Working on Recovery From PPD In the Face of Life’s Challenges

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Today, Warrior Mom Jamelle is bravely sharing her story with us and how realizing she needed help has helped her begin to recover. Please send some love her way in the comments. 

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My son was born April 2012. I’d had a slightly difficult pregnancy–24/7 morning sickness for the first five months and an outbreak of PUPPP in the last couple of months, with a dash of bad acid reflux in between. My labor was fortunately pretty easy and quick and, after a night in the hospital, we were home with our son.

Everything was ok, more or less, at first. I had difficulty breastfeeding. No one at the hospital taught me how and as I worked during my pregnancy, I didn’t have time to seek out assistance. I remember crying those first few days at home because I felt like I was failing my son. Watching videos from youtube helped me understand what I needed to do. I felt more confident about breastfeeding although towards the middle/end of my time doing it (I did it for 6 months) I began to feel resentful and wanted my body back.

It wasn’t until my parents left and my husband went back to work that I started having suicidal thoughts. I had been warned about PPD from a girlfriend who had given birth the year before, but for some reason I couldn’t equate how I was feeling and what I was thinking to having PPD. Outwardly I’m sure I just looked and acted like a typical new mom: frazzled, sleep deprived, confused. In fact I’m sure that’s how  most people saw me because no one expressed concern for how I was doing. Everyone’s so concerned about the baby and mom just gets pushed to the side. While my husband was gone, I would dwell on thoughts of him coming home to me and our son, dead on the bed. Sometimes I would just think about him finding me dead, with our son crying on the bed next to me.

After 3 months I went back to work, which helped a little. I was interacting with other adults and doing something with my day other than feeding, changing diapers, and napping. But work added other stressors, causing my depression to manifest in other ways. I became short with people, including my husband. Little things began to irritate me and cause me to become irrationally angry. I had a blow up in Dec 2012 that made me realize something was wrong with me and had been wrong with me since my son was born. It took me another month to tell my husband how I was feeling–my sweet, wonderful, patient husband, who made the call to our insurance for me so I could get help.

I can remember feeling such relief after talking to the intake counselor and explaining why I needed help. I had no idea how heavy a burden I was carrying until I had to detail out the thoughts and feelings I was having. They assigned a counselor and a doctor to me; after they assessed me I was put on anti-depressants and something else to help me sleep at night. The meds helped so much. I was feeling more like my normal self and I wasn’t having awful thoughts. I ended up seeing the counselor only twice–she and I didn’t really mesh and I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere with her. Shortly after that I went off my meds (for a very dumb reason that I don’t even want to get in to) and I thought I was going to be fine. Then my husband lost his job and we lost our house not too long after that. The stress of trying to keep my family financially afloat has triggered my depression. Luckily I can recognize the signs now.

I’ve only recently started going back to therapy. I found a counselor I really like and I’ll be going back on meds soon. I wish I hadn’t stopped in the first place but you never know where life takes you. I’m going to be much better about it this time around. This has been really hard to write, but I’m glad I did and thank you so much for listening.

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About ADriane Nieves

A'Driane Nieves is a writer and artist best known for her love of Prince. She writes about navigating the nuances of motherhood and bipolar disorder type 2 along with her thoughts on various social justice issues on her blog Butterfly-Confessions.com. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and three boys.

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Comments

  1. Goodness, momma. What a horrible black hole youve been in. I’m so sorry. This is horrible that you couldn’t enjoy your new baby. I’m glad you are on the right road. I know for me, I still have bouts of severe anxiety and my kids are 3.5 and 2! I wonder if it is something I have to live with. But, it’s nothing like the ppd I had before. I still see my counselor. I call her my “parenting coach” and it really helps. Hormones and life changes are so extremely hard I a lot of us. For a whole now, I have really opened up to moms. Especially new ones. I hope one day doctors and medical people will screen for this all the time. Thanks for sharing and heres to hoping many sunny days are ahead.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I could really relate to this: “Sometimes I would just think about him finding me dead, with our son crying on the bed next to me.”

    I, too, have had thoughts about hanging myself and my husband coming home to find my body and the baby crying. I have also had thoughts of harming my baby.

    I hope you connect with your new therapist/counselor and end up on the right medication for you. Sending love, light, and peace your way.

  3. “While my husband was gone, I would dwell on thoughts of him coming home to me and our son, dead on the bed. Sometimes I would just think about him finding me dead, with our son crying on the bed next to me.”

    I used to have these thoughts of my husband finding me and the baby crying. I never really thought of those thoughts as bad/suicidal/intrusive. but now that I think about it I guess they were. I thought that it was just me thinking (if that makes sense) Thank you for sharing your story even though it was hard and I’m glad that you are currently in a better place

  4. I’m so glad you shared your story here, Jamelle. I understand how hard it is to have a relapse (it’s so scary feeling like you’re going backwards) but I am so glad you are back getting the help you need. AND? So, so glad you have a supportive and helpful husband. A good support network is key. SO much love your way.

  5. Theresa says:

    Wow! You are so much stronger than you think! Eight months you suffered with these thoughts?! I had severe postpartum anxiety three months after my son was born. I thought I was in the clear, everything I read said symptoms “usually” show up in the first few weeks. I only suffered for about 2 weeks and I thought life as I knew it was over. I applaud you for telling your story. I still have a hard time admitting to friends that I suffered from this. When I feel ashamed or embarrassed I remember something that my doctor said, ” There is nothing wrong with you!” You are an inspiration to all those that are still suffering!

  6. You amaze me. I’m glad you shared your story, and that you’re working back to a better path.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story and being so transparent. Although it was difficult, know that your story is helping others along the way. My situation is different because I unfortunately lost my baby due to miscarriage at the five month mark. However, I’ve not just been grieving but dealing with serious symptoms of depression. Many times I have thought about just wanting to be dead. And then I would drive myself crazy feeling ashamed or guilty because I thought you should not think that way. But I’m starting to realize it’s not something to be ashamed or guilty about. It’s simply a symptom of what I’m going through and there is hope to work through it.