Welcome to motherhood…

Having a new baby, your first, is such a shock to the system.  Personally, I didn’t enjoy being pregnant at all so I was coming at this “new baby thing” with 9 months of misery under my belt.  I hate to admit that I was so jealous of those moms who thought being pregnant was the most wonderful time of their lives.  Through all 9 months, and 3 times at that, I had none of those feelings.

After my first was born I quit my job and stayed home.  Lucky, maybe, but I never thought that kind of isolation would bother me.  All my friends still worked and none of them had babies – gosh few of them were even married.  I was alone.  And very lonely.  The back trouble that had plagued me during pregnancy continued to kill me.  At this point it was no surprise that the baby blues hit like clock work.

Just baby blues – I was sure, after all I wasn’t crying all day and unable to get out of bed.  I was a functioning, yet seemingly miserable human being.

But…

I spent my days watching Oprah and Sally Jessie or the “Disaster of the Day” shows as I used to call them.

Women and men talked about how to run away from their families without a trace.  They would assume an identity other than your own and live a brand new life.

I LOVED those episodes.  Watched every one.  I took detailed mental notes on everything.  Every. Single. Step.

Back in those days, we couldn’t google stuff.  Oprah was my chief educator.

I didn’t really thinking I’d do it (but then I didn’t know if I might), but dang would it be nice to be free of this misery.   I dreamed of escaping every single day.

I thought about dying, about what would happen if I died.  How would people feel.   And that was nothing new – I had moments in childhood and especially the teen years where I would think about death and dying.  There were periods where it was part of my every day.  I even asked my husband “don’t you ever think about death?”

“Never” he said.

HUH?

{That’s weird, doesn’t everyone?}

Apparently not…

While I never really thought of killing myself, just the fact that I WAS thinking about death worried me that I might one day flip a switch.  I had no idea what type of thing would make a person flip.  I understood so little that I thought I could be on the verge and not know it.

And I really didn’t want a new identity.  I wanted the one I had to feel right.

I called my OBGYN.

I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression.

So thankful that I wasn’t losing my mind but had a serious chemical imbalance, I went on medication and felt better within weeks.

And by better I mean better than I had ever felt in my life.  I was told I had probably always had a low level depression even as a child that had never been treated properly.

I wasn’t thinking about death anymore and COULDN’T FIGURE OUT WHY I EVER WOULD.

…wow…

For the first time I felt normal.

That was 22 years ago.  I still can’t imagine thinking about death.  Ever.  I’ve been on antidepressants ever since.

No shame.  It keeps me sane.  I’m not sure where I’d be today if I hadn’t been treated.  PPD probably saved my life in the long run.

My dear friend Katherine Stone operates the site Postpartum Progress Inc.

Today, October 5, 2011 is Strong Start Day.  Join me and others in an effort to raise more than $30,000 so that Postpartum Progress can execute exciting new projects, including:
  • developing a compelling national awareness campaign for postpartum depression
  • creating & distributing new and improved patient education materials for distribution by hospitals (the kind new moms won’t throw away!!)
  • translating our “plain mama English” information and support into Spanish and other languages
You may not know that ONLY 15% of all women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders ever receive professional treatment.  This means that each year another 850,000 women and their children may suffer from the negative effects of untreated PPD and related illnesses for the rest of their lives because they never got the help they needed.  And that’s just in the United States.  We are ready to do more, but we can’t do it without funding.

Can you give so that women don’t suffer the way that I did?  Let’s make it happen!  Join me in spreading the word.  A tweet, blog post, facebook status update and… a donation.

Go ahead – right down there …. click the button.

DonateNow

5 Comments on The Face of Postpartum Depression #strongstart

  1. Anne (@notasupermom)
    October 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm (6 years ago)

    I had similar experiences. For my last two kids I was working and able to function at work but could not cope at home.

    I had to boot-strap my way out, which is a pretty crappy way. I wish I’d seen a doctor earlier.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope a young mom reads this and seeks help. It can get better!

    Reply
  2. Sharon
    October 9, 2011 at 9:01 am (6 years ago)

    Linda,

    I could have totally written this post. But not as eloquently as you. Thank you for sharing such an important message and helping to further awareness.

    Reply
  3. Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)
    October 7, 2011 at 2:38 am (6 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing your story… it is so important for women to know that they are not alone. The first several months as a stay-at-home mom can be so isolating and we need to help each other through it. And we need to know when to get medical help.

    I’m so happy that you got the help you needed.

    Reply
  4. Clarissa Nassar
    October 6, 2011 at 8:48 am (6 years ago)

    Wow! I want what you’re taking! I have tried a lot anti-depressants and haven’t found one that works. :( well, that works for me. I am hopeful though. Mine, too, is a low lying form of depression. I’m not fully depressed but there is a slight cloud around me :/

    Reply
    • Sharon
      October 9, 2011 at 8:59 am (6 years ago)

      Clarissa,

      My sister has been on several different meds that weren’t working for her. Then she saw a Psychiatrist. She told me, they know the nuances of the different meds whereas a regular Doctor just prescribes whatever is popular at the moment. So, if it’s someone other than a Psychiatrist that has been prescribing meds, you might try seeing one of those.

      Sharon

      Reply

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