Worth Every Moment: Charity’s Struggle with Postpartum Depression

Share Button

I am so honored to welcome Warrior Mom Charity today to share her story.  Charity struggled  with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety with a psychotic episode.

Charity girls
I have three little girls, ages 8, 7 and 4.  Bringing each home was a joy.  An amazing joy.   Bringing home the youngest, Patrice, was the easiest transition in mothering.  There is a knowledge and ease that comes with experience.  I knew my mothering style, knew how to juggle.

What I didn’t know was the feeling of insomnia with a newborn.  And the intense emotions that came—good, bad and ugly.  The tears.  The fear.  The need to be busy.  All.the.time.

How could I be crying and upset—I honestly and truly looked at my life and loved it more than I ever had.  But every day I had to be busy!  The girls and I went—to the library, the zoo, the park.  We did—baking, crafts, projects.  My level of activity kept having to go up.  I had to move and do to escape the thoughts, to escape the tears, to escape the abyss.

My midwife and I were in contact daily.  She talked me through the waiting period before we could adjust my thyroid medications.  And then the time we had to wait to see if that resolved the myriad of emotions.

Time was not my friend.  I started medication.  It helped a little.  A very little.  So we upped the dose.  That did not help, not at all.  I suddenly couldn’t stop going—I had to be busy.  Bonus—my house was spotless; not such a bonus—I was a wreck.

I could no longer control some of my thoughts.  I would think over and over, ”I’ll get Patrice to my midwife; she can take her home and love her, and hubby can handle the other two.”  Until one morning that was the only thought.  I loved my girls, but I could not figure out how to be their mommy.  So I packed them up, and went to my midwife.

“Will you just take them home and love them?” I sobbed as she hugged me.  Her staff got my girls out of the room, and she let me cry…and so began 6 ½ hours of conversation, tears, and being hospitalized.

The behavioral health facility was the worst experience of my life, but it was where I needed to be.  I was safe. My girls were safe.

Over the next few days, I was taken off medication.  My midwife found me a therapist who specialized in postpartum depression, and I started new therapies.

That was 3 ½ years ago.  It has not been the easy resolution I thought it would be.  Medication did not fix it all.  I am back on a higher dose, seeing a doctor and a therapist, working on getting better for my girls.

I am fighting for them.  They are worth every moment.

And I have found a lot of help along the way.  I discovered the #PPDCHAT group on twitter (every Monday at 9:00pm EST), the wonderful website www.postpartumprogress.com, and women who have been there or are there.  I have discovered community.

Depression looks different for everyone.  Mine did not involve a desire to sleep, rather a desperate need to be busy.  I did not want to escape my children; rather, I couldn’t bear to be away from them.  I did not cry out of sadness, rather due to a desperate feeling threatening to overwhelm me.  I did withdraw from people to an extent; I did give up activities I enjoyed.

Getting well has required a level of self-discovery and honesty I didn’t know I possessed.  It has required a lot of help from others.  Help I often hate, but need.  It has caused me to give up a lot of what I thought depression and anxiety looked like in order to get help for what it looks in me.  It has required a strength I didn’t know I possessed, to fight—for my girls.

Have you, or someone you know, recently given birth, adopted or weaned a baby?  Postpartum depression and anxiety can develop any time within the first year after birth, or after weaning a nursling.  Adoptive moms are by no means immune to postpartum mood disorders.  Postpartum depression is not baby blues, which is a feeling of sadness or erratic emotions beginning a few days after birth and resolving within a few weeks.  Postpartum depression lasts longer, or develops later and interferes with the ability to function as yourself.

If you are a new mom, for the first, third or tenth time, be honest with your care providers or those who care about you.  If you know a new mom, ask her how she is—really is.  Hear what she is saying, hear what she isn’t saying.  Please check www.postpartumprogress.com, twitter hashtag #ppdchat, www.mypostpartumvoice.com or my blog at www.gigglesandgrimaces.com.  You can find my posts about this journey under depression.

You, and those you know, are worth every moment of fight, every bit of the hard.

 

Charity birthday

Charity has been blogging for 4 ½ years. She started blogging to share her faith, family and cute kids. Four weeks after her third daughter’s birth, Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety hit her like a ton of bricks and she became part of the percentage of women who had latent Bipolar Disorder awakened by the postpartum mood disorders.  Through Charity’s writing she displays her struggles in even the darkest of moments. In sharing her story with others, Charity hopes that others see you can parent successfully even with mental illness. Her writing can be found on her blog or on Project Semicolon.

Share Button

When Postpartum Depression Makes You a Stranger to Yourself

Share Button

for p p dSeeing someone struggling through postpartum depression and anxiety cracks my heart wide open. I don’t care if I’m a stranger to them or not, I want to take their hands into mine and tell them to trust me.

I want them to believe me when I tell them I have been where they are, in that frightening place when you’re filled more with fear and pain than strength. When you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back.

I want them to listen when I say that I have lived in the skin they are in now, when you are not who you used to be.

I have walked through those days, those hard days, when you’re too frightened to look anyone in the eye because you don’t want them to see straight through to the dark despair and hopelessness that fill your head.

I have been there. The days of pulling clothes out of the closet and letting them fall over my body, wondering where the person is who used to wear them. I remember sitting in the driver’s seat of my car and it didn’t feel like it belonged to the person who now sat there.

These days are anything but easy. Living through postpartum depression is harder than we can ever explain. We struggle to give words to the choking jumble of our thoughts. We want to be heard, but when someone asks us to tell them how they can help, we can only break down in tears.

Postpartum depression is a wall that hides our strength from us. It won’t let light in so we are unable to see how tough we are. The dark clouds of this time block the real view, the one that would show our determination to get better.

We are still there, behind the empty sadness in our eyes, there is the fight and fire we need to recover. We are imperfect in this life, we are lost, confused and we are more scared than we have ever been. When our lives become survival for one moment at a time, our souls can’t rest to see the beautiful spirit of survival that lives within us.

I want those in the heartbreaking midst of postpartum depression to trust me, as hard as it is. We need to believe that inside we have what we need to make it through. It’s a leap of faith, a desperate grab at hope, but it’s necessary.

I want them to hear this message of hope, so that they fight, so that they keep fighting. Because it is the promise of hope that someone asked me to believe in during my own postpartum depression, that saved me.

You will see this through to the other side.
You’re not alone.
You will find yourself again.

Someone once promised me that I would be myself again. I was too scared to believe that who I once was, was still there. What if I wasn’t going to get better? What I would have told the frightened new mom that I was back then, would be this, You may feel like you’re in a thousand irretrievable pieces right now–too broken beyond anything that can be made whole again. But believe that you will heal.

You will find happiness again. The numbness will lift one day and you will hear yourself laugh. The sound of it will surprise you so much that you’ll laugh a second time from the joy of it. You will look in the mirror one morning, and this time the eyes you see back will dance and shine. And you will come back stronger than you ever thought you could be.

You are still there, inside.

Even if now you feel lost, scared and alone, you are there.

Please let my words here be the ones that take you by the hand and hold you until you are back home again. Reach out, ask for help, don’t stop until you feel you are getting the care you need. Believe that with time, professional care and treatment, and the support of your PPD community, that the help you need to find the way back to you again will be there.

The incredible you that you used to be is still there. You will find yourself again. And just as I did, you will smile again.

Share Button

Why These Women Are Climbing Out of the Darkness of PPD

Share Button

climbing out of the darknessThis weekend, Postpartum Progress’ 3rd annual Climb Out of the Darkness will take place in cities in towns throughout the world. Some of the women participating, all of whom are survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like PPD, have shared with us why they are Climbing. I know many of you will recognize your story in theirs, and I hope it inspires you to keep climbing out of the darkness.

Because I was very excited to be a mom.
Because I was told how wonderful it would be.
Because it was the complete opposite of wonderful.
Because I thought it was “just the Baby Blues.”
Because I knew it would be hard, but not miserable.
Because I felt like I was existing inside a great big cobweb of quiet anger.
Because I was terrified of that anger.
Because I wanted to reach out, but felt like nobody could truly see me or hear me.
Because I was faking it every day.
Because I was ashamed of how I felt.
Because I wanted to nurture and connect with my son, but the more I tried to connect, the more disconnected I became.
Because I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life.
Because my husband and I existed with a lonely chasm between us due to my inability to express what was happening inside of me.
Because I waited 15 months to find help.
Because Postpartum Progress was instrumental to my recovery.
Because I climbed out of the darkness of postpartum depression!
Because I love my son and my husband more than anything.
Because other moms need to know they are not alone in the darkness…
Because it’s scary to share the truth.
Because … I am a Warrior Mom! ~ Ali

I Climb for my daughter, my husband, my parents, and my in-laws. This was my support system in my darkest time. They were there when I wasn’t there mentally, emotionally or physically. They came to therapy and psychiatric appointments. They visited me in the hospital. They kept my daughter healthy and alive when I couldn’t. They woke up with me to feed Sophia. They kept calm and cool in a situation that should’ve driven them crazy with worry. They have my utmost gratitude and love.

I Climb for myself. Somehow I survived an ordeal that rattled my brain and mentality to points this depression sufferer never thought imaginable. I battled by going to therapy, admitting myself into the hospital and taking my meds. I came out stronger.

I Climb for other mothers who have, are or may suffer … To be their support, to show them they are not alone. There is a whole Warrior Mom Family out there to lean on. ~ Stephanie

Because I want better for every woman, child and family.  ~ Kristen

Because a co-worker once told me that only selfish people get PPD, and sadly her complete ignorance is not that uncommon.  ~ Teresa

My ‘baby’ turns 11 today. His pregnancy was what brought me here, to all of you. I was not sure we would make it through, but we did and EVERY SINGLE birthday he has makes me so very grateful. ~ Lara

My daughter turns two on Friday, and Monday will mark two years since my world was turned upside down by postpartum anxiety. I’ve been looking back at photos from when she was tiny and my heart breaks remembering how much I missed in my swamp of anxiety. And, because I expect so much more of myself than I’d ever expect of anyone else, I struggle with the knowledge that I STILL, two years later, am not back to “normal.” So, this week, I’m especially thankful for Postpartum Progress and all of you wonderful ladies. I’m grateful that I have a place to go when I’m feeling lost–a place where I know I’ll be understood. This is why I Climb, so that ALL mothers may know that they have a safe place too. ~ Amber

Because when I had my first I had NO idea what was wrong with me … I was even “taught” about PPD In a parenting class in high school. The only thing I ever heard about was a woman wanting to hurt herself or her baby. I was the complete opposite. I had a debilitating fear. After my second was born I hit rock bottom, and I started to realize how incredibly lucky I am to live in Grand Rapids. The support here is unlike anywhere. I now have a deep passion for working with moms with PPD, being involved makes me feel like I’m making a tiny difference in someone’s life. I want to be apart of the change, and I want every city in the world to have the kind of help and support that we have in GR. Women deserve it. ~ Tabitha

I climb for my brother, sister-in-law and my nephew. I climb to support them and also to encourage others to get help with postpartum depression. I climb because it doesn’t just affect the mom in the family, it takes it’s toll on dad and baby, too. I climb because both of my sisters-in-law have experienced PPD, and they are worth speaking up for. I climb because of the countless friends who have suffered in silence, who had nowhere to turn. I climb because even though I can’t conceive a child I know the impact of a new baby on a family. I climb because Topeka has very few resources to help new moms with PPD. ~ Melanie

I’m climbing because I was ashamed to be diagnosed and I waited forever to get help because of it. I am climbing because I want to help find those moms that are afraid to say anything and tell them there is power in their voice.

I climb because there was a point in time where I did not want to be here anymore; and thankfully, I survived that to be the advocate I am today.

And most importantly, I climb because there is a strong genetic link to my diagnosis, and I want my little girl to know it’s okay to ask for help. And if she does get PPD I want her to know it’s okay to seek treatment and that I will be here to guide her along the way! ~ Christina

I climb because I know what the darkest pit looks like and now I know what the top (or at least close) looks like. I climb because I know how it feels to think you can’t take another step and continue pushing further up that hill. I climb because I know what it feels like to think you have no hope and I know what it feels like to find Postpartum Progress and realize that I am not alone. And finally, I climb because without this group and without this climb, I don’t know where I would be but today I can stand here, loving my two babies more than anything in the world, and hopefully help others who are or have been in the same place. ~ Rebecca

I grew up without my mom present in my life and I don’t want that for my kids. I want them to grow up with a healthy mom and I want moms everywhere to get help even if they aren’t feeling strong enough to seek it out themselves. I want them all to know that self-care is not selfish. Postpartum Progress helped save me. I’m so glad I’m still here for these cuties! ~ Lucy

I’m climbing for myself and every mother who has struggled with postpartum depression and other perinatal mental illnesses.

I’m climbing to raise awareness and erase the stigma attached to mental illness. When a woman becomes a mother she expects (and is expected) to be on cloud nine. When she doesn’t feel ecstatic, it can be very upsetting. And when a mother feels absolutely awful it can cause her to become reclusive.

Society makes it so hard for women to admit that their thoughts and emotions aren’t normal because they feel shame. I want to change that ~ Jolene

I am “climbing” because I know the struggles of depression. Everyone deserves to have a “winning” chance at life. Your support team, whether it’s the community, family, friends, church, therapist, or coworkers can make a huge difference to finding a path that’s right for you to succeed. This group can help so many that struggle with PPD and is an outlet where they can not only receive help, but find some kind of normalcy. ~ Christal

I climb because I worked HARD to get here. My family is strong because I am, they have traveled this road with me! I push every day to climb out of the darkness! ~ Heidi

I am climbing for my two little superheroes. Because they saved me in so many ways. ~ Avery

I climb so others don’t feel alone. I am 16 weeks pregnant and am hopeful that I have the knowledge to make my next postpartum period much better even if PPD comes back. Knowledge is my fight song. ~Alicia

I climb for mamas and families who have struggled and who might struggle. I felt so alone during my battle and I’d give anything to help another mama not feel that way. ~ Anna

I’m climbing for my little peanut and for all the mamas out there fighting! Six months postpartum! I thought I’d never get to this point or feel like myself again. So grateful for my support team and Postpartum Progress! ~ Sylvia

I am Climbing so that other moms can also enjoy moments like this without guilt or shame over all the moments they missed because of postpartum depression and anxiety. So that every last mother who wonders if her illness ruined her child forever can be present enough to realize that the answer is an emphatic “no.” So that the hundreds of thousands of us who were and are in the darkness of mental illness – and all those who love us – can rise up to bring each other into the light of transparency and community. ~ Bethany

I am in the midst of recovery again, though light years ahead of where I was four years ago. So this year, I Climb for myself, my two incredible daughters and the husband that has been my rock throughout both struggles. I Climb for the mothers who are suffering silently in shame, and those suffering who don’t even know that this is not how motherhood is supposed to be. And most importantly I talk to anyone that will listen, in the hopes that anyone who knows a mom that may benefit from my experience can and will share it. ~ Lesley

Why I climb…
– in celebration of coming through hell
– in thanksgiving for the deep love I now have for my son
– in support of all the other mamas out there who struggle
– to make people aware of the seriousness of PPD and related illnesses
– because “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it any more” that maternal mental illnesses aren’t taken seriously by some, and that so many medical providers have no idea how to handle any cases they encounter.
– to show that I’m a SURVIVOR and a WARRIOR ~ Mariah

Why I climb… Because I miss “me.” Because my husband misses “me.” And my kids should know the full “me,” too. ~ Jessica

I climb because 4 years ago I was crippled in fear of my thoughts. I could not move, nor did I want to.
But Postpartum Progress opened my eyes and had me name my illness, postpartum OCD & depression.
There is hope, it is not permanent. ~ Chrissy

As of this morning, there are more than 2,100 Climbers registered to participate in Climb Out of the Darkness, and they have raised $191,000 for Postpartum Progress. If you’d like to register to join us or to donate to help us reach our $200,000 goal this year, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/COTD2015.

Photo credit: Fotolia/jessivanova

 

Share Button

100 Mothers Display Their Strength After PPD & Anxiety [video]

Share Button


If you feel alone. If you feel ashamed. If you’re still lost. If you haven’t told anyone yet. Or ever. If you feel like you’ll never get better. If you have gotten better and yet you still look over your shoulder.  If you still grieve for the moments that have been lost to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. If you’re looking for people who’ve been where you are and who truly understand. If you’re ANY of these things, watch this video. 

Postpartum Progress is so happy to launch our official video for Climb Out of the Darkness® 2015. We’re thrilled that we were able to secure the approval to use Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” thanks to Sony ATV. We’re thrilled that around 100 Warrior Moms shared their pictures from around the world so that we could show you

We hope you give this video a thumbs up on YouTube. We hope you share it with other mothers who have been through or are going through maternal mental illness, and the people who care for them.

Even more, we hope you:

1) Take your own Warrior Mom muscle pic, upload it to your Instagram account, AND BE SURE to include the hashtags #climbout #warriormom and #myfightsong. We’ll share those pics on Instagram (follow us on Instagram at @postpartumprogress and you can see the photos we’ve already put up) and on Facebook.

2) Join us at your local Climb Out of the Darkness next weekend. You can find a list of Climbs and how to join them here:  http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/find-a-climb/  Registration is free. And if you go, you’ll very likely be meeting at least one of the mothers appearing in our video!

3) Ask someone to donate on your behalf! Anyone can donate to the Climb here.

Share Button