Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Postpartum Depression- You're Not Alone

I've suffered from bouts of depression for most of my life. I do have a rather complicated history that I believe has contributed to my periods of sadness, but alas, I have learned to live with it. As a personal choice, since I am neither suicidal nor homicidal, I have decided not to take anti-depressant medication.

I've had emotional ups and downs in my life, but I never thought that I would experience to most depressing period of my life while I was pregnant. My husband and I tried for 18 months to get pregnant. It took a little while longer than what I expected, but when it finally happened we were both ecstatic!  I wanted to be a mother so badly and I was so happy that I had an excuse to eat whatever I want whenever I wanted!

I did not expect to be as sick as I was during the first trimester. It wasn't as bad as some other ladies may have experienced, but I felt like I was walking around with a bad case of the flu and I was so exhausted. I was so happy when the second trimester rolled around because the sickness finally faded. However, that second trimester brought about a deep void that I would experience throughout the rest of  my pregnancy.

I wasn't necessarily sad all of the time. It was like I felt no emotion at all. I should have been happy, trying to bond with the life growing inside of me. I didn't really want to go out because I didn't want to talk to anybody. I just wanted to stay home and the only person I wanted to be around was my husband. I did have moments of elation when I felt my son move (and he moved a lot!), but overall my pregnancy was not a very happy time.

I experienced some minor complications toward the end of my pregnancy that would make the doctor put me on bed rest, which is the last thing I wanted. Going to work kept me occupied, now I had nothing to do but lay down on the sofa and watch TV. I wasn't even inspired to write about anything! Before I got pregnant I kept a pretty active blog, but during my those nine months, I had nothing that I wanted to blog about. I could no longer find inspiration in life. I just trudged through.

Finally, delivery day came, and it came 5 days after my due date. The doctors induced me due to me showing signs of eclampsia. After only 6 hours of hard labor (and not being able to have an epidural), my darling little boy was born and I could not have been happier. Those horrid nine months were over and now I could finally have my child in my arms. I caressed my beautiful boy and stared at him, trying to memorize every little detail of his face knowing I would never live this moment again.

I truly thought that the sadness, that emotional void, was done with. But I was wrong. I would go weeks with little or no sleep, I didn't want to eat but I forced myself to because I was breastfeeding. Also, delivery did not go as I had planned and I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to give birth naturally. (I can laugh about it now, but at the time I seriously considered never having another child because I was so afraid of going through that terrible process again!)

I longed for a moment to myself but I couldn't have one. My son needed so much attention, and while I still loved him dearly and studied every inch of his face, I just wanted some solitude. The only positive thing about this whole mess was the fact that due to breastfeeding and not eating as much as I probably should have, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 10 days.

My doctor tried to prescribe medication, but I decided not to take it because I was concerned that the medication would affect my son since I was breastfeeding.

Baptism Day! It was a day mixed with joy and dread.

The time during my maternity leave was filled with trying to keep my house clean (which is a never ending battle) and adjusting to my new role as a mom. To top everything off, my son was not a good sleeper. It's something we still battle with twenty months later! After six weeks of about two hours of sleep a night, I just said screw it and we started co-sleeping. That arrangement may not have been ideal, but it certainly helped.

I  looked forward to returning to work because I could get a whole hour to myself during my lunch break! That meant that I would have an opportunity to do something like read a book!

Visiting mama at work!

It would take about a year after my son was born for the emotional void to fade.

Today, my son is 20 months old. I still have a hard time believing that he is almost two years old. I've had this sweet little boy in my life for almost two years! Watching him grow and explore the wonders of the world has been such a joy. It is something that only a parent can understand.

The emotional void has faded and I feel that I have returned to a semblance of self again. I still have some spiritual struggles, I have little time for prayer or reading the Bible any more, but I most definitely have made improvements over the past few months. This may seem a little vain, but I was actually inspired to clean out my closet, change how I dress, and I even started to wear a little make-up again.

I actually feel good. Happier. Life has taken a better turn and I'm viewing things in a more positive way. I've always enjoyed spending time with my son, but now that time somehow seems brighter and his smile even more magical! Alone time with my husband is still rare, but we have scheduled date nights that have been even sweeter and more memorable than any others that we've had before.

Date day! So happy!

Depression during and after pregnancy is more common than you may think. If I could give advice to any women who is struggling the same way I did, I would say that you need to do what is best for you and your baby. Tell your doctor, and if you feel medication is the right thing, then do it! Stay in touch with God! To me prayer is invaluable! While I may be struggling with keeping God as the center of my life, praying and turning to Him has assisted me with getting my life back on track.

Don't keep things bottle up. It is imperative that you communicate with your husband. I was very fortunate that my husband took everything in stride and assisted me during the times that I needed him most.

Recovery can take time. Take the days as they come. Things will get better and before you know it, they will become even more magical!

No comments:

Post a Comment