Disclaimer* I am not a doctor and I’m not here to give anyone advice on how to conquer depression. I am here simply stating my experience with postpartum depression. I strongly advise that should you have any questions about postpartum depression, seek professional medical attention. If you feel like doing harm to yourself or those around you, please see immediate medial attention.
I always ended up having a little bit of post partum depression after each of my kids. Baby blues immediately after birth. After I had Aiden 10 years ago, I went on anti-depressants for about a month and things started to lighten up afterwards. After Kato, about 6 years ago, I would scream and run up the stairs and cry and tell TJ “YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE ME CAUSE I’M STILL FAT”. Dramatic, much?
Before I had Jasper, I knew that there was a very good chance I would have some form of post partum depression. I was very vocal about it with friends. I let those closest to me know that I expected to have baby blues. I encouraged them to check up on me. I knew during this time, I didn’t want to be alone.
Right after having Jasper, the blues set in. In fact, I probably had the blues starting in my labour. I couldn’t help but know that while I was going to have a baby and had my partner by my side, something was off. I didn’t feel right. Hearing “I love you” “you’re doing great” “I’m right here” made me feel empty.
In the hospital, I remember there was one day, I can’t even remember why I was upset but I was crying hysterically. I was shaking. I threw TJs phone across the room and shattered his screen and I screamed “I NEED MORE SUPPORT”. I couldn’t explain what I needed. My hormones were taking a huge dip. I felt like a crazy person. I made so much commotion that the nurse and social worker came in to make sure everything was okay. For the time being, it was ok.
Postpartum depression is different from the “baby blues,” which begin within the first three or four days of giving birth, require no treatment and lift within a few hours or days. PPD is a deeper depression that lasts much longer. It usually starts within the first month after childbirth (although it can occur any time within the first year) and can last weeks to months. In more serious cases, it can develop into chronic episodes of depression.
I know sometimes you think “postpartum depression? So are you planning on killing yourself and your kids?” Well no. Postpartum depression is different for everyone. Some experience a psychosis of some sort, some hear voices, some cry, some, like me, stop enjoying everything they used to. They don’t want to socialize, participate, or even take interest in their kids.
Postpartum psychosis refers to the sudden onset of psychotic symptoms after childbirth. This condition is rare—approximately 1-2 cases per 1000 births.
I felt like a monster.
A week or two after giving birth, I could feel the clouds of depression rolling in. I stopped enjoying things like shopping, my favourite shows, my favourite meals. I would cry some days and not be able to move or get out of bed. Postpartum depression made me feel like a monster. I felt like a monster. Here I am, three beautiful kids, and I couldn’t look at them. Some days, don’t want to service them, I don’t want to play with them, feed them (although I do because these boys never stop eating), and I don’t want to be a mom. Some days I don’t want to be a mom.
The worst part is when someone tells me “why are you so upset when you have so many things to be thankful for?” Can I just say, that is a highly offensive and insensitive comment. I can’t really control this part of me. I don’t “intend” to feel awful or want to cry or not enjoy everything around me. This is like being sick. You don’t try to be sick. I happens and while it’s unfortunate, I didn’t “try” to feel this way. In fact, I very much hope I didn’t feel this way at all. I just wanted to take a moment to say, I’m not a monster nor am I trying to be. If you can’t understand someone’s depression, make no comment on it. It’s not your place to judge them. (<— that’s my take on it anyways)
How am I getting through it?
- Talk about it
- I talk a lot about what I’m going through with those closest to me. I’ve kept my circle small but powerful. These relationships I have, fulfill me in so many ways. Just being able to vent without judgment has been amazing. I am nothing without those I can depend on to support me and bring me back down to reality. I understand what it means when they say it “takes a village”.
- Work it out
- I started working out again 6 weeks pp. I started with spin class and since then now nearly 4 months pp, I started going back to the gym. Physical activity had given me strength. Not just physically but mentally as well. I have been able to move that energy from something that’s toxic and clouds my mind to something tangible that I can “use”.
- I meditate regularly. Usually while breastfeeding to be honest. It helps me relax while feeding and helps milk flow. I take a regular inventories of things I am thankful for. I make time for myself to become more self-aware and focus on what I need at that given time. I make time to think about me. I think that being so self-aware has been my greatest strength. I remind myself that I am doing the best I can. I am doing the best I can.
- TJ says I’m less grumpy when I eat. I try to make sure I eat regularly and often throughout the day. I usually try to eat well and have veggies, protein and whole grains however if I need a “quick bite”, drive through wraps are great in a pinch. I try not to be so hard on myself for what I eat. I’m doing the best I can.
- Unconventional supplements
- I had heard that placenta pills were supposed to help with postpartum depression. Knowing fully that I might get it, I tried them myself. I really did enjoy how they made me feel. Whether or not it was the placebo affect I’ll never know. However I did notice that while taking them my milk supply would suffer which is why I stopped taking them. Feel free to send me a note if you want more information on where I had gotten my placenta pills.
- CBD oil. I take zero THC CBD oil on days that I can’t sleep. I have found that it eases my nerves and anxiety without altering my judgement. It has helped relax me and give me a little bit of peace. I don’t take it often, only on my really bad days. I can’t say how this affects my breastfeeding. I usually take it at night when Jasper has the longest stretch of sleep before his next feeding. My best advice is to check with your doctor before you try any type of “unconventional” supplement as I have.
- Doing things I enjoy
- I’ll go out to eat with a friend, get coffee, get my nails done, or just get out of the house. Being cooped up all day doesn’t help. Some fresh air does me good and doing something small to help me feel like myself helps. Calling a friend, helps. I will admit it doesn’t always help, but taking time for myself really helps me focus on myself and what I need.
It gets better…
I am 4 months postpartum and definitely still have really good days and really bad days. As time has gone by, the bad are fewer and further in-between. Working out really helps me and I feel really good after. I never regret a workout. I still cry for no reason. I still have days I “hate” myself and struggle with being a mom.
I try not to blame myself for feeling this way. I realize that sometimes people can’t help it. It’s not my fault. I didn’t feel this way intentionally. I didn’t do this to myself. I didn’t wish this upon myself. I am only human. I am doing the best I can. I will get better. It will take time to get back to normal. I will get there.