Postpartum Depression – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

As I mentioned in my August Favorites video (watch here). one of my favorite things has been Zoloft. I wanted to elaborate on my experience with Postpartum Depression (PPD) and explain how it relates to my new obsession: makeup!

ppd

 Before having children I assumed that postpartum depression looked like a mother holding her newborn, feeling no connection and sobbing uncontrollably. For many, that image is far too real, but that’s not what PPD looked like for me and perhaps that’s why it caught me so off guard. I had a beautiful and natural birth with Jackson (my second baby). I felt like a super hero and I was on a euphoric high. Coming home from the birthing center I felt like I could take on the world. We had a few bumps when it came to breastfeeding, but we pushed through and all was well. A couple months in, I noticed some changes and unfamiliar feelings. These are the things that I experienced:

I Felt Like a Failure

I kept telling myself that Colton (my 2.5 year old) deserved a better mother than me. I had less time to dedicate to playing and learning with him and had to spend more time meeting the very demanding needs of a newborn. I thought Colton would resent me for having another child and would think I was a bad mommy. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to find the perfect balance. Laundry piled up, I forgot to eat and drink, and I was lucky to brush my teeth every day. I felt as though I was losing my grip and was not cut out to be a mother of two.

I Distanced Myself

I wasn’t wanting to spend time with friends or family. I was perfectly content in my little bubble. I didn’t want to ask for help because if I did that would just confirm my feelings of inadequacy.

Uncontrollable Intrusive Thoughts

Every time we were driving on the interstate I would get a horrific image of our vehicle flipping over and me and my family being severely injured (or worse) in a car accident. These images were incredibly vivid and I was not able to block them out of my mind. When I would wrap my newborn in a baby carrier I was terrified that he would fall out of my grasp and would get hurt. These images and scenarios that played out in my mind were absolutely horrific and I wanted them to stop but nothing I did stopped them. I had absolutely no desire to hurt myself, my children or my husband. Instead, I lived in constant fear that due to things out of my control, they would be hurt.

Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies

I like to keep out house tidy. With 2 boys that can become difficult but I’m not the kind to obsess over keeping things neat. However, once these other symptoms started I began to notice that I cared about things that I normally wouldn’t. When I vacuumed my carpet, the lines from the vacuum had to be perfectly straight and uniform or I would have to redo it. Clutter also made me anxious so I was constantly picking up toys, rearranging furniture, and throwing things away that I normally wouldn’t.

Being Overwhelmed

Obviously with a big life change, it is expected to be overwhelmed from time to time. However, I was so overwhelmed that I was willing to give up on something that I consider to be a huge part of my identity: breastfeeding. I love nursing my son. It relaxes me, it’s convenient, and I’m not a huge fan of washing bottles. It is a very important bonding experience for me and my son. One day I decided that I had enough of breastfeeding and my baby was now going to be formula fed. My husband encouraged me to just think about it before I made a rash decision. We then talked about everything that I was feeling and I came to the realization that I may be experiencing postpartum depression.

I had a discussion with my midwife and she agreed that I was experiencing postpartum depression. We decided that Zoloft would be something that I would take temporarily but she wanted to make sure that I took additional steps to feel better too. Exercise, taking breaks and self care were all discussed. This sparked my passion for makeup. Even though I am a stay-at-home-mom, I still take the time every day to do my makeup. It forces myself to just focus on me and take care of myself.

I am finally feeling like my old self. I’m a more patient and more confident mother. I am becoming a better wife and friend and I am being a better self. Postpartum depression is not something to take lightly. If you notice yourself feeling sad, overwhelmed or anxious, talk to your midwife or OBGYN. If they don’t take you seriously, find another doctor. You deserve to enjoy this beautiful time in your life and feeling anything but yourself will interfere with your ability to savor these short lived moments with your baby.

I’ve included some links that I found helpful when I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/postpartum-depression-and-the-baby-blues.htm

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