There are many forms of postpartum depression, some of them very severe. With my first child, I had terrifying thoughts that disgusted and disturbed me. I didn’t find out until after struggling for six months with these thoughts and getting no relief, that I was suffering from OCD Postpartum depression. This type of PPD is accompanied by anxiety, rage, and terrible thoughts that the mother doesn’t act on, but cannot control. I was surrounded by a fog of unhappiness. I could not feel normal daily emotions. I could not feel that connection that mothers are “supposed to have” with their newborn children.
As an avid writer and reader, I often think of my life in terms of stories. But if my life as a new mother was any indication, my story was void, blue and ugly. I started to imagine a world, a representation of my mind…a way to connect with the people in my life who I knew were worried about me, but could not possibly understand what I was feeling or not feeling. I wrote my first novel as a fictional representation of that state of mind, and while it did not heal me completely, it certainly paved the road for me. It made me aware of my feelings. It allowed me to admit to taboo and terrible realities, and it led me to seeking help.
New, second, third-time mommas, please hear this advice. If you feel at all emotionally distant, angry, anxious or are having terrible thoughts about your new babies, tell others. The worst thing I did when I started feeling these things was wait several months before admitting my feelings and thoughts, and I was a mess by that time: a drinking (breast feeding didn’t work out the way I wanted, so I self medicated), sobbing, depressed mess. You are not alone. Your feelings are horrible, but they are not YOU. There is a medical imbalance in your body, and you can get help.
Please visit this Baby Center link to read more about the types of depression mothers suffer from. Just because you’ve never had it before, doesn’t mean you can’t get it the second, third or, you brave woman, fourth time you’ve had a child. Don’t listen to the voices that tell you what a mother is and isn’t. Being a mother is tough on your body, on your mind and on your life. You can do it, but you might need help. No taboos should keep you from getting the help you need.