I’m Jordan. I work at Care Net and wanted to share with you my personal story of postpartum depression. When I had my son, it was such a happy time for me and my husband. We spent two days at the hospital just crying tears of joy and loving our baby boy more than anything.
But, when we got home, things changed for me. I was terrified. My husband had to go back to work almost immediately, and I cried and cried that first night I had our baby all to myself. I didn’t think I could handle it. I was afraid I would do something wrong or hurt our baby. And, as horrible as it sounds, I wasn’t sure I actually loved him. I didn’t know how to. It was very confusing and I did feel disconnected from him. Eventually, I started to get more comfortable and confident. I shared many bonding moments with my baby, and I just loved to hold him and stare at him for hours.
Then, about four months into motherhood, after a long and hard struggle with breastfeeding, my son stopped nursing and I lost my milk. I had never felt more defeated and heartbroken in my life up to that point. I tried so hard and I wanted to nurse more than anything. Now, it may not seem like such a big deal to some, but that was my turning point and it pushed me deeper into postpartum depression. I dealt with it alone for almost a year. I never really spoke about it with my husband or my doctor or anyone. I thought that I would just get over it with time. I was carrying resentment against my husband and even my son. It was hard to be around other moms and family members. I felt embarrassed because I couldn’t do it, and I beat myself up over it.
But the truth is, I couldn’t really control the situation. It wasn’t because of my failure or my faults: depression is simply a complication that comes with childbirth. And, although I should have talked to my doctor about it and sought help, my healing didn’t come from a doctor or medication. It came from God and His complete and total love for me no matter what – His lack of condemnation and His loving mercy. I realized that He loves me even when I don’t love myself, and that knowledge set me free. One Sunday at church I heard this song played, Chambers by Catherine Mullins, and I can’t describe how much it spoke to my heart. All of my brokenness and sense of failure and self-condemnation melted away as I let God put the pieces of my heart back together.
I want to encourage other women, and even men, who are currently going through any kind of postpartum depression to seek help. You do not have to go through it alone; you do not have to struggle for a year like I did. There is help. Talk to your spouse, a friend/family member or your doctor. You are not alone in this battle. Also, reach out to God to put the pieces of your heart back together. He loves you, and this is not meant for you. There is joy for you and your baby.
Feeling Sad After Your Baby Arrives?
Having a baby is one of the most joyous events that life has to offer. The newness, the excitement and all the celebrating that come with having a baby are overwhelming. It’s such a special time that many people love the experience. However, it can also be a very confusing time in life. Having a baby also comes with many changes and many challenges. Welcoming a baby is not always an easy adjustment. More than 3 million men and women experience postpartum depression every year. Postpartum depression can be a very real and scary thing to go through, even though you have this precious baby to love.
There are three levels of postpartum depression. The first is postpartum baby blues. This comes on two to three days after delivery and can last up to two weeks, fading away after that. The Baby blues may include feelings of anxiety, crying, mood swings and trouble sleeping.
At the other end of the spectrum is postpartum psychosis. This is an extreme and rare form of postpartum depression. If you experience hearing or seeing things that others don’t or have thoughts of harming yourself or others, this may be sign of postpartum psychosis. You should seek help from a medical professional immediately.
Longer lasting and more severe than the baby blues but not as extreme as psychosis is the second level, postpartum depression, which includes all or some of the symptoms listed below.
- Feeling overwhelmed and alone.
- Feeling guilty.
- Feeling resentment against your baby or partner.
- Feeling confused or scared.
- Sadness, hopelessness.
- Feeling disconnected or not bonded to your baby.
- Feeling like something is wrong.
- Not able to “snap out of it” on your own.
- Feeling like a bad parent or like you will be judged if you ask for help.
- Lack of concentration or focus.
- Easily irritated or angry.
- Changes in appetite or sleep.
These are all things to be aware of and to look for after you’ve had a baby. Experiencing postpartum depression is not a personal failure; it is a result of the combination of hormonal changes, adjustment to motherhood and fatigue. There are medications and treatments to help you manage your symptoms and enjoy your baby, so don’t be afraid to talk to someone about your concerns. Additionally, you can implement some self-care measures that may be helpful.
- Call a sympathetic friend, join a mothers group or sign up for a parenting class (offered at hospitals, local churches and at Care Net)
- Shower, style your hair and apply makeup (ask your partner, a friend or relative to watch baby if necessary)
- Get some fresh air by strapping baby in a stroller and walking around the block or just sitting outside in the sunshine for a few minutes
- Rest your weary body by taking a nap, reading or watching TV while baby sleeps.