Plate Glass at my Party

Today we have an important post by one brave reader and friend, Marylin. We feel really fortunate that she was willing to come forward and share her experience so candidly. We also wanted to note that while we were prepping for this important post we learned some information that we thought might be beneficial to share. We tried at first to contrast baby blues with Postpartum Depression, put them on a nice neat little chart, but after consulting with family physcian Dr. Erika Noonan we learned an important piece to this puzzle. Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression are nearly exactly the same in symptom. The differences are merely onset and duration. Meaning that the only way to tell these differences at times are that your symptoms last longer than two weeks, or can manifest themselves at any time during the first year. With Baby Blues they usually spring on within a few days of delivery, and will be resolved within the first couple weeks. We wanted to share with you all, as we weren’t aware of the differences and maybe some of you were in our boat! Now, back to Marylin:
Postpartum Depression, those two words shouldn’t be together, side by side as partners. Having a baby is the best day, you’re finally face to squishy face with this amazing, tiny person that your body carried and supported life for, for 40 weeks. You’ve waited for this moment and it’s everything you wanted it to be. Then when you are home and adjusting to a new life, filled with one or more of these little people, visitors have gone home, meals have stopped coming in, and you’re sitting in your white wicker rocking chair with the handmade cushion, holding this now three week old baby boy, and the only emotion is sorrow. It sneaks up on you, even if you have met this darkness before, became well acquainted with it’s toxic nature, sent it packing, and now it’s returned with luggage and intentions of an extended stay.
Postpartum Despression Essay
That was me with my 4th child who is now 3 years old, although I’ve had postpartum depression with all four of my children. With the oldest I was going through a divorce within ten days of her arrival, so it’s hard to discern the PPD from the divorce so I will speak mostly of the other three experiences I’ve had. My second child was a pretty easy baby, she slept really well, which in my book gives her angel status. I wasn’t sleep deprived, my house wasn’t full of other young children since my oldest was already in school, so it took me off guard when the vivid yet intruding thoughts began when she was about 2 weeks old. They would interrupt my thoughts while carrying her down the hall, or watching her sleep in her crib, thoughts of dropping her, or her suffocating in blankets while sleeping. I was shocked by how real they appeared in my mind as if watching a movie. I cried alone and ashamed on many days, I wondered what was wrong with my mind, it was betraying me and my child. I had days that it was all I could do to get us showered and dressed. I didn’t tell anyone, and I suffered for a long time on my own, in fact I don’t remember ever getting outside help, I was scared of what others would think. I never spoke up but I know I used yoga and other types of exercise as my coping method and eventually it subsided, the horrible thoughts ceased, as did the paranoia, crying and sadness.
 Postpartum Depression Essay
With my third child, and first son the postpartum came on much stronger than previous times. I remember one evening I was sorting laundry and sobbing simultaneously, my husband walked into the room and asked me what was wrong and I simply said “I just want to die.” I meant it. There was no hope, no open door or light at the end of the tunnel. During the day I would go about taking care of my son, the house and the other two kids like I was on autopilot, the horrible thoughts, the bouts of crying, and this feeling of numbness in my head all returned with a vengeance. I was out of my mind and yet stuck there at the same time. One afternoon we pulled up to a park and I watched as my husband got all three children out of the car, he asked if I would be joining them and I just shook my head. I sat there in the quiet thinking about how it might be better for them if I wasn’t there, and then in an instance of clarity the real “Marylin” picked up the cell phone and sent a text to our amazing doctor that said “What happens if I feel like driving my car into a brick wall?” he simply replied, “Oh Marylin, I am calling in a prescription right now and you are going to pick it up.” He also requested I come back to see him. I followed through with both suggestions and it helped to a degree. For me, the medication didn’t completely fix it but it became “manageable” as they say, I was able to get through the days without the crazy thoughts and endless tears and the ideas of suicide, but I wasn’t all me.
After 3 years on medication I was wondering if I would ever find my way back when a thought came to me about the birth control method I was using. I did some quick online searches and found that a pretty large percentage of women that used the same IUD had, reported depression and excessive weight gain, both of which I was dealing with. I made the decision that day to have it removed and after talking with my doctor I decided to discontinue use of the medication as well. It took a few months but I began to see the sun again in my life, I knew that for me the increased PPD from that pregnancy was very likely related to my birth control choice.
With my last child there were so many extenuating circumstances that contributed to the PPD, a VERY sick first 22 weeks of pregnancy, a move to a new city, Preeclampsia and an early delivery in the cold, dark winter set it up like a house of cards. I was better prepared mentally though, I knew that it would come and so I began making preparations, I looked into local yoga studios, tried to make friends, found a rec center with a gym, and talked lots with my husband. I thought I was ready for it, but once again it showed up with it’s joy stealing ways and brought me to my knees on more than one day. I was sleep deprived, completely overwhelmed with a newborn that screamed from 8pm-5am and then sure – wake up and get two children off to school and entertain a 3 year old – no problem. It was survival of the fittest though and I had fight in me. I went on an all elimination diet when he was 8 weeks old and he and I began to sleep again, I added as much yoga as I could at a nearby studio and I confided in my husband instead of shutting him out. While it was far from glamorous and my knees were bruised from praying, I didn’t quit, even in my loneliest, darkest moment I knew I was going to be OK.Postpartum Depression Essay
Postpartum depression is like a thief in the night that robs you quietly, and leaves you feeling the shame. It doesn’t play by rules or care that you were supposed to be breathing every moment of that perfect newborn that you tried for years to have, suffered multiple miscarriages, prayed for, yearned for. It doesn’t care. It will linger sometimes for years after your child is born, you will have months of beautiful weather and then like you moved to Seattle it will rain for weeks on end. The most difficult part for me about PPD is how isolating it becomes. I was supposed to be bursting with rainbows and glitter after these miracles in my life and it felt more like watching the surprise party through plated glass, I could see all the good in front of me and yet I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it, it was out of my grasp. I love my children endlessly and there were definitely times of bonding and absolute bliss, holding them and sticking my nose in their necks to inhale. I know that for some, nursing becomes difficult with PPD, but for me, it was essential to bringing me out of the looking glass for periods of time when I could feel and taste every last drop of blessings being poured into my life. My husband was gracious and kind, he would give me space when I needed it, but then pull me back when I was away too long, he remind me of why it was worth staying. He is truly my living, breathing hero. He carried more than I wish he’d had to and if he ever resented me I never knew it. Anyone suffering with PPD needs a Jimmy, they just do.
I can now say that I am on the safe side of PPD, our family won’t be growing by way of my womb at any time in the future. The sad, but honest part is that it’s a huge relief, like the deep breath after a scary movie, I breathe in the new chapter of my life without postpartum depression. Of course I would never trade my children, well except that time when #4 dumped an entire gallon of milk into my carpet next to a dozen cracked eggs, I thought about it, but I wouldn’t trade them. I won’t even ask for those years back, I mourn them from time to time but I work to live right here and now with the four most important purposes in my life. I don’t talk about what I went through very often, or really at all, this is the first time I am bringing it to the surface with my face to the sun knowing I will never have to dive to those depths again, it didn’t beat me and I didn’t drown. I have learned to know that it wasn’t my fault, there is no blame. I am a believer of hope and grace and a power beyond my own. Telling my story feels strangely like I am letting go of this toxic friend, one that has taken up too many years as it is and feels good to move on and let go.
Photos by Marissa Moss.

Comments

  1. Kara M:
    on January 20, 2015 at 9:13 am said:

    Marilyn, THANK YOU so much for sharing.

  2. on January 20, 2015 at 9:51 am said:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Bless you and your sweet family.

  3. Marissa:
    on January 20, 2015 at 11:34 am said:

    I LOVE this post! Such a brave story to share! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Alisa:
    on January 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm said:

    Thank you for sharing this. The IUD made me feel the same way. It was a huge difference when I had it removed.

  5. Tami:
    on January 20, 2015 at 2:06 pm said:

    I hope you realize how many women you just helped by being brave enough to share your journey. Isolation is one of the hardest parts about depression and you just helped someone feel understood.

  6. Ashley:
    on January 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm said:

    I found the best method to continually help with my postpartum depression is to talk about it. my sister is incredible she sends me blogs and articles to continually help remind me that I am not at fault. those thoughts are not my thoughts those desires are not my true desires. I will get over this and I have love and family and friends who support me. I feel sorry for those who do not recognize this for what it is or who do not have the support that I have. thank you for sharing your story and for being brave to talk about it. I have had the thoughts of pushing my stroller off the side of the bluffs and question if my child would be hurt or how would I feel. Scary is not the word to describe the thoughts, it’s much worse than that. with love we can reach out and help others who suffer as well. as we talked we can let them know that they are loved and this is not what motherhood really is. we can let them know the day will come thst they will have the joy they deserve with their children

  7. Anonymous:
    on January 20, 2015 at 8:04 pm said:

    I love it every time I see more open conversations about PPD happening, but I do get kind of sad that I don’t see much about antepartum depression, that’s the one that ate me for lunch. Most women who get swallowed by antepartum depression don’t even know that such a thing exists.

  8. Shelley:
    on January 20, 2015 at 11:25 pm said:

    Marilyn,
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You are so brave! I know that by sharing this, you have helped at least one Mom feel like she is not alone.

  9. ry:
    on January 21, 2015 at 11:30 am said:

    that’s good stuff friend, you know in regards to feeling how we do sometimes nothing worse than someone telling us no we don’t feel that way , even after confiding to someone we trust could help and guide us.
    after losing my voice one time a young girl asked me what was wrong with my voice I simply said it was from yelling at my kids she laughed it off like I was joking.
    Thank you for the validation <3

  10. on January 21, 2015 at 8:19 pm said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! While I did not have PPD I can still so much relate to all of the feelings you described. I am certain this will help another mom reach the other side.

  11. Anonymous:
    on January 22, 2015 at 9:57 am said:

    Wow this is a very powerful message. I love your words and your truthfulness. It is just as you described it. I am really grateful for your thoughts and I know as I have struggled after my 3 babies I would have loved to read this to know that I am not alone. I am due in 10 weeks with my fourth and I am nervous but trying to prepare. I love your thoughts. Thanks so much to the author and great job small fry talking about real life and not fluff! Although the fluff is pretty fun. 🙂

  12. Carly:
    on January 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm said:

    Thank you for sharing this. My husband and I have been talking about having a 3rd baby and I’ve just discovered that he was SO depressed during both of my pregnancies. I have been so frustrated and confused as to why he wasn’t wanting a 3rd baby, as he is seriously the most incredible father, and husband. But it’s all making so much more sense in hindsight. I think with all the focus being on me, and me not feeling the greatest, I definitely overlooked the pain and darkness he was feeling. It’s definitely important to talk about, because I know he was not alone. And I know Marilyn was not alone either. Thanks for sharing!

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