My Story With Postpartum Depression
by: Meghann Dupont
I am sharing my story to raise awareness and let you know that you are not alone.
I was happily a new mother -- AGAIN. My husband and I pray, ponder and plan when to have our babies. Our toddler would be two years old when the next baby came. I had a lot of reasons to be happy: A helpful and loving husband, a calling at church, amazing friends, I'm a stay-at-home mom, I have a beautiful daughter who has Autism Spectrum Disorder and now pregnant with our second baby girl.
I had my second C Section at 39 weeks on July 18, 2016 and the healing went well. We brought her home and my mother-in-law was there to help. Everything was going fine. My husband was home for the next 6 months of paternity leave. I went through the baby blues and then it ended at about 10 days postpartum.
Suddenly, out of nowhere one month after giving birth I was feeling so emotional. Not just emotional, but sickly emotional. Anger and tears seemed to be the new me. I was never mad at my baby. I loved her since I got pregnant and even more when I first saw her. But I started crying for hours every single day. I stopped wanting to go out. If we did go out and have fun as soon as we got home it was like it never happened and I crashed. Things I use to think were fun were not enjoyable anymore. I didn't want to get out of bed and I didn't want to take care of anything in the house or anyone. I didn't want anyone to visit. Once I invited the sister missionaries over to dye my hair but was so overcome with sadness that I would cancel. Sisters at church would invite me over for play dates and I didn't want to go. When my husband would do something fun for himself I would cry. I couldn't understand how he could have joy and I couldn't.
I blamed my husband for my feelings of suffering. How awful to think it got to that.
My poor husband had no idea what was going on inside me. I didn't let him see it. I didn't let anyone see it. He would just see my anger (something I now know is called postpartum rage) and emotions. And he wondered why I had changed. He would ask me why I was not the woman he once knew. He would send me videos on how to love your husband again. He thought I didn't love him anymore.
I was feeling hopeless. I felt like my family would be better off without me. I thought why would they want someone so useless around them. I didn't realize what was happening to me.
I was also stressed while we struggle with our toddlers severe speech delay, waiting for a team of specialists to do a Global Evaluation this December and the neurosurgeon to see how to fix her curved spine. While I expressed this and my feelings of helplessness one day to a friend of mine mentioned Postpartum Depression. I was thinking.. what's that? Me? So I Googled what it was just to see.
"Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.
On that website I found what causes postpartum depression, the symptoms, and how to know if you have postpartum depression.
Even after reading this and feeling I related to everything. I still couldn't see that postpartum depression was what is happening to me. We are the hardest on ourselves.
One day my husband and I went to the Temple and as I sat in the Celestial Room I felt so sad, broken, unfixable. I felt I was drowning. The most peaceful room on this earth and I didn't feel better. Can you imagine? That should of been a red flag, but I still didn't see it.
I was crying every day for hours, angry, wanted to die every day and that consumed my thoughts. My chest felt heavy like a ton of bricks. I was barely hanging on for my 6 week postpartum check up. I asked myself a couple times if it could be Postpartum Depression, but I said no because I don't hate my baby, I don't want to hurt my baby. I just hate me. But I didn't know that was still a red flag.
On the morning of my 6 week checkup. I was crying on my bedroom floor for about two hours and I felt so awful. The children were with my husband and grandma. I said a prayer and I said, "Heavenly Father, I don't know why I'm crying all the time. I feel horrible. I feel like a horrible wife and mother. Why am I not fun like my other friends who have kids? My heart feels like heavy bricks. If the doctor doesn't give me medication for whatever this suffering is I'm not doing this anymore."
As I mentioned my husband had no idea what I was going through because I didn't tell him my thoughts. I tried to hide my pain. And I hid it well on the outside. After I finished my prayer I washed my face and got ready to go. We went to my appointment to see if my C Section was healing fine. My Gynecologist asked me how I was feeling and I broke down crying. I told him everything and he said, "it sounds like you have a wicked Postpartum Depression". He congratulated me for speaking up. I didn't feel courageous. I felt weak and alone. Only 15% of moms get PPD and he said it's not something to hide. It is a very serious mental illness, but it can be treated.
Within minutes I was sent to meet with a Psychiatrist at the Emergency Section of the Mental Health Hospital as that is the fastest way to see someone my doctor said. My husband drove me over. As my husband and I sat across from the Psychiatrist I told him everything. My husband was in shock. He didn't know. I didn't even know I was depressed. Who? Me? I have Postpartum Depression? I thought you had to hate your baby or want to hurt them. But I don't want to do that so it can't be it. *Red Flag* The doctor explained the difference between sadness and depression and the difference between worry and anxiety to us. I wondered, "why would I hate me when 3 months ago I loved me?" "where did this come from?" Untreated, and unknown depression could have more deeply affected my Celestial Marriage because we didn't understand why I was an emotional angry crying mess! This was WAY WORSE than pregnancy hormones or anything I've ever been through. There were days I couldn't even get out of bed and my loving husband had to lift me up and carry me outside to try and do something fun. We went on a few vacations and to Palmyra, New York with the kids to try and have some fun. I had therapy and am on antidepressants now. I never thought I could feel better. But on the medication so far I am feeling better. I hated the idea of medication but the Lord would expect me to get the medical help I need. I know the Savior knows what all our trials feel like. He even knows what Depression feels like so you and I can rely on him. I also don't know what I'd do without my husband. He is a good man.
What I've learned so far:
*No one would choose depression. No one would choose to suffer like that.
*Men can have postpartum depression too.
*Men can have postpartum depression too.
*Postpartum rage exists
*Stress is one of my triggers.
*Some of the trials we face are going to be unpredictable and you're not going to know how to handle them.
*I am learning that this isn't about overcoming but about becoming a better person in the furnace of your afflictions.
*It's important to not judge others or people will never be able to talk and get the support they are seeking.
*To have more empathy.
*I've learned the Lord would expect you to get the medical help you need.
*It's okay to be on antidepressants.
*It's nobody's fault.
*I am loved.
*I am not the only person suffering with Postpartum Depression.
*It can happen to anyone.
*It doesn't care what your social, family, financial or spiritual situation is.
*It's okay to say I feel better on the medication.
*It's okay to share my story in case it can help someone else.
*The Savior could of known our trials by revelation, but he chose to feel them instead, so he would know how to help (succor) us.
"We all experience trauma in this life. It could be the death of a loved one, heartbreak, a physical ailment, or a mental or emotional disorder. Life is hard, and sometimes we forget how difficult it is to be a human being in this world. It is so important that we support each other through these trials and processes. We need to exercise sympathy for those around us.
Life’s trials and difficulties are overcome with time, patience, and a lot of faith and trust in God. Overnight miracles rarely happen, not because God doesn’t love us or want us to be happy, but because they rob us of the lessons that life’s difficulties have the potential to teach us. Relying on God and placing Him at the center of our lives is much easier in theory than in practice, but the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the ultimate solution to life’s challenges." - Michael Rex