Postpartum Depression: One Mama’s Story of Struggle and Hope

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Thank you to Kate Lindello for sharing her experience with postpartum depression in the hopes that it will help other moms.

 

The following information was originally posted on Kate’s blog where you can read more of her writing. 

 

Find support in Mothering’s forum for Postpartum Depression

 

 

It’s time. I know I mentioned awhile back that once Helen was born I was struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety and that I would be sharing my story with all of you. I knew from the moment I started feeling like myself that I wouldn’t keep quiet about it, but I have been contemplating how I should go about sharing it. To say it’s been the hardest thing we ( Ben + I ) have overcome would be an understatement. I think one of the reasons women don’t talk about it that much is because they want to forget it ever happened. They want to move on with their life. I get that, but I also know from experience that reading success stories from women who have conquered PPD was like finding a gold mine. Knowing other women made it through this got me through that day. Our world was completely shattered for a bit and I have been trying to sum it up in my head before writing about it, but after months of thinking it over and over, I decided I am just going to sit down and start typing. 

 

I also wanted to mention that I decided not post the exact meds I took to help me feel better, because when I was in the midst of PPD I frantically googled what works and what doesn’t and worried I wasn’t taking the right med. Everyone is different and I didn’t want someone to read this post and think that’s exactly what they need to get better. If you really want to know, please send me an e-mail and I would be happy to let you know what worked for me.

 

I should also note that PPD has many faces. Some women get angry, some so sad they can’t get out if bed, other have psychosis where they hallucinate or have intrusive thoughts. Some people have all of the above. Mine was diagnosed as PPD/PPA; postpartum depression and anxiety.

 

(This is going to be a long long long post, so I would plan on reading this when you have some time on your hands [and some tea and comfy seat])

 

Here’s what I knew about postpartum depression before I had a baby: women have a higher chance of getting it if they have a history of depression and anxiety, sexual abuse, went through a premature or traumatic labor, are single mothers, and have an unsupportive partner/ family. I had read A LOT while I was pregnant and there was always a little section on PPD. I remember thinking to myself, “Those poor women. That would really suck”. I didn’t think for a nano second it was a possibility for me. None of things applied to my own life. I lived a pretty happy life with a wonderful husband. I left my job so I could swoon over baby all day once she arrived, and I had an awesome pregnancy. I didn’t have any real emotional ups and downs while I was pregnant like so many mothers talk about. I felt REALLY good. I had never been on an anti-depressant or had a time in my life where I felt I was clinically depressed. Looking back I did have anxiety, but it was something I could always work through by running or talking with Ben and it was anxiety over things like starting a new job or a big change in our life (although I never had anxiety about getting pregnant for some reason).We had also decided to have a home birth, and I had read lots of articles that women who had a natural birth, were less likely to get PPD. Bonus!

 

So lets skip ahead now to my first day as a new mom (I will be sharing my birth story in a later post). I had Helen in the afternoon so Ben and I had all day to gawk at our new baby and cry like babies ourselves. Seriously, we were such a happy mess! Helen was absolutely beautiful and healthy. I was exhausted but my adrenaline kicked in and I couldn’t wait to start showing her off. The first day only our parents and siblings came for a visit. By 6 pm we were all alone again and looking forward to our first night as a family. Helen constantly wanted to nurse and I wanted my milk to come in and for her to get colostrum so I kept her on my breasts a lot. When I tried swaddling her and laying her down she would cry unless she was sucking on something. I didn’t want to try a paci yet because I was scared of nipple confusion, so Ben and I decided to take shifts. I would let her nurse for a couple hours and then Ben would lay with her and she would suck on his knuckle (which was totally adorable) so I could get some sleep. By now I was beyond exhausted. My contractions started the day before and I had know gone without any sleep for almost 48 hours. I went into our guestroom (Helen slept in our room) and I laid down and shut my eyes. Uh oh, I laid there for an hour and would start to nod off, but my body would jump; kind of like a jolt, and I would wake up. It was like my body was refusing to let me sleep. I started to get a little nervous, but I kept telling myself I better get used to little sleep anyway. I mean, isn’t that what everyone says? You’ll never sleep once you have kids? Eventually I fell asleep, but was disappointed to have only slept for 2 hours. By morning I was pretty pooped, but hey, I had a beautiful happy baby and once again my adrenaline kept me going. This continued for the next two days. I was able to get in maybe 2 hours of sleep at night. That weird jolting sensation kept happening, and instead of trying to ignore it, I started feeling a rush of anxiety every time it happened. I had Helen on a Friday and by Monday morning I had only slept about 6 hours in the last 4 days! I told Ben that I REALLY needed to sleep. I was losing my appetite and felt like a jittery mess. 

 

During this time my midwife would visit once a day and I began to open up to her about how I was feeling. I was starting to get emotional and felt out of whack. I figured what I was experiencing was baby blues, and that it was just par for the course. Jana, my midwife, was a little concerned and recommended my mom or mother in law stay for a night and take care of Helen so I could get a full nights rest. We both just thought I was severely sleep deprived and needed to catch up a bit.

 

That night Ben’s mom came over for the night and took care of Helen while Ben and I slept. I slept in the guest room hoping to get as much undisturbed sleep as possible. I woke up the next morning and realized I had actually slept all night but instead of feeling better I felt worse! My chest was so tight and I immediately started bawling. I had no idea why. I walked into our bedroom where Ben was sleeping and sat at the end of the bed. “Something is seriously wrong with me”, I said. I just sat there bawling while Ben hugged me and said we would figure it out. I just didn’t feel right. My heart was pounding, I was light headed, I felt frantic, sad, and like I was physically dying. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was starting to have panic attacks. I had never had one before and let me tell you, it’s a horrible horrible feeling. I literally felt like my heart was going to explode. I just kept crying and crying and telling Ben how sorry I was. I kept saying “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”

 

By now it was apparent to everyone that I was not doing so well. I stopped returning phone calls and texts, and didn’t want any visitors. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this. I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t on cloud nine baby heaven. In a matter of days I had gone from my happy self to a complete basket case. Jana came over to check on me and just by looking at me knew something was terribly wrong. I told her everything I was feeling and just laid in my bed crying. I asked her if she thought I had PPD, and she thought I might. She said I should see a doctor ASAP. She was going to start calling around and try to get me in to see a doctor the next day. It had been 4 days since I gave birth and I had barely eaten anything. I had no appetite and it started to get even worse. I started to throwing up whatever I tried to eat. I was breastfeeding so I started to panic about my milk supply drying up because I wasn’t getting enough calories. Ben kept trying to get me to eat and I would force myself to swallow, but 30 minutes later I would have to run to the bathroom because I couldn’t keep it down. Once again, I thought my body was just giving up on me. I thought I was dying.

 

That night Ben’s mom stayed over again in hopes that I could get more rest. When I tried to go to bed I immediately started to panic. I hated being away from Helen and felt like I was failing by not being able to take care of her at night. I started to have the worst panic attack yet. I ran downstairs to get Ben and started crying, begging him to take me to the hospital. I told him I felt like I was dying, that I couldn’t handle this feeling, something was seriously wrong with me. He talked me into lying down again and he just held me while I cried and cried. He promised me he wouldn’t leave my side. Knowing that I would be going to the doctor the next day gave me some hope that I wouldn’t have to keep feeling like this. I just kept praying, and begging for it to go away.

 

You guys, I don’t know how to describe what I was feeling. It was the most painful, debilitating, deep sadness on top of feeling like I had electricity running through my veins. Thankfully, I never felt like I was experiencing psychosis or thinking of harming myself or Helen. Thank God! Helen was a champ. She was sleeping long stretches at night (I know, right?), and gaining weight. She was healthy and happy through all of this which I am SO thankful for. I didn’t have feelings of regret or felt like I wasn’t bonding with her. I just felt like my brain and body were giving up on me. I started to worry about everything and thinking super irrational thoughts like Ben was going to divorce me, I was going insane, that I would never be able to eat or sleep again, and that my friends wouldn’t like me anymore. I truly thought that a crazy switch went off in my brain when I gave birth. That I was forever broken.

 

By day 5 I hadn’t kept food down in two days. This started to really freak me out and my panic attacks were coming every few hours. I couldn’t wait to go see my doctor. I was under the impression that I was seeing my personal doctor, but turns out she wasn’t in that day and they thought I should see someone immediately so my appointment was made with different doctor. While Ben and I sat in his office a nurse came in the room quietly and started whispering, “I heard why you’re here and I don’t think the doctor you are seeing today is right for you. Could you come back tomorrow?” Ugh. Seriously? Well, I didn’t want to see a doctor that couldn’t help me so I agreed to come back the next day. This was just the start of how my local medical community started to fail me.

 

That day I started to go downhill pretty fast. I still had not eaten and was dropping weight fast. By the end of all this I had lost 30 lbs in 2 weeks. I had to talk myself into anything. Literally. I would be in the shower and say, OK Kate, now you are going to pick up this bar of soap and rub it in your hands. My close friends had started to worry and really wanted to come over but I just ignored their calls and texts. Eventually they started calling Ben and he filled them in on what was happening. I finally agreed to let my friend April come over. April is not only one of my best friends, she was also the doula at my birth. I knew I must be in pretty bad shape because before I could even open my front door she saw me through the window and immediately started crying. We just held each other, both bawling, and she kept apologizing that I had to go through this. She also kept promising I would get better. I held on to those words so tight.

 

Day 6 I headed to my doctor’s office yet again. I felt hopeful and prayed that she would come up with some miracle cure. I was given the PPD screen test and it was pretty clear I had it. I sat in the room and through tears told her everything I was feeling. She asked if I felt like hurting myself or Helen and I said definitely not. You could tell she didn’t know really what to do. Sure, she could prescribe me an anti-depressant but that would take weeks to start working. We agreed I needed to see a psychiatrist. The only thing was that the first opening was in 3 months (fail 2)! I couldn’t survive 3 more months of this. She said the fastest way to see a psychiatrist would be to check myself in to the hospital. She also thought I should go to the hospital since I had not eaten in 3 days. Jana had thought that I could possibly check in the OB floor since I just had a baby and she knew some of the nurses there. She made the call and since I had the baby at home I wasn’t allowed to check into the OB (fail 3). Ugh. My doctor disappeared and came back with a new thought. She thought I should check myself into the hospitals psychiatric ward. She talked to a doctor over there and she assured me (and I quote)“That I would have a NICE, QUIET room where I would be able to sleep, get my appetite back, and best of all, see a psychiatrist that could HELP me the next day.” She also said my family and baby could come be with me and that they would give me medicine to help with the anxiety and make me feel like myself….

 

A psychiatric ward? I just had a home birth to AVOID going to the hospital and now 6 days later I am suppose to check myself into the hospital psych ward?! Ben and I didn’t know what to do. We both were freaked out about the idea of me staying overnight somewhere, but honestly, I really felt like this was my only option to feeling better. Ben and I were clueless when it came down to mental health issues. This was all so knew to us. Plus, I could barely make decisions with how I was feeling, so I trusted my doctor knew what was best. We agreed to go that afternoon and get it done with.

 

I packed my clothing , breastpump and the shirt Helen was wearing so I could have her smell with me. I was feeling terrible about this now. I couldn’t leave her! But I couldn’t feel like this anymore. I was so torn. I bawled all the way to the hospital. Once we got there we walked down towards the psych unit. Ben and I both realized just where most of our money goes. The closer we got toward the ward the interior got more and more dated. It was darker and seemed neglected compared to rest of the hospital. Once we were inside it looked even more depressing. I started to panic. I can’t do this. I can’t stay here. My mom and Ben were with me and started to have the same doubts. Ben kept saying, “I’m not sure about this anymore”. We met with a nurse in the room where I was to be staying. It wasn’t the nice, quiet room my doctor had described. It was a room with two beds, four walls, a bathroom, and that’s it. The beds had paper like sheets and a thin blanket. It looked like a prison cell. The nurse explained that once I signed in I was here to stay and that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave until a psychiatrist would release me (fail 4). It got worse. I wouldn’t be allowed to have family stay with me, nor could Helen come. I would only be allowed to have one set of clothes, no phone, no ipad, no watch. Nothing. There was a phone in the hallway I could use at designated times and Ben could visit during visitor hours only. Say what? I started to freak out. What if they kept me here longer than a night? What if they thought I was crazy and made me stay a long time?! Ben immediately got on the phone and started calling my doctor. He wanted to make sure this was the only way I was able to get the right help. He also wanted the doctor to know that she misled us. This WAS NOT a pleasant place. Had she ever even been here?! She kept telling us that this was what needed to happen so I would feel better. It was the quickest way to get the right help.

 

You guys, this was the hardest decision I have ever made. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I don’t think anyone around me did. All we had was to cling to the hope that I would be able to get help from this psychiatrist that would be seeing me in the morning.  I was really hung up on the idea of them keeping me there. Even the nurses and staff kind of gave me the why are you here look. I could tell they don’t get many moms suffering from PPD in there. I decided to stay. I was freaked out of my mind, but kept telling myself I was doing this to get better. I wanted to be with it for Helen! Thankfully, I think the nurses were sympathetic and let my mom and Ben stay past visiting hours.

 

I was now alone. I stayed in my room with the door shut, but they would continue to check on me EVERY 30 minutes. I cannot even begin to tell you how I felt during this time. Even thinking about it has me in tears. Here I was, a week postpartum and I was in a pysch ward. I held on to Helen’s shirt and just bawled. Between the 30 minute checks and having to pump frequently I didn’t get much sleep. The next morning I just waited for the psychiatrist to come. Ben was able to visit by now and together we waited anxiously for the psychiatrist. When he came in we went over what I was feeling and I was so anxious he was going to keep me there I tried to act as “normal” as possible. Basically, he claimed what I was experiencing was “baby blues” and that I should be feeling better in about 2 weeks. Huh? You really think I spent the night away from my newborn because I have the baby blues (fail 5)?! He didn’t even want to prescribe me anything! I couldn’t believe this. I was so angry, but I just wanted to get out of there. I talked him into prescribing an anti-depressant in case I didn’t feel better in 2 weeks.

 

The weird thing is that once I got released and went back home I did start feeling better. That day I felt better than I had all week.  Maybe I did only have baby blues! The next day some friends came to visit and I told them what happened to me. They were so understanding and just so happy to finally be able to see me. I was ecstatic to be feeling good again. A couple days went by and I started to feel a little anxious again. I started feeling a little off and weepy. Once 4 or 5 pm hit I started to get anxiety about sleeping that night. Since I had been feeling so good I never took the anti-depressant I was prescribed.  I started wondering if maybe I should, but thought I would just give it some time. These feelings started to escalate and I started to panic. It’s coming back! By the end of the 4th day I was once again having panic attacks and crying for no reason. I almost felt worse than before because I thought I had beat it and now it felt like I was going to deal with this forever. Then it went away. Again. 

 

This ended up being a pattern. I would feel like myself for a few days and then I would plummet into the darkness. It was almost like I was being possessed. I could physically feel it coming on and feel it when it was leaving. It was so odd. Even Ben noticed. He would look at me and say, “is it coming”Later he told me I no longer had to tell him if I was feeling I bad, he could see it my eyes. I would start referring to these episodes as “crashes”.

 

Here are just a few things I experienced during this time:

 

- I was unable to be alone. I had to be near Ben pretty much ALL THE TIME. This involved me and Helen camped out next to his desk all day while he worked. (I was SO SO SO lucky Ben worked from home)

 

- My mom or Ben’s mom pretty much stayed at our house every night for about 2 months

 

- I saw some new moms at the co-op laughing together and broke down in tears. I felt so angry and jealous that they were enjoying their babies and motherhood.

 

- I consulted with 2 more doctors that were completely unhelpful.

 

- I knew I would never end my life, but each time I experienced a crash I would say I wanted to just die. I didn’t see life worth living if I kept feeling like this.

 

- I never thought I would sleep normally again. 

 

- I felt so guilty for needing help from our family and Ben knowing they had to work. I felt like I was failing as a new mother.

 

- I was constantly worried about Ben’s welfare. I wanted him to be well rested and happy, and felt terrible that he had to see me like this.

 

 

My friends started to notice that I wasn’t feeling good again and tried to get me out of the house more. I didn’t want to see them when I felt so bad. One of my best friends, Leslie, still hadn’t met Helen yet because I kept cancelling on her. The thought of seeing my friends gave me anxiety so I decided to e-mail them and tell them I couldn’t see them until I felt better. They didn’t give up though. My friend Molly talked me into letting her come over one afternoon. She asked me if I decided to take the anti-depressant. When I told her I wasn’t taking it she grew concerned and told me that maybe body needed it right now and that it would help me. I said I would think about it.

 

I was still sleeping poorly. I kept having these horrible night wakings where I would wake up and think that I fell asleep and rolled over on Helen. I would jump out of bed and tear off all the sheets looking for her and then realize she was sound asleep in our co-sleeper. After 2 weeks of crashes I decided to start taking the anti-depressant. This was so hard for me to do because I didn’t want to be a “depressed person”. I hated the thought of having to take something to feel normal. I was also worried about taking medication while nursing. After all, I just gave birth to a baby without a drop of anything. This didn’t sit well with me. In the end, I knew I had a bad case of PPD and I needed to take meds. I wasn’t going to suffer through it. It wouldn’t be fair to Helen or Ben.

 

So I took the med. I was completely new to this whole thing and I thought once I started I would magically start feeling better. Not even close. If anything it messed with me more. I soon learned about “therapeutic doses” and how it can take up to 6 weeks for it to fully work. I was obsessed with looking at my calendar. The sad thing, is that by wishing away the time so I could feel better I was wishing away Helen’s first months. I was still experiencing crashes and was beginning to think I would never feel better. Jana was still coming to visit me and during one of her visits I crashed. I started crying and felt so hopeless. When this all started she mentioned a PPD psychiatrist in Minneapolis, but I hadn’t given it much thoughts since it would involve driving 3 hours to see them. She brought it up again and this time Ben and I decided to go. I was able (thanks to Jana) to get in to see one of them that week!

 

My mom, Ben, Helen, and I packed up and drove down to meet her. Why I waited to do this until then is beyond me. Dr.Kim helped save my life. She were everything I could have wished for. She helps women who have been diagnosed with PPD all day long. She knew just what to say and do and that was SO reassuring after seeing so many doctors that didn’t. It was like she could read my mind. Knowing that she had helped hundreds of women in the same boat gave me such hope. Over the course of two months she and her team were able to get me on a new medication plan that I felt comfortable with and that was safe while breastfeeding. It wasn’t any easy fix. I still had crashes, but I had their support and their promise I would overcome this. I won’t lie. Sometimes I thought I was completely better only to have a terrible crash a week later. The meds I started began to work and soon the crashes became less and less. My psychiatrist recommended I see a therapist in Duluth since I would only be seeing her once a month. I found one online and ended up really liking her. She has helped me so much and really helped me work through my anxiety. I started going for a walk or run every night and taking baths to relax. I joined a local PPD support group and met with women going through the same thing. I was surprised to meet so many women who had similar experiences. I learned that 1 out of 8 women experience PPD and many suffer in silence. I knew I couldn’t keep quiet about my experience and vowed to tell everyone I knew. Once I started telling people I was shocked to learn that some of them had gone through it themselves. I wish someone would have told me. I wish I would have known more about PPD and that my community did too. 

 

For awhile I was really angry that my first two months of Helen’s life were a living hell. I felt so cheated and robbed. It’s still hard to talk about without getting emotional. I was sobbing halfway through this post, but you know what? Good has come out of this too. The biggest thing (besides Helen of course), is how much my love for my family and friends grew. I really didn’t think I could love Ben more. I’ve always adored him, but the last 5 months he has made my heart grow more than I could imagine. I didn’t go into too much detail with how he helped me in this post, but he did not leave my side for 3 months! He was so supportive and willing to do anything. He got me out for walks every evening, he stayed up with Helen all night so I could sleep, he cooked for me, but most of all he was just there for me. By my side, telling me how much he loved me, how I am such a good mother, and how I WILL get better. He promised me this every day. He stayed so strong even though I knew this was so hard on him. Duluth was hit with an epic flood 3 weeks after Helen was born. Our newly remodeled basement which housed Ben’s office and our TV room was completely destroyed by 6 inches of sewage water Not only did he have a business to run, but he had a wife with severe PPD, a newborn, and now his office was covered in poop. Yet he remained positive and never let me see him sad. He knew that would only make me feel worse. I can’t imagine surviving this without him. He is the most amazing human being I’ve ever known.

 

My family was also so supportive. My mom and Ben’s mom would rotate and stay with us pretty much every night. I was never alone. My mom would lay down with me and rub my back and tell me everything would be OK. Ben’s mom checked out every book in the library (literally) on PPD and read each one with me. I found some pretty encouraging reads that I will share below. My dad would call me at least twice a day to check in and drive 3 hours just to bring me lunch. I had so much support and love from my family. I really think this made us all closer and helped tremendously in my recovery.

 

And of course I am so thankful for my friends and Jana who constantly checked in with me and did not give up on me. Who cried by my side and would have conference calls with each other to see what they could do to help. 

 

I also want to point out that the anger I do have left is with the medical community. I went to 4 different doctors and ended up leaving hopeless each time. I do agree that some women with severe PPD, particularly those with psychosis and scary intrusive thoughts, can benefit from checking themselves into a psychiatric unit (as it did with the popular blogger, Heather Armstrong). But that ward needs to have a medical staff that understands the illness and not treat it the same as other mental illnesses. There are only a handful of hospitals in the country that have units just for postpartum mothers. There was one in Minneapolis but it closed due to lack of funding. I was encouraged to hear there’s a new day clinic at Hennepin County Medical for women to go to during the day and be able to be at home with their babies at night. There needs to be more of these.

Mental illness in general needs to be looked at closer and not given the backseat. As mentioned, it was CLEARLY visible where the money goes at the hospital I was in. I couldn’t believe the place I was in was meant to help people. It was beyond depressing.

 

I am writing this post because many women who go through PPD don’t have the kind of support I was lucky to have. I thought my experience was hell on earth, but imagine going through any of this without the support of your husband or family! It makes me so sad to think about. If this post helps at least one women I would be ecstatic. I know some of you who are reading this have gone through PPD and I encourage you to share your stories with others. I really think there is a huge problem when it comes to talking about it.

 

There is a stigma associated with depression. I am totally guilty of this. When I had friends who were depressed I just thought they were feeling sad. That doing something different or fun would make them feel better. It doesn’t work like that at all! Ben could have bought the whole Steven Alan store for me and I still would have felt awful. You can’t just snap out of it. Now that I have experienced PPD I have a whole new appreciation for my mental health and deep respect for people who are suffering from depression. 

 

 Right now my biggest challenge is trying to move forward. I think there is a sort of PTSD side that happens once you have PPD and I don’t think this is talked about enough either. I repeatedly hear mothers in recovery talk about how scared and worried that it’s going to come back. When you have PPD you are SO tuned into your feelings that any sort of different feeling can make the anxiety come back and you think you’re going to relapse. This is my biggest obstacle right now. Just the other week I was feeling a little “off” and panicked and thought, “oh no, it’s the PPD” only to calm myself down and realize it was just a stomach ache. It’s also OK for me to feel “off” sometimes. I have to remind myself that there were moments in my life when I felt anxious or sad before I had Helen and it’s OK to feel that way once in awhile. 

 

I have only been symptom free for a little over 4 months, so I cannot say for a fact I am over this. I am still taking an anti-depressant and it’s recommended I stay on for at least a year. I’m OK with that. I understand my body needs it right now and that I won’t be on it forever. I am on the road to recovery and am so thankful. I have never appreciated my life as much as I do now. 

 

The last few months I have actually been able to help a handful of new moms and it feels so rewarding. Some of these mothers I have never even met! They heard my story through a friend or family member and ended up reaching out to me. We talk on the phone, text, e-mail, and just get them through those tough moments. I know it’s helped them to talk to someone who has gone through it, because when you are in the thick of it, it really does feel like it’s NEVER going to go away. It’s nice to having someone on the other end of things.

 

 

 When I am speaking with a mom going through PPD now, here is often what I tell them:

 

**You are not in this alone. Please make an appointment with a doctor, a psychiatrist if you can so you can be treated properly. Please talk to your partner, family, and friends so they can help you too.

**Don’t delay getting help. The sooner you seek help the faster recovery will be.

**It’s never too late to get help.

**Don’t be afraid to take meds. You will not need them forever. Your hormones and brain chemistry have gone out of whack and need help getting on the right track again.

**Don’t stop taking your meds once you feel better. This is a common mistake. Never go off them without talking to your doctor first.

**Exercise and get out of the house. It may be the last thing you want to do, but it really does help.

** Accept all the help you can get and don’t feel guilty about it

** Join a local PPD group or and online support group

**Don’t look up everything on online. Googling your meds and symptons over and over will make you feel worse and just increase your anxiety.

**You will have ups and downs, so when the downs come, try not to focus on them. Start marking on your calendar all your good days and you will start to see them outnumber the bad.

**Take Omega 3 fish oil and your prenatal vitamins. These help boost your serotonin levels.

**Get as much sleep as possible and try to eat balanced meals

**Take everything day by day, moment by moment. 

**Most importantly: YOU WILL RECOVER. I think everyone woman who has PPD fears a switch has gone off in their brain and they will feel this way forever. You won’t. Promise.

 

Resources I found particularly helpful:

 

http://www.postpartumprogress.com – is amazing!

 

Mother-to-Mother - I now give this book to mother’s I meet going through PPD. I read this every night before bed.

 

Conquering Postpartum Depression - This book was helpful solidifying what Dr. Kim was prescribing me. I ended up taking some of the meds in this book and it’s what helped me recover so quickly.

 

If you live in MN please e-mail for local recommendations and resources!

 

This Youtube video really resonated with me. I felt very similar to how she felt in the beginning. Especially with the insomnia side of things.

 

And as much as you wouldn’t wish this upon anyone, it is encouraging to read other blog mama’s who have made it through something similar. Cup of Jo, Orangette, and of course Dooce

 

Me – please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need someone to talk to. I would LOVE to speak with you.

 

So there you have it. I’ve always been pretty vocal regarding my feelings, but I have to say it took a lot of courage to write this post. Regurgitating all these emotions takes it’s own toll and brings me back a little. It’s also part of the healing process. Like I said, if it helps even one person it’s totally worth it.