My Story: Dealing with Prenatal & Postpartum Depression
Updated: May 27
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Depression and anxiety have been something I have had to deal with for as long as I can remember. Usually there wasn’t even a reason for it…. It was just there. I spent the majority of my life trying to ignore it and avoid getting the help I needed.
I have 2 young kiddos and my pregnancy and postpartum periods with both of them were extremely different and I don’t think I was fully prepared for how intense your hormones can really be. So here’s my story:
My first pregnancy wasn’t planned but we were so excited. We knew we wanted to start a family it was just a little earlier than expected.
For the most part my pregnancy went great. Morning sickness hit hard in the beginning but after that it was smooth sailing. You always hear these stories about how husbands have to walk on eggshells when they have a pregnant wife…. That was not he case here. I was feeling pretty great. I had stopped taking my antidepressants because they were not recommended for pregnancy and breastfeeding. I didn’t feel the need to start taking something else. We were just happily waiting for out little man to arrive.
Things changed pretty fast when our son arrived.
I didn’t feel that instant connection I had always heard about.
We spent 4 days in the hospital just trying to get my son to latch onto my breast.
When we did finally get to go home I spent every second my son was awake trying to get him to nurse but nothing worked. He wanted a bottle.
I felt like a complete failure. I was embarrassed. I thought that in order to be a good mother my son needed to be fed at the breast. I cried… a lot.
I would spend 3 hours at a time just trying to get him to eat… but it always failed and I would end up pumping and giving him a bottle.
I was ashamed to be seen giving my son a bottle. My brain just kept telling me I wasn’t good enough.
For the first 3 months of my son’s life I isolated myself. I stopped seeing my friends and family. I never left my house because if my son needed to eat I knew it would take hours and hours and I would just end up failing.
I fell fast into a deep depression. My social anxiety got worse…. And I just crumbled.
I didn’t talk to my husband or anyone about how horrible I felt… probably because I didn’t even realize it.
After 3 months of lactation consultants and sore nipples… I stopped torturing myself and switched to exclusively pumping.
I thought things were going to get easier but I was too far-gone.
I had forgotten who I was. I had lost the ability to socialize. I wasn’t fully there. I was trapped inside my own thoughts.
Exclusively pumping was taking away from time I could be spending with my son or on self-care. Whenever my son was asleep I was pumping. Whenever my colicky son wasn’t crying I was pumping…. But my supply still started to drop.
I was always attached to a machine and my relationship with my son wasn’t what I had always dreamed it would be.
FINALLY at 9 months I got the strength to stop. I switched to formula and I never went back.
I realized that my son needed a relationship with his mom and as long as he was happy and growing it didn’t matter if he was drinking breast milk or formula.
Our relationship grew. My son became a happy and healthy little man.
I thought everything was better. I didn’t go to the doctor. I didn’t get back on my prescription. I was still stuck in the darkness but I got too busy to fully realize.
I started work as a nanny. I took my son with me everyday and I am happy to say our bond grew even stronger. But my life became kids. I still hadn’t found myself… I didn’t know who I was outside of being a mom and a nanny…. But I continued on. I was too ashamed to ask for help. My brain again kept telling me I wasn’t good enough.
We were living a happy little life… everything was going great for us BUT my depression was getting stronger and I just kept ignoring it.
Our second Pregnancy was planned. We wanted to grow our little family by one more.
Little did I know that everything I had been pushing down and ignoring for the past year and half would come out full force in my pregnancy.
My morning sickness was severe with my daughter. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t take care of my son. I couldn’t even open the fridge without throwing up. Weeks and weeks went by and I felt the darkness come over me. I wanted to be able to go out, to go to work, to play with my son. BUT each day I woke up and I felt sicker than ever.
Luckily it ended at about 14 weeks.
I was so thankful and I thought things were just going to go up from there. I WAS SO WRONG.
It wasn’t until one morning when my son asked for me and I burst into tears and locked myself in my room that my husband and I realized something was seriously wrong. I was not OK…. For the first time in my life I couldn’t deny it.
There was a week straight where I just cried. I felt trapped.
I couldn’t function anymore. Then I stopped sleeping. It started out slow but turned into full-blown insomnia. I couldn’t do life anymore. I wanted everything to just be over. Life was too overwhelming. I couldn't be needed anymore.
I explained all this to my midwife and was told to go straight to the hospital.
I am so thankful for my amazing midwives and my husband because without them I am not sure where I would be mentally right now. I spent about a day in the psychiatric unit at the hospital.
I was prescribed sleeping pills that were safe while pregnant to get me back on track. I was sent to my family doctor and put on a new antidepressant that is safe while pregnant and breastfeeding. Then I was sent to a physiatrist and therapist.
She talked with me and helped me through everything. I saw her every month for the rest of my pregnancy.
After about a month of starting my prescription things started to improve. Life felt good again. I was having another baby and I was so excited. I was able to be the mom I wanted to be to my son.
When my daughter was born I encapsulated my placenta. I had heard that it could be amazing for your mental health after having a baby. I didn’t want to risk postpartum depression again. I also continued with my antidepressants.
I am happy to say it did wonders!!! I had loads of energy and I quickly bonded with my daughter. I am feeling fantastic most days. Luckily my daughter has been a great sleeper and great little breastfeeder.
I am so happy I talked to my midwife and got the help I needed. I am not sure why I waited so long. Maybe I was scared or maybe I was just oblivious to how bad it had become. Whatever the case I want other mothers to know that if you are struggling asking for help is the best thing you do. It does not make you a failure or a weak person. It makes you strong!
AND if you are a mother out there who is struggling to breastfeed or feeling Mom guilt for bottle or formula feeding REMEMBER:
Fed is best
A Happy mom = a happy baby