Category Archives: The Post Partum Period
for the Mother – the period of time immediately following birth
It’s been a while since I’ve written about PPD. Postpartum Depression that is. I had it. I had it bad. I got through it. It’s over and done. I’m better – and now I just get to deal with normal every day stresses (not sure which is better – having an excuse or not). Possible excuses aside, I wanted to write about my PPD. I’ve written about it before, but it’s been a while, so here goes again.
I’m officially 100% off my meds. I can ignore the “current medications” box on forms at the doctors office. I can forget about having to remember to take my happy pill. It feels good to not be putting anything unnecessary into my body (I do enough of that with the wine and food I indulge in
every now and then). I feel stronger. More like the woman I know I am. I’m gaining my confidence back, feeling more empowered and ready to get back into the “real” world.
I’ve also been visioning up my new business, Love and Mommy Hugs: Supporting Women With or at risk of Postpartum Depression. I’ve had the vision for a while. I’ve had the passion to help people for a long time. I’ve been stuck and not sure where to go, how to focus, or where to start. I have now checked all those off my list and I’m clear on my direction and intention again. That alone is freeing and cleansing. Therapeutic. I don’t like feeling stuck, but I have been.
I found a couple websites that I consistently go to, both to learn more about PPD, but also as a connection to a community that shares similar experiences. Having a place where I know I am not the only one going through something is so important, even (and especially) now. I think it’s important for me to keep that. To keep a connection – somewhere, even if it’s a virtual connection online – is crucial. The feeling of isolation (which I was reminded of just the other day from a wonderful woman I was talking to about being stuck), was paralyzing. I don’t want to go back there.
Community. It’s all about community and relationships. Everything is. Family, friends, your health. Even the relationship you have with yourself. Knowing you don’t “feel” right is a big awareness towards the relationship you have with your body, mind and spirit. For me, when I was in the depths of my PPD, I knew I wasn’t myself. I just didn’t know how to get myself back because it had been so long since I knew who I was that I had forgotten who my normal self was. I know who I am now, and who I am has changed. I’ve shifted – in a good way. Flexibility is something not only as a physical measurement, and especially as a Mother (you all know what I’m talking about), we have to be flexible. When you’re child has a fever in the middle of the night and you’re supposed to watch someone else’s child the next morning – you both have to be flexible. Plans change. Things happen. Life goes on.
I’m happy to be on the path I’m on now. I’m excited about my next step. Baby steps, but a step forward none the less. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help others going through PPD. I’m glad that my horrible, deep, dark abyss had meaning. And what I’m most happy about, is being happy again!
Well, it’s been another week since I’ve posted, but for good reason this time! I’ve been working hard (and having a wonderful time doing it because I am working on my passion which makes it FUN!) on getting ready to launch my Love and Mommy Hugs business – Supporting Women With or at risk of Postpartum Depression.
I just wanted to share what I created last week… I would love feedback (in whatever form it comes).
So, as I’ve been busily (and anxiously – in a good way) brainstorming my business, a new website, my offerings, how I can help, and why people would ever want to work with me (I mean, really, I’m not a Doctor, a Nurse, a Doula, a Midwife – you get the picture – I’m
just a Stay-at-home Mom who happened to have experienced PPD pretty bad, so what do I know?!), my boys have continued to amaze me with their wonderful personalities every day. Brayden is getting to be so kind and saying “thank you” all the time, without prompting (pretty cool for not even 22 months yet!), and Zackery is just looking so grown up. I stare at his face and he looks older.
They both make me smile, and even now as I type this, I am smiling. I think of them, and I smile. I’ll admit, not all the time… ha ha – honesty folks… but overall they are such happy, polite, mellow, funny, smart, handsome (oh SO handsome) little boys. Big Snugglebug and Little Snugglebug – oh yes, my handsome little angel boys that I could snuggle up and hold all day long… I am blessed.
I’ve been reading, researching and reflecting a lot on postpartum depression lately. Not because I’m feeling back in that dark place, but because I’m finally at a point in my life where I can start to see my dream of my Love & Mommy Hugs business come to light.
My mission behind L&MH is to support women with, or at risk of, postpartum depression. I want to share with other Mothers (and even the husbands, fathers, boyfriends, partners, children, etc.) that there is hope. I want to share that the first step is acknowleding that you need help, and that it is NOT your fault! I know that PPD sucks. BUT, I also know that the reason I had to experience it was to support others. If I can even help one woman get through her PPD, then my experience was worth it. Anyway, I am just so excited that I actually get to work on a business for ME – and especially on something that is really not talked about enough.
As far as an update on how I’m doing, I’ve been on half-doses of my antidepressant medication for almost 2 months now, and I am not noticing any regression, so I’m sticking with it. I have some other health-related issues I’m working out, but I honestly feel like my PPD is under control and I feel good about that. I don’t know that I will ever feel “back to normal,” since my life is compeltely different than it ever was pre-kids anyway. What was once my normal will never be again. Kids change everything – and I opt to make that a positive thing. I know there are people out there that try to resist their lives changing (I won’t go there today…). Not me. I embrace it. My life is fuller and happier with kids.
So, someday (sooner than later I hope) I will be launching Love & Mommy Hugs. In the meantime, take my virtual hug!
I’m starting to get into this habit of only posting once a week, which I’m not sure is good nor bad??? For a while I was on a roll, posting several times a week. So what happened? Good question! I think part of the answer is I’m getting more clear as to the direction I am going. I’m taking my own advice of listening to and following my heart, and my heart is telling me to start some other things up. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving my blog or anything – I love this, I’m proud of it, it is important for me – I just have other irons in the fire that need stoking. Boy, I wish I had more than two hands sometimes! HA!
So while I may not have posted every day this week, I am getting more in touch with my purpose and my passion, and isn’t this why I started this in the first place? Yes, it was. That, and to share and inspire, support, educate and guide others (including myself) on this journey of Motherhood. To tell my stories (uncut and honest), to heal myself through writing, and letting the world (well, someday maybe the world, but for now just you…) know that they are not alone and that somewhere out there, someone is going through the same thing.
I did something very brave for myself yesterday. I cut my pills in half. HUH? Yes, I am still taking anti-depressant medication. I have wanted to wean myself for several months, but the day I went to the Doctor and talked to her about my intention, I literally was in tears because I wasn’t ready. How was I ready to be medication-free when I made my appointment, and then be freaked out and terrified to go off them just a few days later? Life is funny that way, and our minds and bodies are extremely intuitive as to what we need. I will say that I have gotten very good at hearing what my body is trying to tell me. I’m not always so good at listening, but my awareness is usually up there, ranking high.
Anyway, as I was saying… I cut my pills in half. Last night.
I have been feeling pretty good lately, which is odd (well, not really for me – I am a glutton for deadlines and procrastination and like to feel busy, even though I do still enjoy a long day of couch surfing in my jammies)… where was I? Oh yes, feeling pretty good, despite being busy. Not just the usual busy of taking care of the kids (as if that isn’t enough), but busy with all of my “irons in the fire.” I’m happy, though. Happy with what I’m doing, what I’m working on. Happy with the people I’m surrounding myself with. Happy with my vision. I have a ton of stress in my life right now, but I am honestly happy – and that makes a huge difference.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this post, but I felt an urge to share my step forward, and also to share that I still have sooo many articles and posts tucked away in my little brain, and someday (soon, I promise…) they will be typed up and posted. Even if no one else reads them, they will be healing for me to have written them “out loud.”
I don’t know why I am, or even why I should have a reason to be, but I am… terrified.
I am terrified of slipping back, being right back where I was 13 months ago. 13 months ago is when I was at my lowest low, the deepest, darkest place I have ever been (as an adult). 13 months ago I was terrified of what was happening all around me and to me. 13 months ago I also took hold of my courage and got help for what I now know was (is) postpartum depression.
I feel like I’ve been on this journey for a long time now, and I still believe it happened for a reason – that reason being to become a voice for those who haven’t found the strength in themselves to talk about postpartum depression. I also feel like I have been on anti-depressant medication for a long time, although my doctor assures me not to feel like a year is uncommon. She has told me that many people take several years before they are at a point where they can become medication-free.
But I am still terrified.
I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago to talk to her about weaning myself (sounds a lot like breastfeeding – ha! – but oh so different!). I know that I can’t just stop taking my meds cold turkey. That would for sure send me into a backwards, downwards tailspin. I was afraid to even schedule the appointment, but my prescription had run out so I had no choice but to schedule something.
Things are going a lot better now with “normal” household life and the boys being a little older (they’ll still always be my little snugglebug babies) and getting a little easier. External circumstances are still what they are, but I’m able to deal with them on a more rational level and I’m able to focus, concentrate and get things done. All things that 13 months ago I couldn’t even think about, let alone talk about. I know that I’m better.
But I am still terrified.
I’ve had debates in my head about why it’s so important for me to get off my meds. And really I can never come up with a clear winning reason. I am one of the lucky rare ones (hey, that just means I’m unique, right?) who suffers from adverse symptoms of taking my medication: constant ringing in my ears – both ears, 24/7 (fun, NOT); frequent headaches; and fatigue. My doctor is hoping that these symptoms will all go away once I am off my meds. If not, well then we have a whole other set of problems to explore. For now, though, we discussed weaning off my meds just to see if those symptoms disappear.
On the opposite side of the debate, we are heading back into winter and if it’s anything like it was last year (so much snow I couldn’t see out my windows or my sliding glass door – not so much fun with a newborn and a 3-yr old). I for sure wasn’t the only one who was depressed! I am geared up with all kinds of support this winter – and again just the shear fact that the boys are getting older and a little easier to tote around – but I just don’t know if it’s “smart” of me to try weaning in the throws of winter.
So here I am, confused, overwhelmed and genuinely happy (something I’ve been practicing, regardless of circumstances – another post, another day…), but still terrified.
What am I terrified of, you ask? I am terrified of falling back into a depression, the kind I was in 13 months ago before I started taking medication. I am terrified of talking to my husband about this (why? who knows! He is the most supportive, loving, caring man I know). I am terrified of what if I’m not ready? What if I have to be on this medication forever? What if I become addicted? What if I get worse? What if I get better? – Yes, that’s a big one, huh?
What if I get better? That would be great, wouldn’t it? Am I afraid to be okay, to not have anything to fall back on as an excuse; To have to own up to everything and take full responsibility for all my actions (well, don’t I do try to do this already?). I’ve heard of people having fear of success. Could this be similar? I don’t know…
Maybe all of this fear is a sign to me that I’m not ready to go off my meds? I don’t know that either…
What I do know… I am terrified.
Well, I have been sitting here trying to figure out what of the million things I want to write about, I should. Should I write another post about the things I’m grateful for? That would be quick and easy for me. Should I write about what we did today? That would be fun and happy – it was a great day (aside from the snow we got last night. I’m so not ready for winter yet again… especially if it’s anything like last year!).
Should I write another article about postpartum depression? I always have pages to write in this category. It turns out, that is probably exactly what I should be writing about. However, this is going to be slightly different than any of my past posts about PPD.
I checked my Facebook page this evening (Stories of a Mom) to find a wonderful post from Julie Zebley of The Blog Hospital. She awarded me her personal Blog of the Month award! WOW, I was truly touched, honored, surprised and grateful. To read her award, click here. Thank you again, Julie!
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that I had to experience postpartum depression so that I would be able to share it with others, and be the voice for those who don’t have the strength yet in themselves. It took me a while to understand this, and then a while longer to figure out what I was going to do with it. It has become my passion (along with my family, of course) to be the voice, the support, the inspiration, the hope for women all over who are suffering from or who are at risk for PPD.
It might sound odd to some people, but I can honestly say that I am glad I experienced PPD (and to an extent I am still fighting it). Without that experience, I would not know what so many Mothers experience every day, too often by themselves, without any support for or even knowledge of their condition. I was (am) lucky. I have a wonderful support system and people who love me and care enough to help me through it. I want to be that for others.
I want to be hope, I want to be support,
I want to help them heal.
I am grateful that I am in a place in my life where I can pursue this. I am grateful that I see my experience with PPD as a blessing in disguise. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish upon anyone the depression, the anxiety, the fatigue and all the other deep, dark symptoms that pulled me down into the depths of pain. It was by far a pleasant time in my life, even with such a beautiful, innocent newborn. It was hard – for everyone – and sometimes the symptoms still rear their ugly heads, although, thankfully not as strong and persistant, but I am now in control of my PPD. I feel great! I feel happy! I feel the love that surrounds my heart and radiates out to everyone open to receive it.
Once again, thank you to The Blog Hospital for awarding me The Blog of The Month Award!
Thank you to those of you who support me and encourage me to follow my heart and pursue my passions.
Thank you to those of you who are reading this and will help spread the word about postpartum depression.
And finally, thank you to those of you who will give yourself the greatest gift and ask for help. I can help. I can help you…
Brayden is 16 months old today.
One year ago, I made one of the most important phone calls – and by far one of the hardest – I’ve ever made. I called my Doctor and told him I had Postpartum Depression.
Rather than get into all the details of the causes, signs and symptoms, I would like to share some of the information I used to determine for myself that I was suffering from PPD. Aside from talking to my Doula, my close friends and my family, the following websites were crucial in my quest to figure out what was wrong with me:
There were several other resources I referred to, and still do, but the ones above I would list as my top 3. I am still fighting it, although most of the time it seems well under control. I am honestly scared to come off my medication, especially going into another winter like we had last year. I know I have a great Doctor, a great husband, and a great network of supportive friends, but I also know I have a lot of circumstantial stresses in my life right now that I fear could send me back down into a deep, dark spiral. I still take it one day at a time. I am determined to beat this, and I’m determined to help as many other women who have, or are at risk for, PPD. It is a mean disease (in my opinion) that is also one of the hardest to diagnose. Good news is, there is help out there – all we have to do is ask for it…
To read more about my journey through PPD, click here.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Postpartum Depression, I would like to help. Please contact me if you are interested in one-on-one or group mentoring or counseling.
I figured it was time to write a little update about how my Post-Partum Depression was going. It’s been about 6 months now since I first made the call for help. I’ve had ups and downs, improvement and decline, but the one constant has been the unwavering support of my family and friends. Without surrounding myself with love and continuing to be open about it, I don’t think I would have been able to get through the worst.
I can now say that my anti-depressant medication is stable (and thankfully working). It took several changes in dose, and switching to a different prescription, before I could finally see a light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel. And it was a very gloomy path.
I kept wondering what was going on with me, and why wasn’t I feeling better? The big problem was I didn’t know how I was supposed to be feeling. I didn’t know what “normal” was, but I knew that something still didn’t feel right. I still felt like I was in a cloud and nothing was clear. Every thought I had was foggy and I couldn’t concentrate.
I had a teaser of a couple weeks when I actually started to notice a positive change, but that quickly turned around and I began to severely plummet again. After a couple more months of feeling desperate and hopeless – would I ever get out of this downward spiral? – and after the insurance declined my prescription refill saying it was too soon (the problem when you double up on your dose – as recommended by and under the care of my doctor), I tearfully made another plea for help and scheduled a follow up appointment.
Long story short, I am now on a path of recovery. I don’t know how long it will take, and I don’t know how long I will have to be on my medication. All I know is that despite all the negative circumstances surrounding me, I am truly happy again.
During my most discouraging months, my best friend told me “This isn’t you. You aren’t a depressed person.” She was right! It wasn’t me. I am a happy person, and it feels good to finally be headed in that direction again.
I will continue to be open about my journey – both the struggles and the accomplishments. I will continue to stay positive – especially if and when things start to become challenging. I will continue to love and support everyone around me – it’s the least I can do for what they have given me. I will continue to be at peace with my internal circumstances – understanding and acknowledging that I did not do this to myself; it is not my fault, I had no control.
Lastly, I will continue to heal myself…
The more I talk about post partum depression (PPD), the more I feel better, and the more I realize how common it is. I feel genuinely touched to know how much support I have gotten – from friends and family, and from other mothers alike. It’s humbling to know I am not alone in my battle.
I finally feel like the meds are starting to kick in. I feel a little happier and not so down all the time. And although I am still very tired, I don’t feel that complete exhaustion and fatigue all the time anymore either. It has been a little easier to get out of bed in the morning.
The hardest and scariest part for me, is not really knowing how I’m supposed to feel. I don’t know what my normal is anymore. I’ve been depressed for so long that it was my normal, so now I am unsure if I actually feel better or if it’s just my mind and my thoughts being powerful – which they are! The one thing I am sure of, however, is that I still just take things one moment at a time. I will be overwhelmed, I will be tired, I will be sad and scared… but I will and am loved – and that is all that matters in this tiny moment.
Post Partum Depression is real. I have it.
I had it before with my first son (I didn’t know it at the time), but this time it has decided to show itself much later, and I believe with more symptoms. It’s something I have been aware of (because I had it before) and have tried very hard to keep myself from spiraling down into a depression, but I now know it’s not something I can control by myself.
What’s hard about believing I have PPD is that at various times throughout the day I feel just fine. What I know, however, is that part of PPD is mood swings – and those I have. I also have many other symptoms – irritability, extreme fatigue, sleeplessness (despite pure exhaustion), crying, lack of desire to do anything (including getting dressed or even brushing my teeth), feeling numb or empty inside. And then there’s even the physical symptoms – those I never had the last time. I thought I was having a heart attack the other night when my chest starting hurting as I was nursing my son for the 3rd time in the middle of the night. After much research, I read that chest pain can be a symptom of depression. I was relieved, sort of, that I didn’t need to call 911 or go to the hospital for an EKG. But what that made me realize is that I need to get help for my PPD.
Where do I start? Who do I talk to? What do I say? I haven’t even told my husband.
I know I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I can’t help feeling that I should be able to take control of it and just be happy! I feel guilty for having this, as I don’t want to burden my family with something else – as if there’s not already enough stress in my life to deal with. I guess this is where I have to be the strong woman I know I am deep down inside. I know I’m not alone. I know I need to pick up the phone and call someone. I just have to keep telling myself that.
And now my son is awake, and I must dive back into caring for him. I love him dearly. He is the most precious little angel on earth…