I envisioned my maternity leave to be this long blissful experience and a little bit of a break from the day to day grind. I was in for an abrupt, rude awakening!
PPD was something everyone told me to watch for when I was pregnant. They never told me what to watch for, or what PPD truly looks like. Looking back at it now I can honestly say PPD hit me before I even left the hospital. I delivered my daughter just minutes before 9pm and by mid-night it hit me, I was not going to get sleep. I had to be the one to feed my daughter, no nurse, not my husband, just me. I had to call the nurse to my room to ask her how to swaddle my daughter. I had to call the nurse in to help me from my bed to the bathroom just so I could pee. My legs were uncontrollably shaking, when would they stop? Around 3am my daughter decided she was going to cluster feed until about 9am. I had no idea what cluster feeding was but I learned very quickly. Around 4 or 5 in the morning I laid in my hospital bed bailing my eyes out while my daughter fed off my raw sore nipples.
These are just a few of the emotions I was feeling that night/morning. I could literally feel my mood take a complete dip to rock bottom in a matter of hours. Once I arrived home these emotions did not go away. In fact even more emotions and feelings started coming to play. Every. Single. Thing. made me cry! I felt like not one person understood what I was going through or understood how I was feeling. Soon I began to think they didn’t even care; as long as I was well enough to feed Ellie. I began to feel like a milk bank and that was the only value I was bringing to anyone.
I kept putting these feelings off and telling myself I was just over tired. Many people told me its the “Baby Blues” and not to worry because it’s normal. I would just tell myself they’re right, I’m ok, I’m just over tired and having a little case of the baby blues. I’ll be fine! I longed to get my daughter on a feeding and nap time routine. I thought some sort of structure would help my mood. Keeping a brand new baby to a routine added even more pressure for myself. The frustration and defeat I felt when the routine was compromised was unbearable!
I felt like I had to do EVERYTHING with no help whatsoever. I felt like my husband was just another child I had to look after. It wasn’t true, he did help, he also worked each day. But in my mind, at the time, he did nothing. I had multiple break downs, severe break downs. I had the most negative thoughts about myself. I began thinking how I wasn’t cut out to be a mom, my husband would be better off with someone other than me, my daughter would have a better life with her dad and someone else as a mom. I felt like I was ruining everyone’s life around me. Then the suicidal thoughts came. One night, during a feeding, I had a plan. That night After putting my daughter back to sleep I would say my goodbyes to the dogs and leave my husband to deal with everything in the morning. I was giving up and done with life at that point.
The next morning I called my doctor for help. I fell asleep trying to get my daughter back to sleep. I saw it as my second chance. I can seek out professional help and try to feel better sooner, or I can keep struggling alone and hope things get better. My doctors office saw me right away, I felt amazing walking out of that appointment! I knew I was not cured but it was a start. I was filled with so much hope for my future!
I started my medication that day. I was ashamed that I had to be the “crazy girl that was medicated”, I didn’t want anyone to know about it. Two days passed and I felt better! I was still sad but I didn’t feel like a ticking time bomb anymore. A few more appointments and an adjustment to the medications and before I knew it I was feeling so great! I no longer cared who knew if I was on medication or not! I no longer had the mindset of stopping the medication once I felt better. I’m scared to stop the medication! I know how I am feeling now and I never want to go back to how low I felt during my maternity leave.
Keep in mind this all happened so quickly! From giving birth to my daughter to my first PPD appointment was a total of 4 weeks. In 4 weeks time I went from feeling myself to nearly taking my life. It is so scary how fast this can happen! How quickly your mind can convince you of such awful things! I am so thankful for my doctor that saw me that first PPD appointment and how well she handled the entire situation!
This is a look into my situation and my story. Take your meds! And take care of yourself!