Updated: May 3, 2019
Postpartum Depression affects 1 in 8 women during the first months after childbirth.
If you’ve had a child recently, you’re probably noticing your emotions are all over the place. You’re not alone. Statistics state that there are more than 3 million who suffer from this every year in the US. It is very common and it doesn’t make you a bad parent or a bad person! Honestly, the statistics are probably a lot higher but most people won’t admit they are going through something because they are scared of being judged or afraid they will lose their child/children if they speak up. Don’t lose hope. The best ways to get through it are just by talking to someone. It can be your partner, friend, family member, coworker, even just a random stranger who you noticed has a child with them. It’s hard to openly discuss your feelings because that is what depression does to you but you can take control of your life and your emotions if you just keep on going and push through everyday struggles. I won’t lie, I’m currently having a hard time with it myself.
My son was born in July 2018 and is currently 7 months old. I was really enjoying the mom life until I had to go back to work. Then it became a stressor as to who would watch my child if his father or I were unavailable. I had a vision like I’m sure most of you moms did. Some want to go back to work so they can make sure they are financially stable and others want to stay home with their child to provide the best quality of life for their child and make sure they aren’t missing any milestones. I was the one who really wanted to be home with my son. I wanted to be here so I could teach him everything he needs to know and come time for him to go to school, this momma would find herself a daytime job and get back to a new routine. Sometimes, one income is just not enough. My personal experience with depression so far has been extremely hard but my son is what motivates me to keep going. Having my child isn’t what upsets me. Being away from him is what does it.
Life prior to my baby was not by any means fulfilling. I was working as a store manager for a company that is now going bankrupt and I was completly lost. I’m a very dedicated person to any job I’m at because it’s just how I’ve always been, even if the job so was stressful that I wanted to quit every single day. I didn’t find my way out until I became pregnant. Once I slaved myself away working 60-70 hours a week through Christmas, January came and my morning sickness became more real and the exhaustion really hit me. This baby was forcing me to call it quits which actually really helped me out. I had no idea what I was going to do for money and I had no experience with babies so the thought of becoming a new mom haunted me. But as my child continued to grow, I began to realize I was already a mom and all I needed to do was prepare for him. Having so much free time allowed me to prepare for him. I had a retirement fund with the company I left so I withdrew it and got everything he needed.
Once he finally arrived, I felt like my life had just began all over again. I have never experienced the love that I feel for my child with anyone. When he was 3 months old, I saw all the progress we made and then reality set in and I knew we were struggling financially. My baby was set. I made sure to get him an abundance of everything we would need for the first two years of his life little by little with each trip out during my pregnancy. If the price was right, it was put in the cart and purchased. My child wouldn’t have to struggle and he definitely wouldn’t need anything else. But, we have bills to pay outside of his needs. There’s rent, car insurance, phone bills, electric, cable, internet, groceries, gas and everything in between. One income cannot possibly afford all of these things. I had paid bills off til the month my son was born and after that, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have to go back to work. So when my son turned 3 months old, I started looking for a new job and soon after, I started working again.
Postpartum depression didn’t truly set in for me until I woke up one morning to go to work and my son was still asleep before I left. I drove an hour to work, worked for 10 hours straight and drove an hour back to come home and find out he had fallen asleep 20 minutes prior to my arrival. I picked him up out of his rocker and held him close while tears started to form in my eyes. I literally hadn’t seen him all day. I didn’t get to experience one waking moment with him. It broke my heart. I knew I had been exhausted from the long days prior to that very moment and being away from him gave me such anxiety. I didn’t even realized I was depressed. My emotions were everywhere. I felt like I couldn’t talk about it. I was afraid to speak the truth about my feelings. I didn’t know how my fiancée would take it. I thought if I answered the questions for the Edinburgh scale that they would use my answers against me and they would try to force me into a looney bin and I know I don’t need to be there. I just need to be with my son.
The real truth of my symptoms are sad and scary. Some days, I would wake up to go to work and I would imagine driving my car off the road so I didn’t have to deal with the sadness anymore and then I would imagine my child growing up without me and that was enough to keep me from doing any harm. I was always on edge. You didn’t know if you were getting Jekyll or Hyde. My son always saw the best version of me but because I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions, I took them out on everyone else. The smallest thing would set me off and I would just totally lose my shit. I lost all control. I faked a smile for the world but deep down, I was dying inside. I was so tired. There was never enough sleep. Never enough time in a day for me to tackle all of the chores on my days off. I never asked for help. I just expected others to pick up the slack because I usually would have cleaned the house but I was so depressed that the only energy I had was to spend time with my son and make sure he was good throughout the day. I figured I shouldn’t have to say anything. I just assumed that if someone saw the dishes didn’t get done that they would just take it upon themselves to help out but that’s where I was wrong. You need to ask for help if you want something done. People cannot read your mind. That was the point where I realized how bad it had actually become. I stare blankly at walls, I don’t talk about my feelings, I am drained, I don’t get enough sleep, I have no motivation to get things done, the only time I have an appetite is when I use medicinal cannabis products and I just don’t feel the happiness in life I once felt.
My best friend told me I changed and I barely even spoke to my fiancée about anything that was bothering me. I bottled it all up and exploded every single time. I finally gave up on fighting it and decided to speak up on it. I started to tell everyone what was going on. I changed the outcome. My relationships are better than ever now. Talking about your feelings doesn’t mean that people will always judge you or bash you. It means that you are communicating which is healthy! If you hold it in, you won’t get better. You must speak up. Holding it in feeds the negative energy. Once I started talking about it, I found it easier to cope with. It allows others a chance to support you emotionally. It helps others to understand why you’ve been such a psycho lately. It’s not the end of the world. There are many ways to deal with it. But the more you communicate about those feelings and thoughts, you give it less power over your life. It doesn’t completely go away... at least it hasn’t for me yet.
However, I’m feeling a bit more like myself these days. Some days are harder than others but you just have to push through and get chatting. It could save your life! And keep in mind, you’re not living just for yourself anymore. You have a child who is depending on you to be there. I lost my dad when I was 14 so I know just how hard it is to grow up without a parent and never fully understanding why they left or how they could do that to you. Don’t leave your child behind with those types of questions. If you are ever feeling like you are ready to take your life, please call a hotline and seek the help you need before it’s too late. An article I recently read stated suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. Don’t be a part of the statistic. Your child needs you and loves you more than you even know. Don’t allow depression to take over your life. Get It under control so you can live a crazy, happy and fulfilling life! You can do it and someone can be there to help you every step of the way if you allow them to. Quit pushing everyone away! Sometimes, all it takes is an open conversation to help you move forward.
Best wishes to everyone struggling with this right now! I'm here for you.
Want to share your experience with us? Get featured on our blog!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org