Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writer's Workshop Wednesday ~ Darla from Mom's World, on her struggle with postpartum depression

Welcome to Writer's Workshop Wednesday! This is my way of paying it forward to all the people out there who want to start writing, but don't have their own blogs yet, or who are established writers that are looking to appeal to a different audience. I have also opened this up to those who would like to post anonymously about topics that are too difficult to write about publicly. Each week, I will host one or two posts by different writers.

I hope that you enjoy this series, I hope you find some new writers to follow, I hope this helps them out and I hope we can all learn something from them.

Up today is Darla from Mom's World. Like far too many women, she suffered from post partum depression. Here, she opens up about her experience, what made her realize what she was dealing with, and how she has worked to heal from it. 

She is open with her experiences in the hopes that it will help someone else out there who needs to read this right now. You can find her on Facebook or on her blog here

With love and respect, her story.


My Personal Battle With Post Partum Depression
As many of you know, I am pretty open with my personal battles with Anxiety and Depression.

One story I haven't told is my battle with postpartum depression.

April, 2006.  I am 8 months pregnant and miserable.  The pregnancy was filled with consistent nausea, weakness, braxton-hicks contractions in the back and an uncertainty of what the gender of the baby was.  No, it was nothing serious, it was just the baby wouldn't cooperate during the ultrasounds to give us a view of the private parts.  I lost over 50lbs during the pregnancy and still had extreme swelling in my legs, hands and feet.

May 2nd, 2006 - Baby is due, but not coming out.  8 days later on May 10th, I was induced.  After a hellish labor (which I will save for another post) out comes our baby girl.  So blessed, so excited, so perfect.

Mid-May, 2006 - Baby is home and eating about every 3 hours.  My milk did not come in so she had to have formula from the start (which I was extremely unhappy about, not to mention unprepared).  Struggling with no sleep and the fact that I had a very active 4 year old at home with me, I started to feel different.

Angry, impatient, bitter and sad.  I stopped smiling.  I stopped playing with my son.  I sat him in front of a TV during the day and would get upset if he asked me any question.  The baby cried and cried and just never stayed satisfied with where she was or what she ate.  My husband could do nothing right.  He worked and came home and helped (while also building his show car).  He was happy.  Why wasn't I happy?

Then one day the baby woke up early from one of her naps and this overwhelming amount of anger and hate came over me.  All I wanted to do was throw her against the wall to shut her up.  I yelled and screamed and burst into tears.  Suddenly, the precious baby girl that I adored, that I longed for, was something that I loathed.

What's wrong with me?

Why am I feeling this way?

Someone help me!

I felt so alone.  I tried to talk to my Mom about it and she thought I was overreacting and just tired.

She didn't listen to me.

I cried.

I cut myself.

I felt so much hatred and disgust with myself that I wanted to end it all.  These kids didn't deserve to have me as their mother.

They needed better.

These feelings of hate and anger didn't go away.  It wasn't just a "tired mommy" thing.  I was really feelingthis.  I tried to talk to my husband about it, but he didn't understand.  He got his Mom involved when he realized that I wasn't myself.

She took me to the doctor.  I was immediately placed on Paxil.  Two weeks later the Paxil did nothing but give me headaches and make my anxiety, anger and depression worse so I stopped the meds.  I found the book "Down Comes the Rain" by Brooke Shields.  At first I was skeptical.  What would she have to say and would it be "real" or just some over exaggerated battle with new mommyhood.

I could not believe what I read.

" I started to experience a sick sensation in my stomach; it was as if a vise were tightening around my chest. Instead of the nervous anxiety that often accompanies panic, a feeling of devastation overcame me. I hardly moved. Sitting on my bed, I let out a deep, slow, guttural wail. I wasn’t simply emotional or weepy, like I had been told I might be. This was something quite different. In the past, if I got depressed or if I felt sad or down, I knew I could counteract it with exercise, a good night’s sleep, or a nice dinner with a friend. If PMS made me introspective or melancholy, or if the pressures of life made me gloomy, I knew these feelings wouldn’t last forever. But this was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away. "

Oh my gosh.  This is me.  This is EXACTLY how I have been feeling, but it was this quote that really had me hooked...

"During what was becoming one of the darkest points in my life, I sat holding my newborn and could not avoid the image of her flying through the air and hitting the wall in front of me. I had no desire to hurt my baby and didn’t see myself as the one throwing her, thank God, but the wall morphed into a video game, and in it her little body smacked the surface and slid down onto the floor. I was horrified, and although I knew deep in my soul that I would not harm her, the image all but destroyed me."

It was almost like she was reciting exactly what I was thinking and feeling, word for word.  I could not believe what I was reading.

After I finished the book I finally accepted the fact that I was dealing with postpartum depression and that the feelings I was having was not really 'me' and that I did not hate my daughter.  I read the book a couple of times and just did the best I could to manage the feelings and the guilt that was arising.
I started to look at the positives surrounding me, rather than the negative.

I have a beautifully healthy and really mild-mannered daughter.

I have a son who brightens up the room with his smile and personality.

I have a husband who loves me.

I have family who supports me.

I have resources.  People I can talk to that are not part of my family.  Safe people.  People who don't judge.  People that WANT to help.  People that CAN help.

3 months later - I could see the fog lifting.  The darkness was fading and the sun was shining through. The baby and I settled into a routine and when she cried I didn't have this feeling of hate rush through me. I began to feel that joy and love that you feel with a new baby and I started to smile again.

I honestly probably did not describe the whole thing that good, but it was definitely one of the lowest points in my life.  I am fortunate enough to have support from my husband and family and I believe that is what helped me the most get through.

There are so many great resources out there for postpartum depression, check out some below:

www.nami.org.
http://www.postpartum.net/
http://www.ppdsupportpage.com/index.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004481/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postpartum-depression/DS00546
http://www.webmd.com/depression/postpartum-depression/postpartum-depression-topic-overview

Also, if you haven't read it, I highly recommend checking out "Down Came the Rain" by Brooke Shields.  It really is a great book and it helped me get through my dark time.

Don't be ashamed of postpartum depression.  Allow yourself to accept it and allow others to help get you through.  It does not make you less of a Mom.  It makes you MORE of a Mom because you care enough about yourself to take care of yourself so you can take care of your child(ren).

Always remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  We are here; always here.

1 comment:

  1. I read that Brooke Shield's book after my daughter was born too. I didn't have post partum depression, but I can relate to your story. It's really hard when you are going through something difficult and the people in your life don't see it or can't except it for what it is.

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