My experience with postpartum depression (PPD)
My postpartum depression (PPD) was instant. The day my son was born—after my placenta was taken out—my pregnancy hormones plummeted and my emotions went off a cliff.
I cried nearly every day for the first 5 weeks of my son’s life. What should have been a happy, joyous time in my life was filled with overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. I felt guilty about everything:
- I didn’t know how to take care of this being who was so completely dependent upon me
- I had waited so long for him but was unable to enjoy him
- I was failing not only as a mother but also a wife
The characteristics of PPD? You name it, I had it.
- Constant crying
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Scary thoughts
- Trouble bonding
- Suicidal thoughts
And very many other things.
People encouraged me to have confidence as a mother but I now recognize that confidence is something that develops over time. I’m more confident with my son 9 weeks postpartum but I’ll probably feel ever better 19 weeks postpartum.
I like to think I’m out of the woods with PPD. Feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness have gone away. Scary thoughts have mostly disappeared. Panic attacks, which used to be frequent, have become rare. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still adjusting to this motherhood thing. I’m still afraid of hurting my son. Sometimes I’m afraid that I made the biggest mistake of my life—one that I can never undo.
I frequently don’t feel up to the challenge of being a mother. Even though it requires very little from me (eg, changing diapers, bottle feeding), it feels as though I have to give the world.
I want to enjoy motherhood—fully and completely. Although I have glimmers and moments, I’m still very scared to be alone with my son. I am highly dependent upon others to help me take care of him.
In one sense, that’s great—I have a supportive and loving community. On the other hand, I feel like a complete and utter loser.
I’m still in the middle of my PPD journey. Nine weeks postpartum and I’ve made some progress. But I have a long way to go.