I thought I had done my research about being a first time mom while I was pregnant. I read book after book, and joined a support group online with other first time moms. I glanced over the chapter about Postpartum Depression without giving it any thought because they described it was feeling of wanting to hurt your baby or not liking motherhood. I thought, “That would never happen to me.” Little did I know PPD is so much more than that.
I remember my husband calling me from work asking me to meet him at the OB/GYN office for an appointment he had made for me. I went, not really thinking too much of it because I was in the newborn state for sleeping of only a few hours at time, and up feeding her most of the night. We went into the room with the doctor and she says, “So you think you have PPD? Tell me about that.” I started sobbing. I was sobbing because I was feeling 2 main emotions. Rage and Embarrassment. The rage was against my husband, who went behind my back and called the doctor to tell them I was depressed. The second was embarrassment, that everyone would label me as crazy. So many friends of mine had babies and were fine and happy. How could I face them knowing I had PPD??? Then anger set in. I was mad. I was mad at all the books I had read, I was mad at all my friends who were moms before me. I was mad at my doctor. I was mad because no one told me it wasn’t going to be awesome and fun every second. No one told me having a baby was hard, and it was okay to be so, SO incredibly tired, all the time. No one told me how drastically different my entire life would be while my husband’s daily routine stayed exactly the same. And my body, that was a joke. No one told me my body would be forever changed in ways you couldn’t even image. I was so overwhelmed with all these brand new feelings that I spent most of my days crying. But then I would get mad that I was crying because there are women in the world who can’t have babies. I was nursing my baby all hours of the day but couldn’t tell my husband how drained I was feeling because not everyone is lucky enough to nurse their babies. I was deep down truly thankful for being blessed with this little hungry ball of sweetness, but man was I TIRED.
I started seeing a therapist. I went there weekly just to talk. It was nice to speak to another mom who could understand my experiences. It was nice to hear I wasn’t crazy, but in fact normal. It felt amazing to talk about my experiences honestly to someone who wasn’t judging me. The feelings I was having were the same feelings a lot of other moms felt, too. “SHE ISN’T CRAZY,” were the words I had my doctor write on her pad so I could take it home to my husband. And for my husband, my sweet, sweet understanding husband who was just as overwhelmed as I was stepped up to the plate when he felt things weren’t right and called the doctor. As angry as I was at the time, looking back it was the best thing he ever did for me! No I am not saying talking weekly to the therapist “cured” me from my depression, but without it I wouldn’t be in the place I am today. One huge thing that helped me was talking to other mom friends about it. Being honest is the only way I made it through. Once I was honest about my feelings, I could then accept them and accept my new role as a mom. I accepted my new body for what is was. I accepted my new “lack-of-sleep” schedule. I accepted my new job, and slowly learned to have fun with it and now, 2 kids in, I’m in love with it!!!
As for any new first mamas up late right now reading this…PPD has many different faces and layers. PPD is a more common than you think. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. That doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Ask for help! Talk to someone. Be honest with yourself for your baby’s sake. Be honest with your friends too. There’s a chance someone you’re currently friends with has had a brush with PPD too, but they may be afraid to talk about it in fear of being labeled.