Original post date February 11, 2020
He is so perfect!
My friends and family told me all the time that I had a great baby, a perfect baby in fact. He didn’t cry, he didn’t fuss and he didn’t need to be on me all the time. On the outside I was a happy new mom basking in the love and newness of my son.
But on the inside….:(
I was beginning to have thoughts of how inadequate I was, not only as a person but more importantly a mother. It was easy to blame myself for small things that would happen. I started crying multiple times a day over things I couldn’t control. I was at such a low point I began to self harm and started to think how much better my partner and baby would be without me. It got to the point where I wasn’t safe in my own mind and body, I ended up in the hospital. I was so scared to bring it up to any family or friends for fear of being dismissed and told it was normal. If this was normal how the hell was I going to survive the year?
Postpartum anxiety to me felt like sludge water that I was perpetually stuck in. The more I tried to move to get out the slower and more tired I became. I had a crippling fear around him sleeping, I had anxiety about the future. I wasn’t making plans for us in case “something” happened. To top it all off I wasn’t sleeping and It wasn’t the typical tiredness you hear parents get. I was getting maybe 2 hours or 3 hours of sleep a day for weeks on end. I was up every 2 hours to feed and I was not waking my partner to share in these feedings despite supplementing through pumping and formula because my milk wasn’t coming in. I would wake up with the overwhelming need just to watch over him sleeping and to make sure he was breathing. My body wasn’t healing fast and I was frustrated I couldn’t fit comfortably anywhere for longer than ten minutes.
My saving grace was the home visitations I got from a wonderful woman through Alberta Parenting For The Future. They offered home visitation to new parents where someone would come in once a week to show me parenting tips and tricks and just provided me with some support and company. She noticed a few signs and asked casually if I had ever heard of postpartum anxiety and depression. I told her I had, but hadn’t looked into it. I could only really remember the purple posters on the walls in my OBGYN’s office. She told me a lot about my communities resources and connected me with a local post partum therapy group that met once a week and offered childcare for two hours.
This group ended up being the most life saving resource for me. I met other amazing mothers who dealt with the same emotions I was. I was put in touch with counselors in the area who could help me free of charge. I learned that It’s normal to have bad dreams and it’s normal to worry. What we need to know is how to tell when these emotions have exceeded the normal. It’s not normal to be sleepless for days and nights and weeks on end. It’s not normal to tell ourselves to just get through it. It’s NOT normal to raise children without support! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should or have to.
Starting medication to assist with my anxiety was beneficial, the days became bearable and easier to handle. I wasn’t having the gripping panic attacks, the hospital visit i had had in the midst of my suicidal ideation seemed far away and like a dream. Most importantly I made a long term connection and friend with another mother who is a Doula.
The group is a resource I now recommend to all new moms. Most communities have free resources to help parents struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders. It amazed me how healing it was just hearing how similar other parents stories were. Community care is the most important thing we can offer new parents.
I’ve been going to a group for PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorder) for a year now and it has helped immensely. I just had my second baby two weeks ago and I already feel there are more emotions inside of me than simple the baby blues. I know where this can lead and I am ready for it. I’ll be starting Zoloft again to help with the stave off the Postpartum Anxiety.
If you’re in Alberta please call healthlink and they can refer you to free local resources. Talk to your GP about this and know you’re not alone in this. Anger, sleep, resentment, anxiety and fears are things we need help with. Community care goes a long way.
You Are Not Alone