Sunday, November 17, 2013

Post-partum Depression

I have been doing some reflecting on the last few years.  Putting Dawson into a big boy room made me realize today that I won't ever rock him in his rocking chair again.  It brought tears to my eyes.  The funny thing is not long ago rocking him in that chair brought me to tears also, but they were tears of misery.

I first knew something was wrong in the hospital after Dawson was born.  Now that I can look back, I think I was in shock.  I have told my therapist that when he was born I felt like I had lost him.  This baby I sat looking at was beautiful, but I couldn't identify him as the baby I was carrying for 9 months.  He was a stranger to me.  I was numb.  

I went on living and feeling this way until Dawson was 4 months old, when I knew deep down that something was very wrong.  I wanted to run away.  I kept thinking I had made a huge mistake and that having children was not for me.  I kept it to myself because I felt extreme guilt over these feelings.

  I called my OBGYN just after Dawson turned 4 months old and the nurse treated me like I was making a mountain out of a molehill. I never actually spoke to the doctor, but I was prescribed 50mg of zoloft per day and told to follow up in 2months.  I took the medication for the 2 months. At this point between everything that happened during my pregnancy with my OB, my lack of medical insurance, and my guilt, and the fact that the medication was doing nothing, I decided not to follow up.  I did go to therapy once every 2 weeks for a while though. 

I slipped further and further after this.  Every day was like that movie Groundhog's Day.  I didn't want to be left alone at all.  By Dawson's first Christmas I was crying almost daily, wanting to sleep all the time and yet dealing with extreme insomnia and panic attacks.  I was just going through the motions of day to day life.

Just after Christmas Joe told me he thought there was something wrong, that I wasn't myself.  This was all it took for the walls to come down and I melted.  I was just a shell of who I once was and I knew it.  I agreed to go see a new doctor and try again to get rid of this ugly beast.  I felt like it was too late, no one was going to believe this was post partum depression when Dawson was already a year old.  

I met a wonderful doctor in February and she gave me medication for my panic attacks, my insomnia, and an antidepressant.  It was trial and error.  I tried many medications with little to no success.  The only medication that worked at all had such horrible side effects that I didn't want to live that way any more than I wanted to live my life with post partum depression and anxiety.  

I read a lot of books, but sadly there are not many about post partum depression.  Sleepless Days by Susan Kushner Resnick helped me the most.  I wasn't the only person who felt like this and there was
hope! I highly recommend it if you think you might have post partum depression.

We bought a house last year and moved in almost a year ago exactly.  At that point my doctor told me she couldn't help me and that I needed to see a psychiatrist.  I was really scared to tell someone else my story, but seeing a psychiatrist was the best thing that happened.  I was again put on some different medication for my anxiety and depression.

Getting better didn't happen over night.  It took several months to adjust to the medication and to get a good relationship with a new therapist.  I was now in the hands of people that deal with women in my position all the time.  

I can proudly say that as of June of this year I am off my anti anxiety medication, I sleep through the night on my own without medication and I can't imagine my life without Dawson in it.  I still feel some guilt about how much I feel like I missed the first 2 years but I know that wasn't me.  I was sick.  I still take my antidepressant and I have no plans to give it up.

I will never be who I was before I had Dawson.  I used to think that was a bad thing.  Now I see that it is just different, not bad.  I wouldn't be the mom I am today if I hadn't gone through the hell that is post partum depression.  
He is my life.  There's no better reminder than when I whisper "I love you booboo" and I get back "I lub loo too, mommy." 

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