Category Archives: My Experience with Post-Partum Depression

Where I will be posting my experiences with PPD. I think that more people should share their experiences in this area of mental health.

Insomnia and Anxiety create a Mix of Regret

I can’t sleep, though I am tired. I can’t focus on anything, because I’ve got free floating anxiety. I don’t know why I’m writing right now, except that I’m hoping that it will make me feel better when nothing else has today.

It is after midnight so it is mother’s day. I’m not feeling excited about celebrating motherhood. I don’t know why. I think maybe it’s because I don’t get to spend as much time with my son as I feel that I should. I try to do the best I can for him, and right now that means that he goes to school where someone can be home for him when he gets off the bus. I can’t. I have to work, and I don’t make enough for after school child care, and that’s not what I want for him anyway. This however, isn’t what I want either.

I want to see the things he does every day. I want to hear him laugh, watch him grow, and help him with his homework. I want to be the person the school calls when he needs to go home sick, and I want to be the one who tucks him in at night, and teaches him his nightly prayers. I want to read his bedtime story and sing him his song. I want to hold him and cuddle him and show him how much I love him every day.

For the first part of his life I wasn’t capable of feeling these things. It got easier for me to let him be with family that could give him the love he deserved. That’s the problem with post partum depression. You can’t feel what you want to toward your child, and you hate yourself for it. I tried medication, and therapy, but nothing helped. Now I lost the chance to create the bond with him that I should have had.

There is no way to change the past. And while I can try to forgive myself for things which were out of my control, I don’t think I have the right. Not yet. Not until I again have the chance to be a family, be his mother.

I don’t deserve a happy mother’s day, because I haven’t been a happy mother. I’ve hardly been a mother. Others stepped in to fill that role, and I feel that now it is too late. I will never have my baby back, and I will never get to know what it’s like to hold my new born child with awe and wonder at the beauty that he is. I might not deserve it, but I wish I had it.

So now I’m exhausted, sad, anxious, and lost. I feel alone all the time, and I don’t see things getting better in that department. I have let down the one person I should never have let down. I’m not a terrible person, and I hope that I’m not a terrible mother. I’m just not mother of the year.

I want to grow, and watch my son grow. I want to love, and be loved. I don’t want to be alone, but I want my time with myself. I want more time with my son, because he is the world. The most special and spectacular thing I will ever create. No piece of art, music, or writing will ever compare to what my son is.

I’m not sure this is the type of crazy to embrace. So instead I say embrace the love. If you are angry with your mothers, or you children for not being able to be the best versions of themselves, especially if it is due to mental illness, please take today to forgive. Maybe if we all forgive each other, it will become easier to forgive ourselves.


Mitch Hedberg Got it Wrong

Mitch Hedberg once said that addiction is the only disease you can be yelled at for having. Unfortunately, I have found in my life that people are just as willing to yell at you for being crazy. So ultimately he got it wrong.

If you have a mental illness, people often get upset with you for it. Post-partum depression is one that people really just don’t get. Often people think that if you just have more time to bond with your baby that things will be alright. Or if you have anxiety they get angry because you can’t always do the things you want to do, or planned to do. Those who have never experienced these things often get angry with the afflicted person. Even if they truly wish to be understanding, at some point they get mad.

Now the problem with this is that it is completely counter productive to tell a crazy person to stop being crazy. You can’t tell someone with OCD to knock it off, it doesn’t work that way. I can’t shut off my OCD any more than I can shut off the need to eat and drink to live. I don’t need OCD to live, but I’m hardwired for it. Getting angry with me because I see the world different isn’t fair. It’s not like I have an opinion you don’t agree with, my brain literally works differently than yours does.

Lots of crazy people end up with addiction problems and then get yelled at even more. Well I think that if we were more understanding in the beginning that some of these people would have never turned towards self-medicating to feel better, or feel nothing. When everyone around you doesn’t understand you or accept that you have a problem it is tough to recover, whether you’re an addict or have a mental illness, we need love and support. Screw that, as humans we need love and support.

Now there is love and support, and there is smothering. You can just be there as a friend to be loving and supportive, you do not have to constantly go over to your friend’s house to make sure they are alive, a text works. A phone call to show you care. Be there when they need you, so they know it is okay to ask you when they need help. Be prepared to be frustrated, those of us who are crazy and know it are a tough bunch to be around. You have to understand that we can’t always control how we feel, most people can’t control how they feel all the time anyway, so why expect us to be able to.

We are a little different, maybe even slightly broken. This doesn’t mean to throw us away, this means you sit around while we stich up our gaps. Just existing helps us more than advice. If you don’t understand it you can’t fix it. Those of us who do understand our illness can’t fix it. We think differently, and that’s a good thing. If everyone in the world saw things in the same way, then it would be a very dull world.

Embrace the crazy. Don’t be angry about it, learn how you can live with it.

Not Just the Baby Blues

It is hard enough for any mother to have a child and not lose her mind to a point, yet some of us completely crack. For the ones that crack it is hard to accept everything about being a mother, from the pregnancy itself, the birth, and finally the all-consuming responsibility of raising the child. Support is key and that doesn’t start with the birth it starts with the conception. I give praise to the women who decide they want a child and they do it all themselves, no fathers involved. I think that if that had been my plan, or story, things would have turned out very differently for me.
When I found out I was pregnant I was 25 and not ready to be a mother. This isn’t to say that I didn’t want children, I wanted kids, but I wanted to be married and have already finished college. These things were not in the cards for me though and my depression began almost as soon as the clear blue easy digital pee stick, boldly stated pregnant, without the first word, the word which I had always relied on being there. So I texted my roommate and ask for another box of advanced technology. (That’s how the pregnancy test was advertised and all of my female friends at that point loved the idea of peeing on advanced technology.)
Three tests later I was being congratulated and I couldn’t figure out why. Yes I wanted kids, but why is it a good thing right now? I was about to move to Boston and go back to school and make something of my life. These were things I suddenly felt I could not do alone and pregnant. So I resigned myself to having the child thinking everything would be just fine. Other women have babies without husbands and they are okay, right?
My roommate moved out, long story there, and I was alone in my house and sick. For the first five months of my pregnancy I couldn’t do anything without getting sick. I had a friend stay with me for a short time, but then she had to go and I was again, alone, depressed, and sick. If I hadn’t reconciled with my old roommate when I did, I’m not sure how I would have made it through that time period. She started getting me out of the house, and because of her I met a wonderful man.
I was six months pregnant when my friends made me dress up and go out for New Year’s Eve. That’s how I met Mike. He dragged my pathetic self out of my self-loathing and depression and made me start really living again. Although my belly was growing, and I still hadn’t accepted being pregnant, Mike became my perfect distraction, and to him I am eternally grateful for that.
My son decided that he was done with the whole being prenatal thing when I was 30 weeks into my pregnancy. He came out, natural as I wanted, and extremely healthy for being so small. When they showed him to me, with one of my oldest friends and my sister at my side, I said nothing, and I felt nothing. I could not touch him, or hold him, and I refused to let myself feel for him because if there was a problem, I felt that if I got attached, that would be the end of me.
This was my first taste of post-partum depression. Once called the baby blues, and still unrecognized by many old school doctors as a real thing. This state of numbness, was my first taste of the trouble I was going to have for the next four years. Even now, my son is five, I’m not sure if I have really come out the other side of all of this. My first step was feeling again, and being able to look at my child and feel, and miss him in his absence. There is a lot of rebuilding to do. In my depression, and my search for feeling I tore my entire world apart. I lost all sense of who I was, who I am. However, today I believe I am ready, ready to tell that story.