Glad to find this forum. I am finally letting myself consider that I may have PPD. There is so much going on in my life right now it is hard to tell what is what, though.
I had a great birth, very easy and smooth, and very healing after the more traumatic birth of DD1. But then (I guess because things were going so well for me emotionally that he thought I could handle it) DH came to me at 10 days telling me he wanted to separate. I knew that he was feeling burned out and at a mid-life crisis and needing some changes in life, but I had no idea that he had already made up his mind that the changes wouldn't include us being a family.
DH has aspergers syndrome, so it is hard for him to really "get" the emotional impact of things. It also means that I do most everything related to parenting and home life. Much of life is about taking care of everything so that his stress level stays down and he can stay focused on work so that we have an income.
So, even being together I have always done everything related to the children. He has never changed a diaper, never helped at night, and he may hold the baby every two days or so but only for about 5 minutes at most.
He is pretty removed from family life. I cook, do dishes, pay bills, empty trash, get the lawn mowed, cars repaired... basically everything and he provides income.
The way family life has been is already very stressful for me, but we had a delicate balance that we could manage. I think that if we had come to the decision together to separate it would have made it a lot easier. But it is a one-sided decision. His mind is made up.
Now, he doesn't want me to get too emotional about all of this... wants us to be mature adults and deal with all of the change objectively. This is just how his mind works. If he didn't have AS I would have a hard time with this.
I also discovered two weeks ago that he has developed a very close friendship with another woman that he has been emailing with almost daily for the past year. It is platonic, yet emotionally close. That has been like a double wammy.
Basically now the main intimate person in my life is leaving. I have a 4 month old baby and 4 year old daughter that I will have sole custody of. I haven't found any rhythm yet for balancing the 2 girls because all of my thoughts are going to the family change, my feelings, trying to get things figured out.
I thought that I was just sad and angry because of the separation/divorce. But I'm starting to look at it from a ppd standpoint too. Here is what I see:
I've withdrawn from all social activity. I do talk in the evenings with friends on the phone, but I am not doing any of my regular outgoing type of stuff. I was really involved with my daughter's school and have pulled completely back. I just can't get motivated to do anything. I just don't have the energy for it.
I can't seem to get to basic things around the house. Food, dishes, and laundry are all that I'm focused on and those aren't even really getting done.
When my baby cries I am not responding to her very quickly. Her cries don't seem compelling to me the way that DD1's cries were. I can't tell if she is just not a very insistant baby or if I am not affected by them in the same way. She spends a lot of time fussing before I realize that I need to tend to her.
I am loosing my temper much too quickly with DD1. Yesterday was the worst day ever. I actually spanked her in anger. I've never done that before. It is like something else just took over and all of my anger came spilling out. I feel so ashamed. So deeply ashamed. I'm still crying about it. I don't want to admit that I'm not the mother I want to be, or the mother that everyone thinks I am. But I feel like I have to talk about it or it will just get buried deeper.
Then of course, I'm crying a lot and generally not very engaged in life.
I just can't seem to meet the basic needs of life. I feel like my basic needs aren't getting met. Those would be touch, rest, alone time, and emotional support.
I realize that I need help. DH just isn't going to be able to be there for me. Last night, I just had to ask for some time to myself (I get none right now). I had a hot bath while he took the girls for 45 minutes. But after that he was really grouchy and feeling sorry for himself because he is getting sick and there are too many demands on him. I tried to explain that I am really not doing well, it has been an especially bad day, and I think that I may have ppd. He told me to stop being dramatic and that I could get over it if I tried. I was so angry. I broke a bowl full of soup and walked out of the house, leaving him with the broken pieces, a crying baby and a very stressed 4 year old.
Luckily my mother specializes in PPD professionally. She was able to talk to him and help him realize what is going on. He is going to stay in the house for another week to try to help out. My mom wants me to try meds. I don't want to go there until I've tried some other things first.
My plan is to try St. Johnswart (anyone have recommended dosages? My pills are 45mg each and I've just started with one a day.) I also have some left over placenta I can take. If I can figure out how to get out of the house alone I would like to add in some exercise and sunlight, but not sure how to do that. I really just need some space to myself. I wish I could just not be a mother for a day, but with a nursing child and a sick DD1, that isn't happening anytime soon.
Ahh, this turned out a lot longer than I intended. I think I just need a place to vent. I'm talking to friends and family and feel like I do have support (thankfully my parents live close by too). I just feel so alone, though, and not sure even what sort of help to ask for. I just need someone else to think for me.
I didn't want to read and not respond. I'm so sorry you are going through such an incredibly difficult time. Have you considered meeting with a therapist? Perhaps your mom could recommend someone. They might be able to help you focus your thoughts enough to begin healing. I wish I had more advice; hopefully other posters will, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry for what you're having to endure.
It does sound like things are really difficult right now, and stressful events can make you more susceptible to developing PPD. It would be great if you could get some help, either with therapy, or nutritionally/herbally, and also with getting a break from the kids to just have a moment to breathe. Can your mom help you with the kids for a few days? Just come over and make food, hold the baby when she's not needing to nurse, and play with your older daughter?
I also had a really great birth after a traumatic first birth, and there have been times I've thought that I'm getting/have PPD. I have bad anxiety sometimes and it gets overwhelming. I met with an herbalist and started drinking oatstraw infusions, taking a tincture with lemonbalm, lavender, oatseed, and something else in it, and another one with astralagus, ashwaghanda, and eleuthero, and that helped me tremendously. I also asked my mom if she could come stay the night with me for a few days for a couple weeks in a row and help with the kids and that made it so I could at least take a bath, or go out to lunch with a friend, or just hide downstairs in the quiet for a bit :) And as far as your husband not going for additonal people in your house, it seems like he's not really a help anyhow so I wouldn't worry about how he feels about it. You need to get the support that you need to function and be there for your girls. And who is he, Tom Cruise? PPD doesn't exist? I'm glad your mom was there to set him straight!
Are there any postpartum groups that you could meet with locally? You can go online to Postpartum Support International at http://www.postpartum.net/Get-the-Facts.aspx and see if there is someone in your area you could talk with. Also your local Birth Network may have some resources for you, and hospitals often put on postpartum support groups facilitated by counselors.
I hope some of this helps, and big hugs to you because I know how hard it is when things are overwhelming.
What you describe certainly sounds like it could be depression. Whether PPD or a reactive depression secondary to the major changes you have going on in your life probably doesn't really matter as the treatment will be the same.
I'm glad your mum can provide some support and maybe some professional contacts for you. If you are keen to avoid medication ( and I get that although I do think it can be very helpful) then I would suggest making regular councelling a very high priority. I know it's going to be difficult with your little ones and no help from your husband but anyway you can manage it I think would really help.
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