I'd like to introduce you to my friend Jodi. Jodi is sharing her PPD experience to help promote awareness and to help support a local organization, Moms Supporting Moms, a part of Postpartum Education and Support.
I had my breakdown a year ago next month. It was a Monday morning, still very clear in my mind, and I was 8 weeks postpartum with my second child. My son was sick, again, and I was crying so hard I could barely text my mom to have her come over immediately. I waited anxiously at the door with a screaming, ill child and greeted her by handing over my son, saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” She had me call my doctor that morning, and I can’t thank her enough for starting me on the road to accepting and recovering from PPD.
The anxiety and depression were both new to me, and I only experienced mild baby blues with my daughter. N was a huge Christmas morning surprise to my husband and me (two pink lines? What?) and nine months later my cute little boy was born, unaware of the challenges that awaited him. He had a very bumpy first three months and was sick often: N had everything from harlequin color change to dairy intolerance. All of this weighed me down, spending countless hours at doctor appointments, pharmacies, and “researching” on the internet. I was overwhelmed. I felt guilty, exhausted, constantly sick to my stomach, and I cried many, many times a day. I didn’t want to show any sign of weakness.
My anxiety came in the form of the clock; it was my worst enemy. I would time N’s feedings with a stopwatch, starting the timer before getting him latched on just to add a few extra seconds. I couldn’t help myself, and I knew it was silly, but it’s just what I HAD to do. I had alarms on when to feed him, when to wake him, when I should wake, when I should sleep, and I was basically driving myself over the edge. I didn’t sleep much, and the insomnia was becoming dangerous: I vividly remember driving alone one night and seriously considering crashing my car just so I could get some rest in a hospital.
My depression surfaced during those long, lonely hours at night. I dreaded the sun going down, because I felt so ALONE, and was I left with my fears and guilt. My husband was fantastic and caring, my parents were helpful, but I just couldn’t shake the darkness that enveloped my life. I felt like I was living in a deep black hole and struggling not to sink deeper. I was scared to be alone with both children, scared to leave the house, and scared to admit that I needed help and wasn’t as strong as I thought.
Through an online moms forum, TriangleMommies.com, I read about Moms Supporting Moms and was willing to give it a chance. After sobbing my way through my introduction and hearing others talk, I felt so comforted knowing that I wasn’t crazy and that there were moms there that *got* my feelings of guilt, anxiety, and depression. If it weren’t for the caring and understanding moms I met through MSM, along with my wonderful family, I wouldn’t have been able to heal like I have. It’s been a long road, but light and happiness now fill my life, and I say yes, I can beat PPD. So can you.
If you live in the Triangle area and you'd like to participate in a walk to support PES and postpartum depression/anxiety awareness, please look here for more details on their upcoming Strollerthon!