I thought I knew what to look for. I thought I’d educated my family–anyone who would be close to me after I had the baby–about PPD signs. I knew my history of depression and anxiety. I knew postpartum depression had been in my family through a few generations. Even though I was worried, I was so confident in my knowledge.
But BAM! It hit me anyway, and I didn’t even recognize it for months.
During the pregnancy was one thing–I coached myself and others on what I thought PPD was. But then I had a traumatic delivery culminating in a c-section that didn’t heal the way it should have healed, and all my attention turned to surviving the trauma, the pain, and the fog of new motherhood. I didn’t have time to think about postpartum depression for a even a minute. My high-needs baby couldn’t be consoled a lot of the time, and he didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time. Ever. At least not for me. He nursed every 90 minutes, and feedings typically lasted 45 minutes. I was exhausted and unable to think straight.
I didn’t know that PPD doesn’t simply mean crying a lot. I didn’t know that my rage was a symptom. I didn’t know that my intrusive thoughts (about illness and accidents harming my son) were due to postpartum anxiety. I wanted to quit my job because I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my son’s side at all. That’s when I knew I needed to seek help, at least to prevent myself from making a drastic decision like leaving my job and jeopardizing my family’s financial safety. [Read more...]