Postpartum Depression (PPD), it’s like a curse word to me. When I found out I was pregnant, I was extremely anxious especially after our previous loss. However, what I was more fearful of was the dreadful aftermath. I had two children already and both times I had bad, I mean awful postpartum depression. I knew this time around it was a more than likely possibility because I’d had it before and because I already have a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety which makes me more susceptible to PPD .
Because I knew that I was facing this dilemma, my OB and I as well as the on call Psychiatrist made the decision for me to return to my antidepressant medication (300 mg Bupropion also known as Wellbutrin) at 35 weeks gestation. The goal was for the medication to be back in my system by delivery in hopes to ward off of the evil spirits of PDD. How’d that work out for me? I still got it.
The first few days after birth, I felt absolutely normal (as normal as I could feel). With my other deliveries, PPD was immediate. I was excited that none of the symptoms seemed to be showing up.However, upon my return home, all of that changed. It started with these thoughts that something bad was going to happen to my baby. I kept thinking about him falling, or being dropped, or his head banging against things while someone was holding him. I was afraid to walk past the stairs with him in my arms because I had an irrational fear that I would drop him or fall down the steps. I wouldn’t even carry his car seat up and down the stairs to go in and out the house because I felt I would drop him.
I knew in my mind that these thoughts were irrational, but I kept thinking them. Then slowly but surely, the sadness crept in, the feeling of being overwhelmed. And though I was absolutely exhausted, I was unable to sleep. Around 3 weeks I decided it was time to call the Psychologist. I am relieved that I did so. Talking to her about all the things going through my mind made me feel a lot less crazy. I was able to talk openly and freely about the guilt I felt having this baby and being so happy after our previous loss. I also was able to confront my fears of returning to work while my little guy would only be two months old.
Therapy and meds are not a cure-all, but they certainly do wonders with helping me cope. I have good days and bad days just like any other bout of depression. When I need to cry, I don’t try to fight it, I just do. It usually has a cleansing effect on me and I am able to move forward. Balancing a newborn and two other children as well as a marriage is not as easy as some people mistakenly believe. When you’re grappling with your mental health, that adds a whole different dimension to things. Either way, I am most pleased with myself for getting the help and not waiting too long like I had in the past.
With my return to work just two days away, I am in a much better head space despite my struggles. I feel positive that I can continue to work through this stage and come out the other side triumphant.
For more information on Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, please check out: Postpartum Progress.