Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dr. Mary, M.D. checking in on PPD

I sometimes like to pretend I'm a doctor.  Growing up, before taking my husband's last name, my initials were M. D.  Clearly that makes me a medical doctor, right?  I mean, who needs a degree when you have initials like that!?

That being said, here is my non-medical-professional thoughts and experiences with postpartum depression.  (All that prefacing to say, I'm not claiming fact, I'm just claiming experience.)

I think I had PPD.

I cried a lot.  A lot.  I was tired all the time.  I survived each day only by the grace of God.  I was constantly on edge hearing real and imaginary cries from my baby.  I slept terribly.  I was always anxious--like, big time anxious.

And since I had a colicky baby and didn't get out very much, I thought this was 'normal.' I never wanted to admit that I could have postpartum depression because I thought it was for crazy people (like me?) and not regular moms.  I didn't want to be judged for not loving my baby oodles and oodles.  And the truth is, I did (and do) love my baby, but sometimes it was just too much.  He made me crazy and I couldn't understand how people did this more than once.

My baby blues lasted longer than the doctor said they would.  But then again, I wasn't sleeping full nights of sleep and I was struggling to breastfeed a baby who wasn't gaining weight like the charts said he should.  Surely that wasn't PPD?

It wasn't until probably eight months into motherhood that I was confident that I had PPD.  However, I really didn't want to take medicine, so I very scientifically googled alternative solutions.

The internet suggested talking to people about how I was feeling, which I was doing with my husband, but after reading that, started randomly blurting out to other mothers that I think I had depression.  The Holy Spirit clearly led those conversations, because every mother I spoke to had experience with some form of depression.  ...so I learned I wasn't crazy.

I also began taking vitamin D.  And on the weekends (when my husband could get up with baby) I would take a sleeping aid so that I started getting full nights of sleep.  Thankfully, for the sake of my husband, Sam was (mostly) sleeping through the night.

And I began feeling better.

My mother and mother-in-law started babysitting Sam some during the week and I got some time off.  I got to have some 'me' time.  I got to do my grocery shopping without fear of a baby melt-down in the cereal aisle.

And this very long year has now become sunny.  I can't say with certainty that I am "healed" from PPD, but I know I'm in a much better place.

If you find yourself in this place, I want you to hear these things:
  1. You're not crazy.
  2. A lot of people have PPD, just less than a lot want to admit it.
  3. Life gets better.
  4. It's not your fault.
  5. You're not a bad mom.
  6. Your baby might be really "easy" and you still feel this way.  That's ok.
  7. Seeking help doesn't make you a freak.
I love you, friend.  If you need to talk, I'm hear.  And if you need to talk to a medical professional, you should do that also.  Sometimes drugs and a real therapist are the only things that will help.


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