Most people hear the word depression and shutter. But not me. Never in my life was I so happy to hear any word as much as depression. Here is my story on how postpartum depression saved me.
My second pregnancy was pretty much the same as my first. No major problems or complications. At each doctors appointment, myself and the baby were healthy and growing right on track. The delivery was relatively easy as well. To be honest, it was a lot easier the second time around. I labored for 5 hours compared to 13 hours. All very normal.
So of course, you think you know exactly what to expect the second time around.
But once we got home from the hospital something was different. Take out the normal lack of sleep due to round-the-clock nursing sessions and a newborn being attached to you 24/7. I just didn’t feel right.
There was a feeling in me that wasn’t supposed to be there. I didn’t feel happy when holding my son. I didn’t feel like I was able to bond with him. I didn’t smile at him the way I did with my first son. I was getting very frustrated at the littlest things with him—why did I have to hold him all the time? Then I would get mad at myself for getting frustrated with this tiny human who was just trying to figure out his new world, like I was.
Then it started to affect my marriage. I wasn’t connecting with my husband. All I wanted him to do when he got home from work was have him take the baby so I could play with my older son. It was hard for me to find joy in the every day things that used to make me smile.
I talked to my good friend who went through the baby blues period. I would tell my husband, I think something is wrong. When my husband said, “maybe you should talk to your doctor,” is when it finally hit me.
I remembered the standard postpartum depression questionnaire that I filled out with both pregnancies. Questions on the Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale include:
But I thought to myself, “this couldn’t be me. I’m not depressed. That’s not me at all.”
I called my doctor. I told her how I had been feeling. I cried. A lot. She moved up my standard six week follow up appointment and I was seen that day.
I filled out the questionnaire again. That’s when it all started to make sense. My doctor finally said those words, “Sabrina, it is postpartum depression.” I cried some more.
I finally had an answer to how I was feeling. She prescribed me Zoloft. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with taking a medication. But if it was going to help me feel like myself again, then I would try it.
Less than 48 hours after taking the medicine, I felt like me again.
I was actually smiling at my baby.
I started talking to him—a first since we brought him home. We were laughing together at the silliest things.
When my husband came home, I told him about our day. How we played on the silly playmat for an hour, how we went on a walk and that he actually smiled at me. I was connecting with my husband again.
I was myself, finally.
It’s not easy recognizing there might be something wrong. It’s not easy asking for help. But it should be.
Postpartum depression saved me and I am grateful everyday for having the resources available to help heal me.
But something needs to change.
Many of my girlfriends said they didn’t fill out the questionnaire. Others said they filled it out but their doctor never discussed it with them.
This was incredibly maddening. I want there to be more conversation around postpartum depression. I don’t think there is much if any conversation around postpartum depression or depression in general. I have a lot of ladies reach out to me privately to say they wished they had received helped earlier.
Why do we feel ashamed? We should never feel ashamed for wanting to help ourselves and our loved ones.
So let’s start talking.
Did you experience any of these feelings postpartum? Were you familiar with the postnatal depression scale and questionnaire? Let’s discuss, I would love to hear from you.