I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to convince ourselves that our problems will go away. Or they aren’t that serious. Or that it’s someone else’s fault we have them. Or that they don’t even exist. Sometimes we end up being the biggest obstacle in our own lives because we refuse to admit when we need help.
My daughter was born on April, 17, 2020, weighing 5lbs and 3oz at 34 weeks. We knew we hit the jackpot with our little miracle. She was perfect. We had been looking forward to bringing her into the world and seeing her sweet little face. I had no idea how hard it was going to be. The labor and delivery were exhausting. From enduring over 29 days of constant, painful, hellish contractions to hemorrhaging and losing too much blood during my cesarian section; it was all worth it.
As I look back, I started to know something was wrong about a week after we brought her home from the NICU. Being hit with postpartum depression was completely devastating. I felt like all I wanted for so many long months was to be a mom through miscarriage, pre-term labor, and a rough c-section, but once I got exactly what I’d been hoping and praying for, all I wanted to do was run the other way. I couldn’t even enjoy my baby girl after I brought her home. I feel guilty even as I type these words today. It hurts to look back at that time. I felt ashamed because here I had the biggest, most wonderful miracle that someone could possibly have and I would just sit there and cry. I definitely don’t want her to ever think any of it was her fault or that there was anything wrong with her. Postpartum depression and anxiety is just something none of us could plan for. We definitely don’t ask for it.
The hardest part about having such a rough pregnancy and unexpected pre-term delivery, is that once your baby arrives, everyone expects you to be over the moon and so happy that she’s healthy and finally here. I was. Don’t get wrong. I was very happy she was here. I was certainly over the moon about finally getting to hold her in my arms and not in my belly. But, I remember feeling like even though I had been through so much and people said it was “normal,” to be overwhelmed and emotional, I felt like the last thing I could do is even mention I had any concerns or doubts about being a new mom; despite how much love and support I had. I felt that I would be instantly judged for telling people I didn’t have any connection to my daughter. I remember sitting on my bed crying and talking to my best friends asking what was wrong with me. I loved this tiny human in front of me so much, but had absolutely no happiness. I cried constantly. I worried about the worst possible scenarios happening to my daughter (which I still worry about that!) I finally gave in and decided to talk to my doctor. I wanted to be happy and I wanted to be the best mommy and wife.
The harsh reality is that postpartum depression can happen to anyone no matter how vigilant you are about anxiety meds or making sure you’re in the right place mentally and emotionally. The only way to get through it is to reach out and ask for help. I am such an independent person that I didn’t want to ask anyone for help and I thought I could handle it on my own just like I thought I could keep my premature daughter alive on my own. Once again I am reminded that this was something I could not do on my own; and shouldn’t try to do on my own.