Wednesday, September 5, 2012

me and ppd {postpartum depression}

i've tried to sit and write this about a dozen times. i was sort of embarrassed to share this, because it basically tells the whole world i don't have it together, i'm not a perfect mom. who wants to tell everyone that. but, i feel like i should share my story because (1) it's my story and (2) i hope it helps someone else.

after baby girl was born, i went in for my 6 week check-up and was feeling great.
my baby blues had come and gone. life was perfect.

then she got sick at about 7 weeks, and we spent a week at the hospital.
my husband started a new company and was working a ton...i mean a ton.
i was bummed i couldn't breastfeed again.
jude started throwing major screaming tantrums (those terrible two's).
we weren't going to church because every time we'd go, one of the kids would get sick...an endless germ cycle.

life was moving quickly, and between 3 and 4 months postpartum my hormones and emotions got the best of me.

i started to feel overwhelmed by life.
at home, i would cry for no reason, fly off the handle for no reason. i was angry and sad...and took it out on my husband. i couldn't control any emotion i felt. i felt like i should be enjoying this sweet, beautiful, happy baby girl, but couldn't because of an overwhelming sadness and anxiousness. i couldn't control my thoughts. i kept having troubling thoughts about my kids getting hurt and me being the cause of it. they started giving me panic attacks. i started to think my family would be better off without me. i wanted to leave...maybe they'd be better off with someone else because i was a terrible wife and mother.

on the outside everything was fine. i didn't want to let anyone know how i felt.
i'd see friends and family and tell them everything was great, after all, people have been raising children for years, while deep in my core i yearned for a spark of life.

how could i feel this way?
how could i feel so empty and joyless when i have the hope of Christ in my life?
i'd read my bible in hopes to feel better, but didn't.
i'd pray to my Father in heaven for help, but continued in my downward spiral.

i started to read articles online about postpartum depression, and i knew that's what i had and needed help, but i was embarrassed because i felt like i should be able to get through it with prayer and scripture. i should have the joy of the Lord...hope in my salvation and what is yet to come...that should get me through this.
but, my friend, i'm here to tell you that i was foolish. i needed more. is Christ enough? yes, He is, but He also gives us doctors and pastors and friends and family to help us in our time of need.

at four months postpartum, i called the doctor, and thankfully, they take this very seriously. i felt so silly calling the doctor's office...especially because i couldn't even make the appointment without sobbing uncontrollably. they wanted me to come in right away...they worry about women with postpartum depression because of the safety for the baby and the mother.
i couldn't go that day because i didn't want to ask someone to watch my children...i didn't want anyone knowing i was going in for depression. i still wanted the illusion that everything was perfect.

i went in the next day, and my doctor was wonderful. between sobs, i told her how i felt like i should leave them, but i love them so much, how could i feel that way.
i told her that i was embarrassed because i was christian and should have joy, but felt empty and joyless (i love that my doctor is a believer!). she reassured me that i was going to be ok, and that everything i was feeling wasn't 'normal' and that my suspicions had been right...i was struggling with ppd.  did you know that a mother can develop ppd anytime in the first year after childbirth? it's crazy and amazing what our bodies go through during pregnancy and after. my doctor really believed it to be a hormonal change. we talked and i cried for a while, and (i can't believe i'm telling you this) we decided i would benefit from medication. and so, yes, i'm a saved by grace, Christ-follower, and now take medicine to help cope with my feelings of overwhelming anxiety and depression...and it's ok.

dear friend, i write all of this to say...it's ok.
if you've been reading this and thinking you feel the same way, you aren't alone.
you aren't a failure. you aren't a bad mother. you won't feel this way forever.
it's nothing to be ashamed of.
the thing about ppd is, you can't choose to have it or not have it.
but, you can choose to get help.

my baby girl is almost 11 months now.
i've been taking medicine for about 7 months, and am thankful i went to my doctor when i did. i was able to enjoy my children during this time, and i really believe i wouldn't have been able to cope if i hadn't.







11 comments:

  1. So brave to share your story! It always helps to know we aren't alone in our struggles!

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I can relate to everything in this post! I am still on meds and my son is 2.5 years old... And its okay!

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  3. Thank you for being brave!! I've experience PPD with all 4 of my kids but for some reason it was worse with my girls (who both have Bdays next month and will be 13 and 2)

    I remember with my oldest hiding under the kitchen table and crying while she was in the next room.I was only 21 years old and scared to death about the way I felt.With Stella I realized I was experiencing PPD right away. She was a day old and I asked the nurse to please take her to the nursery. I didn't even want to look at her. I felt horrible but I also knew what this was and asked for her help right away. 2 years later I'm still on Celexa and if it helps me be a better mom then I'm all for it!

    I hope anyone who really need help will reach out.It's not your fault ladies! It's the hormones!

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  4. Thank you for sharing. Love you darling girl.
    Hormones are effect so many things, so many areas of our lives.
    Christ is our sufficiency and does bless us using doctors,friends, family.

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  6. Oh Julie, I can totally relate and am very sorry you had to go through all that. I had a really really hard time last year after my son was born - he NEVER slept, had a milk allergy, always seemed cranky, cries every week at church, etc and then throw in other life and marital stresses and it's just flat out overwhelming! And it is really hard to trust and turn to someone else, a good reminder you aren't alone.

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  7. Bless you Julie for sharing your story. There ARE a lot of women out there that this can help. And I think we all feel the same way, embarrassed. Like we should be able to handle it. I was exactly the same way when E was 6 months old. I've been on medication ever since and he is now 3. I tried to go off the med but it just came right back. I used to be embarrassed that I'm still on meds but have come to the realization that I'd rather feel like myself and be on meds than be that numb person ever again.

    Praying for continued strength for you :)

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  8. friend, i am so glad you shared this. love you so. xo

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  9. Oh girl...so brave to tell your story and be vulnerable for all to see. I've struggled with depression off and on for years. It's miserable and embarrassing. So glad you sought help. Trust me you're not alone.

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  10. hey, I had the same exact struggle with Nyla... and it's so hard when people ask you why you arne't ok when you thought you covered it up..l I wrote a blog post about it to called the deps. go read it... I love you and you can call anytime if you have an off moment... we all do

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  11. Got to your blog through Carissa's. I' so glad you posted about this...so many women need to know they are not alone in this!
    I also had a ppd at 4 months post partum. With me it was actually a post traumatic stress disorder. I had suffered a car accident with my 2 year old a year ealier and with the post partum hormones and fatigue (with a 4 month old and 3 year old) one night I began having the worst thoughts and voices in my head and had the first of many panic attacks! I lived with awful painful anxiety 24/7 and only gave in to meds when my baby girl was 7 months old. I also had the same struggle, trying to control my anxiety with Scripture and prayer but could not control my thoughts or emotions! The meds helped me get all of it back in control and I could finally start putting truth into my mind and start renewing it! After 6 months I started weaning off very slowly, and depending on a lot of friendship support and scripture. I weaned off completely only after 18 months. I was completely weaned and doing well when I got pregnant again! Now with the hormones and fatigue I am having to be very careful and slmetimes feel depression coming. If at post partum I feel like it's coming again, I will take the meds with no hesitation! It is God's grace to a fallen world! :)

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thanks for leaving me a comment. i can't begin to tell you how much your words mean to me!