Saturday, August 3, 2013

My struggle with Postpartum Depression

Being a mother is amazing and so fulfilling. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Wealth, nice things, nights out, even ice cream are nothing compared to holding a little one in your arms and knowing they are yours forever. I love my children dearly. I would give anything for their happiness. I think thats just a mothers love right?

Well all of this is true, but then how do I still at times want to just leave and not come back? That is the life with PPD. At least for me it is. I'm sure like most things (pregnancy, labor, life situations) its different for everyone. When I had Noah I had the baby blues for a week or two. You know the occasional crying and not really knowing why, the sleep deprived hormonal break downs, and the just wanting life to go back to what it was cuz it was easier but then realizing you love you baby so much that its going to be ok. It was tough but I got through it with out too much difficultly. Noah started to sleep more and I started to manage my time differently to accommodate the new little one I was caring for. I.e. napping when he did, not killing myself doing chores all day. After a few days of that I was fine and back to normal. Well as normal as you can be after having a child. After all having a baby does change you in ways. 

This time however is completely different that it was the first time. It makes me feel so very guilty knowing its so different. As if its going to hurt Rebekah in some way that I had an easier time with her brother. (Rebekah when youre reading this just know that I love you just as much as Noah. My body just reacted differently with your birth than it did with Noah. I had no control over it. I have to keep reminding myself of that fact as well) I feel like its not fair that I was fine with Noah and now this time I'm not. I am struggling so much to just keep my head above water and appear as if nothing is happening underneath the surface. I don't want people to know that my legs are jerking frantically under there trying to get up yet my face is just smiling and not showing a thing. I have a hard time, like most people, showing my weakness. I hate that I have them. I know I'm not perfect but I like to try to be the best I can to be. Thats probably what makes things even harder for me when I don't do as I expect things should be done. I freak out and then come to the conclusion that I'm a horrible _______ "person, mother, friend, wife) 

So what have things been like behind the upbeat, cheery, facebook posts and pictures, and instagrams? Well kind of all over the place. Sometimes I am fine. Then others I'm in a ball of shame and self doubt. I was literally crying off and on all day when I was home alone with the kids. Most of the time I wasn't even sure why. I thought at the first couple weeks it had to just be the normal baby blues and that it would soon subside. But then things just got progressively worse as I tried to hide it from everyone even Sean. I would have bad thoughts about myself. Never anything like wanting to hurt myself but just self loathing thoughts. I was having a hard time making myself eat. I just wasn't hungry and then I would realize I hadn't eaten all day and I would be starving but then not want to eat. I had insomnia so bad. Even when Bekah was sleeping I would just lay there staring at her knowing she was going to wake up soon. Then I would wake up to her stirring wanting to eat and realize I had just fallen asleep. I tried to make myself go to sleep but the anxiety wouldn't let me. I kept telling myself it was ok and that I just needed sleep and I would feel better. Even when I did manage to get in a couple good hours of sleep in I was still feeling those things. I was tired, irritated, and then angry I was feeling that way and couldn't seem to control it. I was getting irritated by my kids too for them simply wanting my attention or crying. I hated that I was getting upset with them for stupid things like that. What kind of mother does that? Not the kind I want to be. 

The night I realized I needed to tell someone about it was the night I wanted to hit Noah til he went to sleep. . . Just typing that makes me shake and want to cry right now. I can't believe that thought came into my head. Where did that come from? I didn't put it there. I would never hit my child. I don't even spank. How could I think of hitting him like that? I'm a horrible mother, I'm a horrible wife. I shouldn't even be allowed to be here. I should just leave. Those were the thoughts going through my head that night. I told Sean all the things I was dealing with while he held me and listened. He told me that he loves me and that our children love me. He said that those things were nothing like how I am. He said that I was a wonderful mother that is just going through a hard thing I can't control right now and that we will figure out how to make it better. I felt ashamed talking about it but also relieved that someone knew what was  going on in my head. Sean told me that he thinks I have PPD. I freaked out when he said that and said no I don't I'm a good mom. I'm fine. I was in denial. I didn't want to believe something was broken with me. I kept thinking if I had that then I am a bad mom and I need to be fixed. A dear friend from my moms ward said to me recently that "youre not broken and nothing needs to be fixed. You need to be understood not fixed" I agree with that so fully. Having depression does not mean I am broken and I'm glad she corrected that foolish way of thinking. I just have a weakness I'm going through right now and Ill be made stronger because of it. 

Another thing I didn't understand is how I could be fine and then all of a sudden I wasn't and I was crying or freaking out again. I felt like maybe it was in my head and I was somehow causing it to be a drama queen or something silly like that. I tried to control it and just stop being sad and it didn't work. Then that would make me even more upset til I was angry that I couldn't make it stop. I told Andrea that and she said "well thats what depression is. Its not like a constant sad pit. Well it can be but mostly its just an up and down thing you have to learn to work through" 

There is a lady in my ward that went through really bad (like had to go to the hospital) PPD 3 years ago when she had her daughter. She talked a little bit about it in her Relief Society lesson and I started to cry when I went up to talk to her after. She asked if I was going through it and I said that I think I am. She gave me a hug and we exchanged numbers. We have been texting since then and its good talking to someone that knows what I'm going through. 

I went to my doctor for my 6 week check up and told him everything that was going on as well. He said that yes that is infact PPD and prescribed me with Zoloft. I haven't started taking it yet because reading the side affects scared me. Also Sean agrees with me that I don't want to do that while breastfeeding. I know it gets to my baby and even though research says they haven't found any negative effects for the baby I can't seem to be ok with that. If it causes all those other things in women taking it there has to be something it could do to the baby. I don't know thats just my way of thinking. I know plenty of women that breastfeed have taken it and their babies are fine but I just still dont want to do it. No judgement on those that do. We all have to do what we think is best for our children and us. Right now the treatment I have decided to go with is the natural ways of fighting depression. I know this has to just be a hormone issue or something so that has to be worked through sooner or later in my body and for now I just have to deal with it. 

I have been talking about my feelings and concerns more with Sean and my sisters. They are a wonderful support and make me feel better even just being able to feel save enough to talk. Amanda Robyn and Andrea are just great sisters and I'm eternally grateful to them. Also talking to Jessica and Melissa has helped to. They remind me that just because I am struggling with this doesn't mean I'm a bad mom. I love them. 

The other things that I have been doing are praying and reading my scriptures more. Especially when I'm feeling sad or having bad thoughts about myself. Reading Gods word makes me feel at peace and I know that my Father in Heaven is there and knows me and knows my struggles and my weaknesses and still love me. I know that I can work through it. My mom gave me some oil blend that is supposed to help with depression that I have been using as well. Also I have been going to my parents house during the day when I start to feel depressed. Its nice to have their support. Basically I just have a wonderful support system that make things better when I'm having a hard time. 

Sean is the most amazing husband I could ever ask for. He has been picking up any slack I have left behind and has been giving me so much love and support. 

I think one of the things that was making it worse was not getting enough sleep. I have been getting better sleep lately. Noah was a champion sleeper. Rebekah however goes back and forth so much. She is a fussy sleeper. She will have one or two good nights then followed by some really bad nights where she wakes up and doesn't want to go back to sleep for hours. Not fun. We have been reading the book "healthy sleep habits happy child" and implementing the things we have learned from it and it seems to be going better.   

 Even with its hard and trying moments I am grateful to be a mom. I have been feeling better this last week and a half. I still have anxiety attacks some nights but their are getting better. And I know this won't last forever.  Not everything has been hard and I'm so in love with my little Rebekah. I love the sweet moments between her and Noah. I love watching Sean with the kids and seeing how much love he has for them. I am a blessed mama. I remind myself of that everyday.

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