I originally wrote the following post back in September of 2017, while I was still very pregnant with my second baby boy. He is of now 6 weeks old and I am feeling absolutely amazing. Its a complete 180 from my first postpartum experience and if I’m being honest I think having a second baby is what finally pulled me out of the long depression I had myself stuck in. I’m choosing to go ahead and post this in hopes that it might help another mama out there. 6 weeks postpartum and I have so much energy, I feel even more bonded to my first baby who is now 2 in a half and I am working hard to help get my family to the place it needs to be financially. In fact I had so much energy after the birth of my second I went out and found a job just one week postpartum. I feel like a combination of supermom and crazy.
It is estimated that 80% of women will deal with some form of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum psychosis following the birth of a child. Some women may even experience pre-natal depression or anxiety. It is important for anyone experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression to speak with their Dr.
I’ve been doing a lot of healing exercises lately. I realized recently that I’ve been in a cycle of depression for I’m not sure how long. I estimate I have been in this cycle, probably since I hit puberty. For as long as I can remember summer break was always depressing and anxiety ridden for me, because I no longer had the mandatory school schedule and day to look forward to. After graduation I had a plan for my future, but an unplanned pregnancy threw my plan off road. I was no longer able to just “fake it till I made it.” then postpartum depression set in and I could barely function for a while. I am pregnant again and I sort of have a plan, but again I know I’m just going with the flow, taking those baby steps expected of me to move forward. I know once this baby is born I’m going to once again find myself in the overwhelm that is postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression has many forms and showcases in many ways. For me I was exhausted, unmotivated, irritated, angry, and just sad. The sadness was probably the worst part, because it made me feel lonely, my loneliness fueled my anger. My anger caused me to push away the one person who was meant to support me and he tried he really did. Since I took notice of the cycle that I have been caught in for who knows how many years I’ve been setting small realistic goals for the right now and I’m brainstorming goals and the steps needed to reach them for the future. I’m trying to decide and I mean really decide before this baby arrives what it is I want to do with my life. I’m attempting step five from my post, What to do after trauma?
Since I have been through postpartum once before and if I’m being 100 percent honest have yet to fully recover from. I know I’m likely to experience it all over again. As a result I’ve been doing some research on postpartum depression and anxiety. I’ve learned about a number of different vitamin deficiencies that can lead to it one of which I already know I suffer from and another that I suspect to be a key player in my depression.
As a result it is my plan for the first three months postpartum to partake in a vitamin regimen, which I plan to discuss with my Dr. and child’s pediatrician (since I breastfeed). In addition, once my bleeding stops I plan to start taking daily walks around my apartment building and once approved by my Dr to begin exercising I plan to increase that walk to around my entire block at first with just the babies, but after a month I will likely add the dog. I’m also planning 10-20 minute yoga/meditation sessions everyday. I’m hoping that 3 months of vitamins and exercise will be all I need to see a difference in my state of mind. However, if after 3 months of doing all of this consistently I still feel sad, angry, unmotivated, and irritated I plan to have a serious talk with my Dr. regarding anti-depressant medication.
I wrote this poem to help describe the emotions I felt following the birth of my first baby.
By Leeann Minton
I sat there staring adoringly at you.
I cried heavy tears in adoration of your newborn face.
I felt like a river overflowing its banks,
My soul cloudy with lifes’ debris.
I feared my actions would be your downfall.
I hated your touch.
The need you had for me.
Though innocent all I could think was,
But why is it always me.
Sleepless night after sleepless night I stared at you.
I held you to my breast to feed.
As time moved forward you consumed me.
I forgot everyone else,
I could only see you and me.
I lost my motivation.
I forgot about my goals.
Keeping you alive.
Keeping you from crying.
Keeping you away from the pain.
Pain, which I felt every day.
I wanted so much to be good for you.
So much to do what was best.
I didn’t always succeed.
I almost always felt I failed.
I tried walking away.
I thought it would be better if I was gone.
I thought I should take my life.
I thought maybe I could run away.
Your face it always had a smile.
You knew just when to learn something new.
You managed to pull my heartstrings.
Your father he protected you.
He saw me falling.
He never gave up.
I hope you are like him.
Mommy is getting help now.
One day I will feel all better.
I have spent years avoiding medication as a means of controlling and “fixing” my problems, but recently I’ve realized that sometimes we need the extra help. Sometimes will power is not enough to move past the hurt and to get out of the darkness.
Since my son was born 6 weeks ago I have been taking my regular dosage of magnesium, which helps to prevent my seizures, but its also been known to help combat depression. In addition, I have been purposeful in getting out of the house. Its a little more difficult with a breastfeeding newborn, however my husband has also been extremely helpful in this regard. Sometimes though it can’t be helped the newborn has to go with, in those instances I have been wearing him both so he stays warm and so strangers do not try and touch them during cold/flue season. I have not managed to do the workout routine I originally set up for myself, however I’m so busy that I might as well be working out. Staying busy seems to have definitely helped keep the depression at bay.