had so much resentment towards him, and I didn't feel like he understood me at all. Even my relationship with my oldest son suffered, I had zero patience with him, and really just didn't want to be a mom most days.
I suffered this way for TWO years, before I finally got the help I desperately needed. It took me a long time to even recognize that I was in a downward spiral of postpartum depression. How did I miss it? I was a medical assistant for an OBGYN and had a lot of experience with PPD, but still didn't recognize it in myself for almost a year. Nobody in my family noticed how depressed I was, or they mistook it for something different. How did this slip by us? Even worse is that even after I did realize it, I didn't do anything about it. I can't really give any reasoning as to why I didn't do anything about it, even now it just doesn't make sense. I mean I KNEW BETTER, I knew a lot more than most because of my job so why didn't I talk to someone? I had the resources, so why didn't I use them? Because thats exactly how postpartum depression is. I can't answer why I did things or didn't do things, because PPD just doesn't make sense.
Postpartum depression truly ruled my life, and almost ruined it. I was incredibly close to a divorce because of it, gained 60 pounds, stopped hanging out with most of my friends on a regular basis, and honestly was not a good mom. I hated my life, and I was SO angry all the time. I was literally drowning and couldn't get anyone to save me.
It took an awful tragedy in my family to slap me in the face and realize that I needed help, and even after I got the help it took a very long time to feel normal again. I still had phases of depression, and honestly I would venture to say that I had phases of borderline psychosis when I just couldn't deal. It wasn't until this past year that I have felt like myself again, and that I was really truly happy. I found my career, something I truly love, and I have found how to manage my life after postpartum depression. I promise you that no matter the help I've gotten, or how long ago it was, I am a different person since PPD.
I completely understand why we don't talk about things like this, it's HARD. After a baby we want the world to be sunshine and rainbows, when in reality it is storm clouds and misery for many of us. Even those who don't suffer from postpartum depression still have struggles after having a baby. Bringing another life into this world comes with baggage, theres no other way to describe it. It doesn't matter if it's your first child, or if you have your own football team, it is always an adjustment. Your hormones are always changing, your body is always healing, and you always just had a human exit you. It's no small feat having a baby. So give yourself the benefit of the doubt, don't feel bad if every day isn't sunshine, and don't be afraid to seek help if no days are sunshine. Not everyones postpartum depression looks the same, but if you feel like you're drowning then tell someone. There are resources and people who can help. Don't be me, don't wait years to get your life back. Make sure you have a good support system in place, and don't be scared to lean on them, or to ask for the things you truly need. Postpartum depression isn't something to be ashamed about and it doesn't have to be something we hide any longer. Speak your truth. Talk about your experience, reach out to others and be there for them. People cannot help you if they don't know what to look for, so let's let people know. It'a time to give the world a reality check and let them know that we aren't going to suffer in silence anymore. We are going to talk about the hard things people don't want to hear. We are going to tell the truth about the raw, ugly side of giving birth. We aren't going to be afraid or apologize. The more we talk, the less other women suffer, and that is worth it to me.