I’m a new mom and I’m experiencing some postpartum depression. There are a few things I think contributed to my developing it. First of all, I’m prone to anxiety and depression and have struggled in the past with social anxiety. While I was pregnant, I had a secret concern that I would wind up with a touch (or more) of postpartum, but I didn’t tell anyone. That wasn’t the best decision. Second is the fact that I had to go on bed rest.
Because I started developing blood pressure issues, my doctor told me I couldn’t work any more — that was three weeks before I’d intended to stop working. It wasn’t strict bed rest — it was more like ‘take it easy and keep your feet up’ bed rest — but if you know me, you’d know that was not a good moment. I don’t like to sit. I don’t like to take it easy. Heck, I can hardly sit through a whole movie! It was a tough three weeks for me.
Finally, my son Connor was born. And I was off work for another six weeks — that’s nine weeks total of sitting at home! In the beginning, we had many visitors, but after a while the visiting slowed a bit. I found myself crying. Sometimes when Connor would cry, we’d both be crying. I’d snap at my husband for no reason. I felt like a bad mom for feeling the way I did — I’d secretly wish someone would come stay with us and pitch in, so I wouldn’t have to deal with anything.
At the time, I knew that I should’ve called my doctor, but I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t happy. I mean, I had this awesome little dude with me — one we’d had through IVF, so I’d wanted him more than anything — and I felt that no one would understand why I couldn’t be happy at that time.
When I went back to work, things got remarkably better for me. I felt useful and productive again. Obviously, being a mom, you’re very much those things, but I just hadn’t felt it while I was at home. Even though I missed my son while I was at work, having some time apart helped remind me how much I cherish all those little things that make him him.
But, on my 30th birthday, I realized I wasn’t completely better. I’d wanted to have a group of friends over for a party in our yard. That’s what we did, and it was perfect. But when the night was over, I wasn’t able to say that I had a blast. I didn’t really enjoy myself at all actually — I’d just gone through the motions. Then I realized I wasn’t finding joy in much of anything. I wasn’t even looking forward to being Matron of Honor at my best friend’s upcoming wedding. Yes, I’d smile and laugh and enjoy seeing Connor learn and experience new things — but that was it. Nothing else.
I had a good cry and told my husband how I was feeling. He made me promise to call my doctor the following Monday — or that he’d do it himself. Calling meant admitting that I wasn’t happy — that wasn’t easy, but I did it. The nurse I spoke to was, of course, totally understanding and not at all judgmental. She talked to my doctor and called in a prescription for Zoloft.
Just knowing that I rose above and called my doctor — and that I have some medicine that can help — makes me feel better already. I want to be the best mom I can be, and it’s impossible to be that if I’m completely miserable. If you’re feeling this way too, you’re not alone. It’s important to get help and to talk to your doctor as soon as possible — even if you think it’s just a small “touch” of depression or the blues. And most importantly, under no circumstances does it mean you’re a bad mom. Hang in there.
Have you struggled with the baby blues or postpartum depression? How did you get through it?