What it feels like to have postpartum depression more than once

What it feels like to have postpartum depression more than once

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The feelings that came with having my first baby were euphoric. I was a mom! I was on cloud nine! I had almost died after giving birth, but weirdly, that fact didn't hit me for at least a couple of months. Things got dicey the day my husband left on an errand with our baby and I was alone for the first time since my daughter was born.

I was in the backyard picking raspberries when the thought crossed my mind that I should say a prayer for my family to be safe on the road. Suddenly, that thought quickly escalated to a near panic attack that something would happen to them and this life I loved so much would be over. I couldn't stop the fear from cresting again and again. It's like it had been waiting for me to pause – and once I did, it pounced.

I see now that these intrusive thoughts were a symptom of postpartum depression. I wouldn't have called it that at the time; I was happy. I was a new mom. I was so joyful … but also terrified in a way I'd never been before.

Because I'd never had so much to lose. I thought about all of the stages I would miss in Vivianne's life if I died, or if she died. Still, I knew I couldn't control the future and that I had to accept and adjust to the reality that now included my daughter.

I didn't seek help because I assumed this was the way all moms feel about their children. The love I felt for my baby obviously meant life could not exist without her.

But while we all have errant thoughts, I was unable to sleep at night because I worried that my daughter would stop breathing; I was unable to leave her with a sitter; I was panicky if she was with her dad. It started to become clear this wasn't normal.

Without knowing it, I was causing myself harm. I needed sleep, I needed time alone, and my baby needed time with her dad. Picking up a video monitor at a garage sale helped a lot. Rather than racing to the baby's room to see if she was okay, I could see on the monitor that she was fine. After I stopped reacting to the panicky feelings, it felt like they lost their edge, and finally they went away.

Then, after I had my third baby, my second round of PPD hit. I now had three girls: a 4-year-old, a 20-month-old, and a newborn. And they all needed me, all the time.

While I was adjusting to all this, my newborn, Annie, developed a health issue that made her gassy and angry. She began crying all afternoon. While I was dealing with Annie, the older girls still needed my help, and often would fight.

One day, it was all just too much.

Horrifyingly, I couldn't stop picturing throwing Annie at our kitchen wall. I tried to but couldn't banish the thought, and I was terrified I might actually do it. I gathered my kids and took them to our front yard so I knew I couldn't. I held the baby while she cried, and I called my husband in tears myself. I told him he needed to come home right then.

He came home twenty minutes later with hamburgers for the older girls and took Annie from me. I just wept. I told him I needed help and that I couldn't take her incessant crying.

I was coping the best I could with a hard situation: my baby was sick and we didn't know what was wrong, my two older kids were busy little bees, our house was leaking water, our deck was about to fall down, my husband had just broken his elbow. There were a lot of things going on.

So as soon as I could, I saw my primary care doctor and told her about everything going on at home. She knows I love my kids and wouldn't intentionally harm them, so I felt comfortable talking to her.

I hadn't hurt Annie, but even expressing the thought made me feel so guilty, like I was less of a mom. Part of me knew, though, that I was being the best mom I could be by showing up at this appointment. My doctor suggested a few coping strategies, along with a low-dose SSRI prescription.

My doctor said my brain was lying to me when my thoughts told me I couldn't handle it. My situation didn't change when I began taking the prescription she gave me. But the medication helped me focus on what might help.

I tried to slow down. I hired someone to help each week with the housecleaning as well as a sitter to assist with bedtime twice a week for my older girls. Getting medication and the help I needed allowed me to rise up out of the fog.

It's not always easy to judge whether you're suffering from PPD or not (this quiz on postpartum depression may help clarify your state of mind). So it's worth reaching out for help if you even suspect there's something wrong. Tending a newborn is hard. But when things go wrong, it's our job to tap into every available resource we can to be the best parents possible for our kids.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: Postpartum Depression (July 2022).


  1. Naftalie

    Something doesn't work out like that

  2. Arye

    It is a pity, that now I can not express - I am late for a meeting. I will be released - I will necessarily express the opinion on this question.

  3. Stiabhan

    excuse me, i deleted this question

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