We’re almost through with a week-long rally for PPD and PPA Awareness. I couldn’t be more pleased with the support y’all have given me and the women who have been brave enough to share their stories this week. I have some final thoughts, but since we’re going to have nine days of stories, I’ll save my closing thoughts for tomorrow.
Today’s Guest Blogger is a good e-friend of mine. Tri and I met on “Babies on the Brain” on The Bump when we were both still trying to conceive our little guys. I got pregnant with Joshua and then, about a month later, she got pregnant with Christopher. Tri’s story is like that of many moms–she didn’t realize right away that she was experiencing PPD.
Hello! My name is Tri (for short). I am the author of the blog Rocky Mountain Mama. Miranda and I met online through a baby chat board. Since it is Mental Health Awareness Week, Miranda asked if I could guest blog about my PPD story.
Someone very close to me told me that I should not write about my PPD on my blog for fear that others may see it. Well, PPD is very real and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. 10% to 15% of pregnancies result in PPD.
I never thought it would happen to me. I got pregnant only after a couple months of trying, had a text book pregnancy and an easy birth. When Christopher James was born, I fell head over heels for that adorable boy! And it turned out he was a very easy baby. He wasn’t overly fussy and really only cried when he needed something. Breastfeeding also came easy for us.
The first couple of weeks having a new baby were tough. I thought that maybe we had made a mistake with bringing a baby into our lives. The lack of sleep and the newness of the situation cause a lot of stress for us. Once CJ was about 1 month old, I began to feel like a pro. I knew what my kid wanted and when he wanted it. I was able to meet his needs, keep up with things around the house, run errands…you name it! I was like super mom.
As the summer shortened, the weight of a new school year began to push down on me. I didn’t want to go back to work. I didn’t want to leave my CJ in someone else’s care. T (the husband) and I were very pleased with the day care we chose, but it didn’t make the anxiety of returning to work any less. The weeks leading up to my return to work, I was completely unhappy. All I could think about was leaving CJ. I could not see any positives about going back to work even though I was starting at a great new school. The week before I was to return to work I spent a couple hours with CJ at his day care. I choked back tears the entire time.
Then it came…the first day back to work. I pulled it together while we were dropping off CJ, but as soon as I turned to leave it hit me. I got in my car and bawled the entire way to work.
I got it together and made it through my first weeks of school, but leaving CJ at day care never got easier for me. In fact, every Sunday I would cry myself to sleep dreading leaving him and going back to work the next day.
It started affecting me at work too. I went through the motions, taught what needed to be taught, graded the work, but I just wasn’t there. I wasn’t into it. No fresh ideas, no trying new things, nothing…and I didn’t really care. I was pumping during my planning, at lunch and after school which also affected my relationship with my teammates. I began to feel completely segregated. Even though I went out to lunch with them every Friday, I still didn’t feel part of the group and didn’t feel valued. I didn’t feel that my ideas were being taken seriously.
This entire time I wondered, is this PPD or am I just having a hard time balancing work and baby? That must be it….this is completely normal. Being a working mom is hard, right?
Yes, being a working mom is hard, but there was much more than just being “a little overwhelmed” going on.
Finally, it came to a head. I was getting so irritated with T. He was breathing too loud, he chewed too loud, he wasn’t doing this correctly or just his mere presence would bother me. CJ started irritating me also. I would be reading or on my computer and he would crawl all over me to get my attention and I would get mad at him.
I love CJ to the depths of my being and I would never, ever hurt him. He is my everything. Looking back I realize there were thoughts that went through my head that frighten the crap out of me. Like I said, I would never hurt CJ, but I can now remember, thinking things like imagining him falling down the stairs and what would happen if he did.
What mother thinks like this?! I felt like a horrible, horrible mother.
When CJ was about 8 months old, I finally made the decision that I needed help. I found someone I felt comfortable with. She scheduled me immediately and invited me to bring CJ to my first session. I was diagnosed with PPD during my first visit. I was prescribed Zoloft and immediately felt a sense of relief. I know it sounds cheesy, but I could feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders. Everything was going to be OK.
I have now been taking Zoloft for about 4 months and I feel great! I have more motivation at home. I want to come home and play with my little man instead of just sleep on the couch. I have also spent hours on end in the kitchen making baby food. Oh my gosh – I am a completely different person at work. I have a ton of amazing new ideas. The kids have noticed a difference as well…I can just tell in their behavior.
There you have it…my PPD story. Becoming a mother is a very hard transition. Being a working mother is even more difficult. The stresses are sometimes hard to cope with but there is nothing wrong or shameful about having PPD. As I said earlier, up to 15% of pregnancies result in PPD. The thing with PPD is that you may just think it’s the “Baby Blues” and it will go away. My initial baby blues did go away, but it came back even stronger. Many people also think PPD starts shortly after the baby is born. False. It can show up much, much later than that.