postpartum depression

I survived Postpartum Depression (PPD).

One big reason is that many people who experience maternal mental illness are too scared to talk about it for fear they will be seen as a bad mother.

My personal battle with maternal mental illness was against postpartum depression. An illness I describe as a slow-moving fog of blackness that sneaks up completely consuming you, and by the time you realize it… it’s already too late.

PPD symptoms can vary from person to person so that’s why noticing you have it is complicated.There is no one size fits all when it comes to PPD.

Having a predisposition for depression, I have always tried to be very self-aware. Psychologists have been a part of my life on and off since I was young. Anytime I felt emotionally imbalanced I would go to therapy for a bit, talk about what was going on and quickly get the all clear.

Because of my predisposition, I told my OB/GYN that I feared I might experience PPD. He recommended a psychiatrist and I started my sessions before I even gave birth to our son.

I was “prepared” and PPD still caught me by surprise.

My Psychiatrist told me I was having PPD symptoms, and I still spent months thinking it was baby blues that would be gone soon. I always handled my emotional imbalances without medication, this would be no different. I didn’t need help, or medication, or even therapy at times.

 

When I gave birth I felt that I had to be this perfect mom and nothing was ever allowed to be wrong with me.

I thought I wasn’t supposed to feel anything except wonderful.

Denial and fear didn’t let me accept what was actually going on. I was thinking I would be considered a bad mother, bad spouse, and weak person if I admitted I had PPD.

My PPD presented itself in the form of extreme sadness followed by emotional numbness with a hefty side dish of OCD and Anxiety.

motherhood and mental health

In the beginning, I cried a lot and I got angry when things didn’t go exactly as I expected. If something came up last minute, it meant canceling everything else I had to do that day. I would make any excuse if it meant staying home in my PJ’s.

Later I would swallow the lump that built up in my throat to avoid crying so I would seem ok. After so long of swallowing my feelings, my emotions just shut off.

Eventually, I was a robot going through all the motions but never truly absorbing any of the moments.

My OCD had me thinking if I didn’t rock my baby exactly 10 times before putting them down or if I didn’t sleep facing the nursery something terrible would happen. Not your “average” terrible, I mean out of the bloodiest horror movie terrible.

Anxiety would keep me up at night checking to make sure the baby was ok, even when I had a 24-hr nurse 6 days a week. The fear that something bad was going to happen wasn’t a first-time mother anxious feeling, it was anxiety that would send me into full-blown, chest constricting, hyperventilating, panic attacks.

How could I be that anxious and be emotionally numb at the same time? {Continued in Part 2}

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About the Author:

Rachelle lives in South Florida with her husband and 2 kids. After going through Postpartum Depression she started to blog about her journey from empty cup to full and how she learned to nourish herself so she could nourish others. She is a maternal mental health advocate sharing her story in hopes other women will know they are not alone and that its ok to ask for help. You can read more about Rachelle and her blog at www.theplentifulcup.com. 

 

 

If you are inspired by Rachelle’s story and would like to speak to someone about your experience postpartum. Email me to schedule a consult today. I would be honored to hear your story.  If it is an emergency please reach out to the suicide prevention lifeline or call 911.

One thought on “Stories of Motherhood: I survived Postpartum Depression {Part One}

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