Our Stories: Journey into Postpartum Depression and Back Again

A true love and happiness between a mother and her child. This black and white image shows happy emotion.
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The time just after having a child, known as the postpartum period, is unique to each mother. The postpartum period is related to the mother’s “psychosocial adjustment” and the “degree of physical changes”. Most mothers have a constructive and healthy postpartum period but depression after childbirth is common. Between “10-15% experience postpartum depression (PPD)”. The factors contributing to this are “stressful life events, adverse experiences before pregnancy, stress during pregnancy and delivery, and strain in infant care” in general are connected to PPD. We all agree that pregnancy and childbirth is a stressful life event in its own right. Below are our stories…

Lisa’s Story: “On January 5, 2014,  I gave birth to my perfect daughter Lucy. I loved her immediately and with all my heart. But within a few weeks, I started to realize that something wasn’t right with me and I just couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I was not the happy go lucky woman I used to be, I 

was in a deep fog, I was exhausted, I was crying all the time and I started avoiding my friends.”

 “I knew something was wrong, but I REALLY didn’t want to believe something was wrong with me. I kept telling myself that I loved Lucy so I couldn’t have postpartum depression. I just didn’t know that sleep deprivation, stress and hormonal changes after birth could have such a drastic impact on my brain chemistry. I thought it was all my fault and that I had done something wrong. That I was a bad mother for experiencing this.”

“February 10th, my family moved from worried into action that saved my life once I became suicidal. I spent 10 days locked in the psychiatric ward as the doctors and my family patiently waited for the medications to stabilize my mind. I thought that by admitting I had postpartum depression and psychosis it was somehow admitting that I was an unfit mother. That my deep sense of sadness meant I didn’t love my daughter enough, I wasn’t sacrificing enough, wasn’t good enough, and the list goes on. The sense of guilt at not being good enough was unbearable and the pressure of trying to fake a smile and enjoy this precious time in my daughter’s life was too much.”

“I feel unbelievably fortunate that I’ve had a full recovery and no longer take any medications. I’ve also been able to resume my career and have a wonderful relationship with my daughter, husband and family. I also shared my story as a Tedx Talk because every time I share my story I see it spark a dialogue and give women the courage to share their own struggles and seek help if they need it.”

Andrea’s Story: “I remember early in my first trimester having overwhelming waves of guilt and sadness. There were many days that I spent sobbing, I would cry out to my unborn child, I am so sorry. I’m so sorry I’m your mama. I felt so guilty all of the time and so devastatingly sad. I had frequent panic attacks and felt physically miserable.”

“When we had our anatomy scan we  

were told that our child would likely have a genetic disorder. That same week I had been started on Wellbutrin for the depression. Over the two weeks, it took to do further testing I began to spiral out of control. We eventually found out that everything was okay but the damage had been done. Life seemed utterly pointless and I began to think about death with fondness. Wishing that somehow I could simply not exist anymore.”

“I decided to go off the Wellbutrin and I began seeing a therapist that specialized in pregnancy-related issues. Then came week 34 and the antepartum depression crept back in deeply. I panicked on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. One time I spent a good portion of my day searching things like antepartum depression, suicide during pregnancy, antepartum depression worsening during second pregnancy in an attempt to find someone who understood the darkness that had taken hold of my mind. That is when I came across Jenny’s Light and other sites that talked about postpartum mental illness. They were a huge comfort to me but still, no one really understood or talked about depression during pregnancy and those last 6 weeks I only felt more alone as my due date grew closer.”

“On June 10th, 2014 my son was born by emergency c-section. The following months that ensued were riddled with extreme anxiety, daily panic attacks and intermittent bouts of depression including suicidal thoughts. I decided to get on Zoloft and continued therapy. Going back to work was a huge help as well. My son is now two and is the best thing in my life. I feel like my old self and am so thankful I am on the other side.”

The ThriveBaby app is the perfect tool for expecting mothers to track their emotions and feeling, all of their symptoms, get insights on themselves including their developing baby, and have fun doing it. Download ThriveBaby now on App Store.

Kettunen, Pirjo, Koistinen, Eeva, Hintikka, & Jukka. (2016, October 26). The Connections of Pregnancy-, Delivery-, and Infant-Related Risk Factors and Negative Life Events on Postpartum Depression and Their Role in First and Recurrent Depression. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drt/2016/2514317/

Survivor Stories. (2017, April 27). Retrieved from http://jennyslight.org/about-us/survivor-stories-2/

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