Thought I would post my story here just in case it would help anyone...
Even with all the steps in place to prevent PPD, it can still occur. For me I think my PPD was caused and exacerbated by a variety of factors, and all rolled in to one I was definitely set up for a rough time.
First of all I think I did picture life with a newborn through rose-colored glasses, I was so focused on the birth that I didn't think about how life would be after. I do console myself with the fact that there is no way I could of adequately prepared myself for life with a newborn, but "I'll wing it" probably wasn't the most realistic approach.
Secondly I developed a condition towards the end of my pregnancy called prurigo, which is a form of PUPPS. Basically this consisted of the most irritating rash on my arms and legs. The worst of it was around my ankles and on my feet. (The scars of which still show plainly today, and it hasn't even healed completely on my backside!) By the end of the pregnancy I was barely holding onto my sanity. Constantly itching and waiting for baby took an incredible amount of mental energy, I even stopped working 2 weeks before my baby came because I could not cope. It simply placed a great amount of anxiety upon me that I definitely think contributed.
Lastly a few days after Logan was born my husband developed an infection and a stone in his saliva gland that left him in an incredible amount of pain, and unable to eat or drink very much. Most of the time he was sleeping and taking the lortab I was prescribed after the birth! So I had 2 babies on my hands, and it was definitely hard to see how things were going to get better. For a good week and a half we were having to wait it out for appointments with oral surgeons and ENTs. Worrying about my husbands condition on top of caring for a newborn was just incredibly hard to deal with and in my sleep-deprived, anxious, and emotional state I could not think rationally about his prognosis at all. I honestly feared for his life many times.
After Logan was born I had the standard 24 hr adrenaline high. Things were great, we had our baby, I was learning to breastfeed and we couldn't wait to get out of the hospital and go home! Once we got home however I basically had a panic attack for two days, I don't think I slept at all. Logan cried a lot of course, but was breastfeeding well, but I simply was just TOO wired to sleep. All I could do was lay there and worry, about Logan, but mainly about how my life was going to possibly be able to continue on with a newborn! I remember those first few days getting on some forums and just analyzing every little thing he was doing and wondering if it was normal and just in total disbelief that parenting a newborn could be so incredibly challenging and honestly, not that rewarding at all. I decided maybe I was spending too much time on the forums, and trying to force life back to how it used to be, that I needed to take a break.
My in-laws came 6 days after Logan was born and that helped a LOT. For the first 3-4 days until DH's condition really began declining I was able to talk to my MIL a lot about how I was feeling and it did make me feel better. Logan was about 10 or 11 days old when I thought I was feeling a bit better. We had gone to his 2 week pedi check up when he was 11 days old and he had gained weight and checked out good and that ego boost lasted for most of the day.
I'm not sure what happened after that but I totally crashed. I just never expected to feel SO bad! The next few days were a blur, basically we had been trying to see what we could do about my husband's saliva gland with him needing surgery, etc, and I was in a state of complete meltdown. I just imagined DH going to the hospital, ending up with an infection (MRSA! VRE!) and dying, I remember sobbing hysterically trying to breastfeed my baby and my MIL just holding my head and trying to calm me down. She told me, something is wrong, you ARE more depressed than you should be.
The thoughts in my head and the anxiety I felt were a never ending loop. I would worry about feeding him next, if BFing was going well, should he sleep that much, should he sleep that little, I would hear him crying in my head even when he was sleeping. This overwhelming feeling of DOOM crept over me and smothered me. ALL the days of his life, the next 18 years, were the next day. I worried about how I would parent him when he was 2, 6, 15, I would worry about SCHOOLS, I would literally worry about the distant future trying to take care of him and parent him as if it was the NEXT DAY! This tiny little person, this tiny little body, did I love him? Did I cherish him? I didn't know. I didn't doubt that I was a "good Mom" I knew that I was trying my best and that I was a capable person and that I had all the tools, but what I was feeling towards him emotionally was different.
I went to my midwife 18 days after Logan was born for his 2nd heel-stick and follow-up appt. I had a little list of my concerns with Logan and when the midwife walked in the room and asked how things were going I just burst into tears! I remember telling her that even though we hadn't planned the pregnancy, if I had of known how horrible I would feel I would of NEVER, EVER gotten pregnant! She looked at my list and pointed to the last item I had written down "PPD?" it said. She told me, sometimes you just need a little medication to get through it, of course that set me off again... "I didn't WANT this to happen!" I cried some more. But eventually she talked me through it, she said "you aren't yourself, this isn't the Kate I know at all!" She called the OB/GYN who helped me deliver and got me the prescription and I started on it that day.
Let me tell you did it make a world of difference!! I was also e-mailing a friend back and forth who had PPD with her first child as well and that support REALLY helped. I printed out a quote from one of her e-mails and put it on the little nightstand next to the rocking chair where I would feed Logan. I read it often, it said "You can do this! Even though this is a totally new thing for you, you WILL get the hang of it and be an awesome mom- the kind you pictured yourself being when you were pregnant. It (anything- PPD, Logan crying, the baby stage) it can't last forever. You will be yourself again and soon, yourself + a cool little dude. You can do it. I know it's scary, but your not alone."
I started on 25 mg Zoloft that first week, it made a difference almost immediately. I could tell my anxiety about things was cut in half and I was able to think much more rationally. I had a few bad days there around DH's surgery and while he was recovering, but overall it was upwards from there! I took 50 mg after that 1st week for about 5 months and then weaned myself off by skipping days and splitting the pills as directed by my Dr. I actually stopped for good right before my job interview, if anything would test the reoccurrance that sure would! I definitely had some overly anxious moments during the move but haven't looked back since!
I'm not here to push the pills obviously, but I AM here to say, you aren't alone! It's VERY common. I was very forthright about things with my friends and told people straight up what happened when I went back to work. Almost EVERY person I talked to had known someone who suffered from PPD or they themselves. Even my friend K, the most put-together-Mommy that I looked up to and admired, said she was placed on anti-depressants after her 1st was born because it was so difficult and she wasn't able to handle her anxiety.
DON'T think that the emotions will pass. If any of this speaks to you, get some help! If you think something is wrong, chances are it is.
Lastly, PPD can also come back to bite, it doesn't have to start soon after the baby is born, it can even find you months after!
Be on the watch! It can be exacerbated by things like returning to work, a sudden decrease in or lack of support from your baby's father, early weaning (3 months or earlier), baby achieving a developmental milestone that changes a certain dynamic (like crawling or beginning solids) or experiencing another moderate to severe life stressor (such as a spouse losing a job, a death in the family, or sexual/marital problems).
PM me if you have any questions! I have been there and survived!