I have two kids. When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted a big family. Our plan was to have four children.
With my son, the circumstances surrounding his birth were so stressful, emotional, and painful that I couldn't tell if I had PPD or was just depressed by all of the drama that was going on. With my daughter, I knew something was wrong immediately. When the midwife handed her to me, my first thought was she's so ugly. I had a difficult time bonding with her at the hospital. Life after she came home was so overwhelmingly hard. In retrospect, I understand that I had a hard time because I could not, would not, ask for help. I had built up this idea in my head of what it meant to be a mother and when I fell short of that, I was convinced I was the most worthless parent to ever exist. I was constantly beating myself up and comparing myself to other women. My brain was out of control--thoughts of hurting my kids and all the other crap that comes along with PPD. I couldn't sleep, I hurt myself by trying to get back in shape too early...I was a giant mess.
The breaking point was when I shaved my head as a way to "take back" the person I had been before pregnancy. After that, I joined a support group, went on medication, and started therapy. I'm in such a better place now and I feel stronger for having come out of that disaster. My daughter is beautiful and vibrant and I grieve for the time lost while I was going out of my mind.
At first, I wanted another baby so I could "fix" everything that went wrong. I decided that was a terrible reason to have a child and so I waited. Then I wanted another baby so I could be just like the moms I admired--also a terrible reason to have a baby. So I waited. Now, I feel like I can actually say that I want another baby without wanting it for the wrong reasons--I actually want to have another kid. The problem is that I am absolutely terrified. Each of my pregnancies were so stressful and so painful (physically) and I dread going through that again. I can't figure out why I am not one of those happy pregnant women who sail through nine months overcome with joy at the thought of giving birth (granted, most of those women I've known were first time moms). And now, I'm quaking at the knees at the thought of going through everything that having a baby entails. No wonder people have "oops" babies! What woman after two kids and a nasty bout with PPD would consciously decide to have another child?
How do I overcome the fear? Or do you never really get over it? Is it one of those "leaps of faith" kind of things? I'm off Zoloft now and it would be nice to not have to go back on. Has anyone done a post PPD pregnancy without medication?