Jenna’s Story – Living with PPD
Postpartum depression is hard.
It’s confusing and stressful and well depressing. I knew I first had postpartum depression when, a few days after having my baby girl I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want to take care of her; all I felt like doing was running away. Is this how everyone feels when they have a baby? Why am I having such a hard time with it? My husband immediately noticed the depression in me and took me to get help.
I’ve seen multiple doctors, been on multiple antidepressants from zoloft to paxil to lexapro to prozac to vibryd. After waiting weeks and weeks for it to “kick in” nothing helped. I still felt like running away. I still wanted to cry. I still felt like, how is everyone I see enjoying their babies and every single day I’m just waiting for it to be done?
Thankfully I have an amazing support system with my husband and family. They are the only ones that are helping me get through this.
Just a warning, this is not a success story yet. I’m writing to let other moms know that if you are feeling any of these things, it’s not you. It is a real disease. But I know, and believe in my heart, that this will pass. From all the moms that have had this, too, it will pass. I’m going on 8 months of this today. Believe me, every single day is a battle. Yes, there are some good days, but most days, I’m just asking and praying to be the person I was. Make me myself again.
I wasn’t like this before. I was very logical. We would joke my husband is the emotional one in the relationship. I don’t really know what it’s like to have a pouring on of intense, scared, crying emotions. But now I do. I’d say I am well versed in what it means to have emotions. Not that these are normal, everyday-mom emotions. But I know I can say I’ve been through this. This will make me stronger.
I’m not sure what it feels like to be a “normal” mom. That’s what probably hurts the most. I’m grateful that my baby has not suffered because of my sickness. But what I hope for, is to be able to raise my beautiful daughter and enjoy her every moment. Yes, I know there will be stress and things that frustrate me. But I want to have the energy to give her all this love that I feel for her. I don’t want to send her to the babysitter every day because I can’t make it through the day without crying.
Like I said before, I know this will pass. This will be part of my testimony. This will be what makes me strong. Until that time, I’m using sets of affirmations that I tell myself to know that this isn’t me.
This is my illness. And if you can take one thing away from all this is know, this is not you. You are a great mom. Just by caring enough to want to be a great mom.
Many people will be helped by medications, and by all means, if they help you take them. But if you’re like me and for some reason haven’t found the right medication just yet, I’d like to put this list from a book I’ve read. Tell yourself these things and believe them. You are strong every single day by getting through every single day.
You have postpartum depression.
You will be yourself again.
- I have postpartum depression.
- What I am feeling are symptoms of this illness. I am not making this up.
- Bleak as life seems now, this pain will not last forever.
- I am not going crazy.
- This is a real illness, and it can be treated.
- I didn’t do anything to make this happen.
- This is not my fault.
- I may have bad days, and I will have some good days. I will not always feel like this.
- I can choose to be active in the course of my recovery and help myself feel better.
- I’m doing the best I can.
- This will take a long time, whether or not I try to speed it up. I must take one day at a time.
- I cannot expect too much from myself right now.
- It is okay to make mistakes.
- There will be good days and bad days.
- It is okay for me to have negative feelings. If I fight having these feelings, it might take longer to feel better.
- Even though I feel so bad, just getting through the day is proof of my strength. I can be proud of how much I have accomplished when I get through the day feeling this bad.
- I know that some of the pain I am feeling right now is part of the recovery process.
- Today, when I am feeling bad, I know that I will not feel bad all of the time. This is just a bad day. I will get through this day the best I can. I will try to rest. I will pamper myself a bit. I will treat myself well because I deserve it. And I will wait this out.
- Some of what I am feeling is just like what other mothers feel. Not all of my bad feelings are symptoms of PPD. All mothers of new babies feel tired, irritable, or stressed at times.
- It’s okay that not everyone understands what I am going through. I still have a real illness that is treatable, even if other people don’t know anything about PPD.
- I will feel like myself again.
*Excerpt From Karen R. Kleiman & Valerie Davis Raskin, M.D. “This Isn’t What I Expected [2nd edition].” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/c6Vhib.l