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Postpartum Depression

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have a history of mild to moderate depression, so my original plan for my home-birth was to keep and consume my placenta, as I've heard this can help with PPD.

 

HOWEVER, as most of you know, absolutely nothing went according to plan for me and needless to say I didn't get to keep my placenta. I think I was lucky the doctor let me even look at it before it was whisked away to be dissected and tested for infection.

 

At first I felt fabulous. The first three days or so I felt great and I loved seeing my baby. It's been seventeen days, now, and I am losing my mind. I hate my life right now. I'm not sleeping, hardly eating, hardly drinking enough water to pee twice a day, my milk supply is going down, my postpartum bleeding has stopped, I'm crying ALL THE TIME, not talking to anyone, and basically I feel like I'm mentally and physically shutting down.

 

I'm spending 14 hours a day in the NICU with my baby, but I don't feel like he's mine. I saw him for all of 10 seconds after he came out of me and then I didn't see him until almost 12 hours later. They wouldn't let me. I feel so blessed that he's healthy and everything, but I don't feel like I had a baby. I feel like I visit a baby everyday... but is he really mine? He doesn't feel like he's a part of me. I don't have this "I feel like I've known him forever" or "He was inside me for seven months" kind of feeling. He feels like a stranger to me, and it makes me so, so sad. Plus, he's taking his sweet time to get bottle feeding down and that's the only thing keeping us from going home. It's going to be several more weeks.

 

So, what can I do to help myself? I'm not going to go to a counselor. I've been to one in the past and it didn't help me at all to talk to someone who doesn't know me. And I'm not going to take prescription medications because I'm providing milk for the baby.

 

I'm feeling helpless and hopeless and worthless. 

 

post #2 of 16

Oh Christina!  I'm so sorry!  It is very common for the baby blues or PPD to settle in after the 2 week mark.  You're in that prime territory right now and have more stressors than most first time moms to exacerbate the situation!  Please do not feel worthless or like a failure in anyway.  The hormone crash you're having is completely normal and the stress you're under is extreme.

 

I will say, though, that even without dealing with the NICU or really any other major stressors, I did not feel that immediate bond with either of my babies.  I did not have the "I've known you forever" feeling.  I did not fall head over heels in love the moment I saw them.  Some of us don't.  And that's okay.  The important thing is that you take care of yourself and you take care of your baby.  You are certainly doing the absolute best you can for your baby, do not forget to take care of yourself, too.  I am so glad that you posted to get support from us.  The next step is to get some real life support.

 

There are breastfeeding safe medications and herbs available for depression.  Please consider doing what you need to do in order to feel good and be present for your baby.  Also, please consider finding a support network for what you're going through whether it's La Leche League for breastfeeding support, a parenting group of some sort, a depression support group, a premature baby support group... something!  You need real life support from other mothers that have been there and can give you advice or just a shoulder to cry on.  If you need help locating something, please post so that some of us can do some research for you.

 

A million hugs mama!   grouphug.gif

post #3 of 16

hug2.gifMy oldest spent two days in the NICU, and it was hell. I can't even imagine looking at weeks of that.

 

I won't pretend I know much about depression or PPD, because I don't. But as far as him not feeling like "your" baby, that's totally normal. He IS a stranger, grown in your womb for 33 weeks or not. He's a brand new little person, someone you've never met, and need time to get to know. And the NICU is the worst possible place to get to know him, really. Complications or not, it really is normal to feel like you're looking at someone else's baby. It's a very weird adjustment, and I'm sure it's 100% worse going home each night without him.

 

Do you have family close by? Someone who can help you and DH take care of yourselves, while you worry about the baby? Do your midwives have any recommendations for PPD beyond prescription meds?

 

For your milk supply, are you taking any herbs? Is there an IBCLC at the hospital that can help? I highly recommend meeting with someone; exclusively pumping is HARD.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Getting him on the breast eventually will probably not be easy, either, unfortunately. I know a lot of people have good luck with Motherlove's More Milk or More Milk Plus. Drinking more water and eating more will obviously help, as can eating oatmeal, pumping more/longer, getting enough sleep.

 

I hope things look better for you guys soon. I can't even imagine how hard it is having a preemie.

post #4 of 16

Christina, I'm so sorry.  hug2.gif

 

There is lots of wonderful advice above.  I know that 5HTP was an absolute godsend for me when I (finally) weaned myself off of my rx antidepressants.  It's not FDA approved for use while breastfeeding, but I think that many midwives and naturopaths recommend it anyway; look into that as a possibility.  It's truly amazing.

 

I'm so glad you came here to post openly and honestly about your experience.  I hope you can find a real-life support group to help you out.

 

I have had crippling depression on and off since I was about 15, and I know well the soul-destroying, empty and isolated world it creates.  Picture my heart beside yours right now; it's with you.

 

post #5 of 16

Jaimee's advice is very good!  I also agree, it's normal to not fall in love with your baby in the beginning.  It took me a while with #1 to really feel that way, probably until after we got breastfeeding figured out.  Hugs and best wishes.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post

I will say, though, that even without dealing with the NICU or really any other major stressors, I did not feel that immediate bond with either of my babies.  I did not have the "I've known you forever" feeling.  I did not fall head over heels in love the moment I saw them.  Some of us don't.  And that's okay.  The important thing is that you take care of yourself and you take care of your baby.  You are certainly doing the absolute best you can for your baby, do not forget to take care of yourself, too.  I am so glad that you posted to get support from us.  The next step is to get some real life support.

A million hugs mama!   grouphug.gif



 

post #6 of 16

PPD is so so tough. It's hard for me to even try and talk about it here, because I am still affected by it, 2.5 years later. I was really stubborn about not taking medication, and I'm not sure it was the right choice for me or DD. I've been depressed on and off for 2 years now, and poor DD has behavioural issues we need to work through because of it. But, I made it my focus to prioritize our relationship, and though I had periods where I found myself distanced from my dear girl, I was always able to bring that attachment back. So don't make things worse for yourself by worrying about your connection with your little guy - you will get there, particularly when he is out of the NICU and in your arms at home. 

 

Things that have helped me: being kind to myself - allowing myself to take time to do things that I like to do, read books, knit, drink tea. I know that you are probably so swamped with NICU visits and constant pumping, but maybe there is something else you can let go of to make more time for yourself. Get someone else to wash your dishes, do your laundry, whatever it is. And make sure to keep up the daily you-time when your little mister comes home.

 

Massages helped so much.

 

Talk to someone. If counselling didn't work for you, then maybe find a group? Or a trusted friend, or your mom? The reason I like counselors is because it's their job to absorb your emotional baggage. When I try and unload on a friend or family member, I feel like there is a lot of obligation that goes along with that unloading. But if that's not your thing, then find someone else. I agree with PPs that finding other moms in similar situations is so helpful. 

 

B vitamins and omega fish oils. Really helped me.  

 

Reaching out like this is a promising thing for you - I didn't reach out for months, I was too deep into it. So good for you, you are doing the right thing for yourself and your little guy. Make sure that some people close to you in your life know how you feel now too, so they can keep an eye on you. It is possible to go beyond helping yourself, and then you really need to allow others to take care of you.

 

So many hugs, I know it's so hard. 

 

 

post #7 of 16

Word to all that was posted thus far.  I'm no stranger to PPD, but compounding NICU and pumping hell on top of that, ohh, my heart goes out to you, mama!  

 

Regardless of what the first few weeks and months are like, it's pretty normal to feel knocked off your feet, like you've lost equilibrium.  Having ppl to talk to about it is great, so long as you can share without feeling worse/obligated afterward!  Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, taking meds might not be a bad option at all--so try not to make it taboo or somehow "cheating", not even inside your own head.  I don't know how you feel about alternative therapies, but Reiki energy work can be really transformational, as can Bach flower essences.  Even if it all feels useless, being proactive is better than hoping it'll go away on its own.  I think that PPD has earned some weird stigma in our culture, which makes ppl reluctant to talk about it or seek the help they need w/o fear of backlash--and that's awful.  As if society gets to dictate when and how we are "supposed to" feel happy....ugh.

 

I hope you find some solace very soon, mama.  {{{{big huge hugs}}}

post #8 of 16


I second the rec for Bach products.  They have Rescue Remedy, that might be helpful!  I'm not sure if there is something "stronger" for this type of situation.  Might be worth asking your MW about!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystal323 View Post

Word to all that was posted thus far.  I'm no stranger to PPD, but compounding NICU and pumping hell on top of that, ohh, my heart goes out to you, mama!  

 

Regardless of what the first few weeks and months are like, it's pretty normal to feel knocked off your feet, like you've lost equilibrium.  Having ppl to talk to about it is great, so long as you can share without feeling worse/obligated afterward!  Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, taking meds might not be a bad option at all--so try not to make it taboo or somehow "cheating", not even inside your own head.  I don't know how you feel about alternative therapies, but Reiki energy work can be really transformational, as can Bach flower essences.  Even if it all feels useless, being proactive is better than hoping it'll go away on its own.  I think that PPD has earned some weird stigma in our culture, which makes ppl reluctant to talk about it or seek the help they need w/o fear of backlash--and that's awful.  As if society gets to dictate when and how we are "supposed to" feel happy....ugh.

 

I hope you find some solace very soon, mama.  {{{{big huge hugs}}}



 

post #9 of 16

I've been stubbornly avoiding prescription anti-depressants as well, but this go around I really cannot afford to fall into post-partum or even seasonal depression...I have my five year old and my husband is not being his normally dependable/stable self, so I really need to keep it together!  I am working with an MD/therapist recommended by my midwives and am currently considering a having a prescription for Zoloft when baby arrives so I have the option ready and waiting for me.  It can take around a month to feel the "full" effects but you should feel something very soon after you start.  There are many medications, such as Zoloft, that only appear in trace amounts in your milk.  And, sometimes breastfeeding isn't the best option for mama and her baby, I know the anger/depression I was feeling with my daughter while breastfeeding likely had a negative affect counter to the nourishment she was receiving.  I wish I had given myself permission to not breastfeed....Anyway, I know what I am saying may not be a popular response, but really, all I am trying to say is let some of the pressures off of yourself and seek help even if it means medication and going against the particular expectations you have set up for yourself. 

 

I really wish I had gotten on something when I had my daughter, it has been 5 years of battling with my personal demons, and boy our relationship has suffered, but I've really come far this year and am hoping to off-set any potentials for hazards in the near future. 

 

Hang in there, your baby will be fine, you are doing a wonderful job and reaching out is an amazing step in the right direction.  There is lots of great advice on this thread, and you know that we're all happy to listen and offer a helping hand.  Hopefully you can find something to help for you, whether it is Rx or natural, acupuncture or Reiki, etc. there are many options for you to consider and number one is getting a support system in place.  I hope that you have some friends and family nearby...if not, I would consider one of the groups mentioned by other posters, or seeking a therapist/counselor despite previous attempts.  It helps to be heard in a non-judgmental setting, as with these message boards.  I wish you and your baby well, and my heart aches for the pain and inner turmoil you are experiencing.  I have definitely been there, in my own experiences, and can only imagine the added difficulties of NICU and early delivery.  My heart and thoughts go out to you and your family.  Also, I'm just over in West Seattle if you want to get together sometime.

post #10 of 16

Kellymom has a helpful page on antidepressants while bfing:

http://kellymom.com/health/meds/antidepressants-hale10-02.html

 

Quote:
Hale's "choice hierarchy" is as follows:
  • Zoloft
  • Paxil
  • Celexa
  • Effexor
  • Prozac
Concluding remarks

Finally, Dr. Hale concluded his talk by saying that breastfeeding should be supported fully and not interrupted by mom's needs for medication; and that treatment of postpartum depression can be accomplished relatively safely in breastfeeding mothers. So, in his consideration, moms should continue breastfeeding and should get drug treatment as needed for depression.

You can also call InfantRisk.  Here's an article by them: http://www.infantrisk.com/content/antidepressant-usage-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding and their phone number: (806)-352-2519.

 

 

post #11 of 16

ppd is a bitch. After trying (and hating) meds I read The Mood Cure and followed the plan in there. The key ingredient for me was the Tryptophan, which is very similar to 5htp and basically accomplishes the same thing (it eventually converts to serotonin) but its supposedly a better option while breastfeeding. 

post #12 of 16

I've also given my DH trytophan with good success.  The only side effect was that it killed his libido.  While he didn't seem to notice, it really bothered me so I stopped giving it to him!  A breastfeeding mama probably doesn't have much sex drive to begin with, so I doubt it matters.  ;)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

ppd is a bitch. After trying (and hating) meds I read The Mood Cure and followed the plan in there. The key ingredient for me was the Tryptophan, which is very similar to 5htp and basically accomplishes the same thing (it eventually converts to serotonin) but its supposedly a better option while breastfeeding. 


 

 

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your replies! I haven't had any time to try and get some of the things you all have recommended.

 

I am well and truly losing my mind, though. I feel done, I can't do it anymore. I can cope. I want to fall back on my old 'depressive habits' and starve myself and cut and isolate... All of which I should not be doing with a newborn in the NICU. I've already lost almost 40 pounds since his birth two and a half weeks ago, most of which I think was water weight - but in my right mind I know I'm not eating enough. Or drinking enough water. 

 

What's really got me down right now is my milk supply has fizzled out. I was getting 80-100 mL every 2-3 hours, and now it's more like 20-40 mL. I'm sooooo depressed about that. The only thing I can do for my poor NICU baby is provide him with milk so he doesn't have to have formula... and now I can't even do that! How useless am I??!?!?!

 

DH is getting fed up with me, I think. He doesn't understand anymore. He doesn't understand why I don't want to go to the NICU anymore, how much it pains me to see 'my son'. How much it pains me to have the nurses trying to be positive by telling me, "It won't be long, now." or "He'll be home before you know it!" They have been saying that for two weeks, now and there is really no end in sight. He's not eating his meals fully from a bottle and isn't anywhere close to that. And that's what he needs to do to go home. Drink this astronomical amount of milk (50 mL) every three hours. He's not even six pounds, yet - how is he supposed to drink almost 2 ounces every three hours??

 

I just hate myself and my life right now. I can't do it anymore :(

post #14 of 16

Oh Luna I hope things start to get better and your son will eat as much as they are expecting him to so he can come home so soon.  

The funny thing about milk supply is that stress, and lack of nutrition and water will all decrease your supply dramatically.  You need to put all your energy into taking care of yourself- even when you don't want to or feel like it.   Even if baby was home with you, your supply would suffer if you aren't taking good care of yourself.  Try to explain this to DH and have him help you!  Have him hold you accountable to eating good meals, drinking enough water, and getting some time for yourself to do whatever you need to do.  If you're really not wanting to take meds, I think you'll have to just fake it 'til you make it, you know?  Just go through the motions and hopefully you'll start to feel better just because you are taking better care of yourself.  

Just don't perpetuate the cycle.  Not taking care of yourself ---> low milk supply ----> feeling like a failure -----> more depressed -----> even less milk.  You've got to take care of you before you can provide milk for baby.  You can do it, mama!  

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbk21 View Post

Just don't perpetuate the cycle.  Not taking care of yourself ---> low milk supply ----> feeling like a failure -----> more depressed -----> even less milk.  You've got to take care of you before you can provide milk for baby.  You can do it, mama!  


Yes!  Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself.  Have your dh look over this thread, too, and go get you some of the teas/herbs mentioned so that you have them right in front of you to take!  Also have him make you food and constantly hand you a water bottle.  Who else can help you out right now?  Family?  Friends?  Can someone fly out to be with you and help you with self-care?  Can you hire a postpartum doula?

 

Also, is there not the possibility of tube feeding him at home?  Even some full term newborns have issues with bottles/latching and are tube fed at home for a bit.  Is it too soon to try nipple shields and SNS?  What are the LC's at the hospital saying?  Six pounds is a pretty decent weight already!

 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaLady View Post

Thank you all for your replies! I haven't had any time to try and get some of the things you all have recommended.

 

I am well and truly losing my mind, though. I feel done, I can't do it anymore. I can cope. I want to fall back on my old 'depressive habits' and starve myself and cut and isolate... All of which I should not be doing with a newborn in the NICU. I've already lost almost 40 pounds since his birth two and a half weeks ago, most of which I think was water weight - but in my right mind I know I'm not eating enough. Or drinking enough water. 

 

What's really got me down right now is my milk supply has fizzled out. I was getting 80-100 mL every 2-3 hours, and now it's more like 20-40 mL. I'm sooooo depressed about that. The only thing I can do for my poor NICU baby is provide him with milk so he doesn't have to have formula... and now I can't even do that! How useless am I??!?!?!

 

DH is getting fed up with me, I think. He doesn't understand anymore. He doesn't understand why I don't want to go to the NICU anymore, how much it pains me to see 'my son'. How much it pains me to have the nurses trying to be positive by telling me, "It won't be long, now." or "He'll be home before you know it!" They have been saying that for two weeks, now and there is really no end in sight. He's not eating his meals fully from a bottle and isn't anywhere close to that. And that's what he needs to do to go home. Drink this astronomical amount of milk (50 mL) every three hours. He's not even six pounds, yet - how is he supposed to drink almost 2 ounces every three hours??

 

I just hate myself and my life right now. I can't do it anymore :(


If you're not eating or drinking well, your milk supply will go down. When I was breastfeeding my DD, I got sick for 2 days and couldn't keep anything down and I lost my milk for almost a week. I know it's hard, but please eat and drink more so your milk doesn't go away. I know how badly you wanted to breastfeed and give him the best start. Please hang in there, mama. hug2.gifI'm sorry for all that you're going through.
 

 

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