Things We Can’t Say Out Loud About Postpartum Depression


Mental Health / Sunday, May 6th, 2018

I read an article sometime ago about a woman who was suffering greatly from postpartum depression. After a few months of experiencing angry fits, she finally decided to speak with her obstetrician. I was shocked when I read her story:

I had an OB appointment yesterday, my first since giving birth 4 months ago (because they kept canceling my appointments), which is inhumane in my eyes,” Porten wrote. “I went to the appointment alone with Kira. It was at 2:10, and I was not called back to a room until 3:15. A nurse practitioner comes in (one I don’t particularly care for) and I tell her everything my husband told them when he scheduled me the appointment a week ago. That I have postpartum depression that is manifesting in fits of anger, and I want to discuss my medication options.

I tell them I have a very strong support system at home, so although I would never hurt myself or my baby, I’m having violent thoughts and I need medication and therapy to get through this. She rushed through my pelvic exam, barely spoke about medication, said she needed to talk to the doctor about my PPD, and left the room. … They called the f*cking cops on me.

10 hours later this poor mother was released from the ER after a psychiatric evaluation- all the while carrying her infant. She left with no medication, no referrals, and no follow up appointment.

So, I’ve had my fair share of time spent in a psychiatric ward and I plan on never going back again. I struggled struggle with PPD. It sucks. Depression is over-powering, scary, and real.

Things we can't say out loud about postpartum depression

After reading this article, I was very, very hesitant to bring up how much I’ve been struggling to my therapist. In my sessions, I would touch on the fact that I was feeling baby bluesbut I never relayed to what extent my sadness had grown to. Then one day, after yet another hormonal breakdown, I finally told her. Luckily for me, my therapist is understanding and dedicated to actually helping me. Keyword here is: luckily.

There are still some things I feel that I can’t say, in fear that my words would be taken too literally. In fear that someone will deem me unfit to care after my own baby (no one else on this planet knows her better than I do!). In fear that there will be a knock on the door and I’ll be dragged once again to a hospital for an evaluation and my daughter is left behind.

But I’m going to say these thoughts out loud now (type them out loud?). Hopefully, the more we normalize PPD, the better chance mothers have of actually getting help from healthcare providers.

TRIGGER WARNING AHEAD: Self-harm and suicidality.

What We Can’t Say Out Loud

I Hate My Baby

No. I don’t actually hate my baby. I love her, I love her more than I love myself. But sometimes I can’t help but feel that she stole my identity. When I was first figuring out how to be a mom, I had moments where I blamed my daughter for throwing a wrench into my sex life. All I wanted to do was feel physically close to my husband again. That beloved intimacy that I craved so much had flown out of reach. Not only was I ashamed of my postpartum body, but I was mentally and physically exhausted. I really struggled with the whole “I don’t know who I am anymore” feeling.

I Want to Run Away

There were moments when everything just kind of bubbled up inside of me and I thought I would explode from the stress. I’ve thought about running away. Never seriously, because I could not imagine leaving my family behind- my mother abandoned me when I was just 2 months old. I haven’t recovered from that void and I could never do that to my child.

I Want to Hurt Someone

Nothing gets you to a psych evaluation faster. These intrusive thoughts are actually terrifying. For the sake of being completely honest and candid with you guys, I’m going to tell you that I had the most trouble with this- mainly with urges to hurt myself. I relapsed on self-harm about a week after I gave birth.

I Don’t Want This Anymore

Yeah, that’s a tough thought to have invade your mind. It’s come across my mind a few times. Again, I love my daughter. But everything changes once you have a baby and it changes FAST. For example, I was not prepared at all for the significant shift with my husband. While we are close and have a wonderful, stable marriage, the change of intimacy really got to my head. I’ve spent several frustrating nights crying into my pillow because the question of, “Did I make a mistake?” floated into my head.

I’m Having Violent Thoughts of My Baby Being Hurt

I don’t know if I’m alone on this one…. every once and a while, awful, intrusively violent visions would pass through my mind of my baby being hurt. The visions scared me and I didn’t understand why those were happening. It’s happening less frequently now. When they happen, though, they really make me uneasy.

 

postpartum support; you're not alone

The most baffling thing about all of this is these thoughts are SO COMMON. Detachment and resentment are THE two most listed symptoms of PPD, yet moms are so hesitant to bring them up to their doctors.

Moms, I urge you to speak up. YOU are your own advocate. The more we talk about it, the more normal it becomes. We deserve help. Afterall, we’re the ones raising the next generation.

 

Find help at any of the below resources:

Postpartum Health Alliance

Postpartum Support International– 1 (800) 944-4773

 

 

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