This extremely long post has been in the works for a while. I hesitated writing because I had just had the baby and I didn't want anyone to think I was writing it to get pity. That's not the purpose of this post. I want people who have been through postpartum depression to know they're not alone and the friends and family members of those who suffer from it to understand what they can do to help.
When my husband and I brought our firstborn home from the hospital, I assumed everything would be magical. Watching my sweet baby sleep, listening to her coo, feeling instant love for this new little person in our life. Instead I felt nothing. I was scared to death of hurting her. I had no connection to this child who interrupted my life with my husband.
I figured the love would come, but it didn't. Instead I developed extreme anxiety. My days and nights were filled with panic attacks. Full blown, hyperventilating, curl-up-in-a-ball panic attacks. I would cry as I fed my daughter in the middle of the night, feeling extreme guilt that I didn't love her. After all, who doesn't love babies, especially their own?
My poor husband felt helpless. He had to return to work the day after we came home from the hospital, so he wasn't there physically for me. He wanted to fix everything, but had no idea how. All he could do was hold me each night as I would break down.
I prayed like I had never prayed before. I assumed if my faith were strong enough, the Atonement would heal me and take this trial away. I received priesthood blessing after priesthood blessing from my husband and others. My heart never changed.
I was lucky enough to have my sister live close and my mother come and stay. They both held me and told me I was not alone. That they had both gone through this before and everything I was feeling was out of my control. Everything was chemical-caused and things weren't firing correctly in my brain. It wasn't my fault that I was going crazy and that no matter how much I knew I shouldn't feel that way, I wasn't in control of my thoughts and feelings.
They told me that many women go through this and there is help. That I could call my doctor and see about getting medication. I strongly resisted. I was still convinced I could do it on my own. That these feelings of dread, fear, and depression would just go away on their own. They were insistant, telling me that this could go away in a week or a year. I knew I couldn't suffer through this for a year. I was not strong enough. So I made the call.
It didn't go well. I expected the office to set up an appointment so I could meet with my doctor, discuss my concerns, and get a prescription that would fix my specific symptoms. Instead I spoke with a nurse who, very matter of factly, said, "The Baby Blues are very common. Lots of women have it. I'll talk to the doctor and call you back." When she called back, she informed me that the doctor had called in a prescription and I could pick it up at the pharmacy that day.
And that was that.
As if I wasn't feeling worthless enough, I felt brushed aside. Like I was just like any other crazy lady and that I wasn't even worth seeing in person. My sister was so upset she insisted I visit her doctor.
I am so grateful I did.
Click HERE for Part 2.