2012: A Diagnosis and a Year of Change

2011 came and went faster than I could blink an eye, with the dawn of many new and great adventures that God presented to us.

I wanted to start off this New Year talking about a very serious health problem that I have been dealing with and felt that sharing my experience would help other moms out there.

With an extremely difficult pregnancy, our baby girl (our second child) arrived on August 15th.  Without speaking poorly of our sweet baby girl, she has been the most difficult baby that I have ever encountered!  From colic to acid reflux, from incessant unhapiness to wailing in the car, Amelia has been anything but an easy baby.

Noah, our first, turned 2 in November and is such a wonderful big brother to Amelia – kind and loving.  Unfortunately, though, he is just 2 and wants and craves the same attention that I have to dote on Amelia in order to create some type of peace in the house.

For a very long time (relatively speaking), though, I was finding it very hard to bond and connect with Amelia, mainly because of her behavior.  In addition, she does breastfeed at times, but there are other times that she wretches away from me and refuses to nurse.  What a sense of defeat that ripples through every fiber of my being when this happens!

I would find myself crying – or seriously wanting to – because no matter what I did, I could not soothe my own child – could not coddle the needs of my toddler – coud not keep the house clean – could not take any time for my own interests – could not find enough time to sleep – could not have a moment of quality time with my husband before I crashed into the pillow at night……..and the list goes on.

I would go over to friends houses that seemed to be in perfect (or near perfect) order. I would talk to other moms who would have great days planned out weeks in advance and have dinner on the table by the time that their husbands got home.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I get it together and do the same thing?  I’m type A – a former corporate event planner – two kids should be a piece of cake!!!

WRONG.

I was worried.  I was not myself.  I was beat down and my spirit nearly broken. I finally admitted that I needed some type of help and I didn’t know what to do or even who to talk to.  I went to the one doctor that I knew would listen and be able to help me.

I finally called my OB.  This OB was not the one who delivered Amelia, as I was not happy with her, her staff or her care during my second pregnancy.  I called the OB that delivered Noah, as I adored her and trusted her – despite the 45 minute trip that it will take to go see her.

With a long, heartfelt conversation with her, we decided that it was in my best interest that I start on a low dose of medication to deal with the reality of my diagnosis – post-partum depression and anxiety.  As I was breastfeeding, only one form of medication is indicated, so that is what I began.

I have been on the medication now for 2 weeks and I do feel a little more level than I was a few weeks ago.  Although the dishes still pile up and the laundry baskets are still forever overflowing, I feel that I am able to get through the day without the anxiety that I felt in the overwhelming expectations that I had set for myself.

I was quite surprised to hear how many other moms seem to have the same daunting feelings that I have – those feelings that are just not talked about.  The homes that are in perfect order – aren’t.  Those homes have messes behind every closed door!  Dinner….well….yes. They are still able to have dinner on the table, but I remind myself that their children are not infants anymore.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I wanted to bring a real life story – my own – to the forefront of my articles for this year for one main reason – to help other moms like me.  We are out there.  This is a real problem – talk about it!  Talk to other moms – talk to your doctor – find other people who are dealing with the same feelings you are – and then learn how to manage them.

In doing so, your life will be infinitely better for the new 2012 year.  Be the change in your own life so that you can be a better mom, a better wife, a better you.  Make this that year of change for you too!

Comments

  1. 1
    deanna_boocock says:

    I am so glad that you summoned up the courage to admit that you needed help. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. But that is not realistic, especially after a difficult pregnancy. I only have one daughter but I can remember being exhausted for months after her birth. I can’t even imagine how I would have been if I had a toddler to care for as well. Your children won’t remember the dishes in the sink, and the unfolded clothes, they remember the love and caring you gave them. I encourage you to also consider therapy to help you deal with any unresolved negative feelings toward your daughter and to help put everything in a better, more realistic perspective.

  2. 2

    Your Amelia sounds exactly like my little Amelia – I had a horrible time with PPD too. Good for you for seeking out help. Stick with the meds – it does get better.

  3. 3

    We had a preemie with lots of health issues and difficulties and it was rough. Even though my OB warned me that I was at risk because of our circumstances, I waited over 7 months until my anxiety and depression were crippling before I finally broke down and made an appointment. I am so glad I did! Like you, within two weeks I was feeling more level. Within 6 weeks I was feeling almost like myself again! I did a combination of therapy and medication and between them I was able to face life again and actually began to enjoy being a mother. Now I’m pregnant with #2 and I have promised myself that if I am struggling I will NOT wait to make that call.
    Thank you for sharing – more women to need honestly share about their struggles with PPD so that we all feel less alone and realize we can get help!

  4. 4
    Sari Berry says:

    Thanks for sharing your story – I’m sure it’s not easy to be so open to so many people, but reading this will help more mothers than you know!

  5. 5

    Bless you for your story and prayers that you find the relief and support that you need to get through this time. Every women will relate to this story. Thank you for your honesty.

  6. 6
    jennifer dansberger jones says:

    Post partum depression seems often over looked and pushed aside making the whole situation worse. I know for me I was told that it was just part of having a new baby, that I needed a new schedule/routine or that I wasn’t spending time wisely to get sleep or clean the house. That every child is different and so I just needed to adjust and give it time. None of the comments or brush offs helped so I suffered for a long time,which meant my child did to because I had given up. I’m glad you were strong enough to believe in yourself and take steps to get the help. I’m glad you wrote this. Women need to know it’s not just them.

  7. 7

    Thank you for having the courage to come forward and help other moms. With our first son who was in the NICU due to prematurity I never realized I even had it because I was so consumed with being with him every second I could. This is a topic that is pushed aside and makes new moms feel like bad moms if they have pp. It needs to become a topic that people aren’t afraid to talk about and ask for help

  8. 8

    I hear you, and I understand.

  9. 9

    I know how you feel. PPD and anxiety are difficult. And I also started that BF friendly pill about 2 months ago. As time goes on, it gets easier. I went through the same thing with my first child also. This time, the needs of a toddler and an infant were even harder to juggle. Sleep wasn’t fulfilling or sufficient and a lot of the time, I was so caught up in my thoughts, I couldn’t fall asleep for hours. The house was a constant mess and I could never catch up on anything.
    Now I feel in control of my life, I’m not snapping at my husband or (horrible of all horribles) my toddler. I’m loving my time with my girls and able to take on more and more as I go.

    The biggest indication that things were improving was that we renovated our dining room and I didn’t have a break down about the house being taken over by construction, I was right there swinging a hammer with hubby and we were able to work side by side and enjoy it again! A few months ago I would have been a wreck in that situation.

    I wish you the best and hope someone out there who may be struggling is able to read your article and reach out for the help they need!

  10. 10

    I hope you are feeling better already. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to talk to my doctor about my increasing anxiety- it wasn’t until I was basically unable to function and take care of my children that I realized I wasn’t going to be able to “fix” it on my own.

  11. 11

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. It is because of that courage that others may feel confident to see their own doctor too. Raising children is never easy and it is something that I struggle with daily. I know that there are people around me who support and care about me to make sure I can provide the best care. I look forward to hearing more about your little ones!

  12. 12

    I am so glad some of the moms out there are sharing about their experiences with PPD. I experienced this about 30 years ago when the subject was tabu and people stuffed it. I had a 19 month when my 2nd was born. There was some major marriage issues I could not find a way to discuss with anyone. Holding it in and hiding it makes it 100 times worse. Chemical and hormonal changes and loss of sleep can sure make a mess of a person, female OR male. I have heard some men also go through this too, the stress and responsibilities are tough on all parents.

    So glad you are on the road to recovery! Don’t ever guess what a good mom you are. To YOUR children, you are the BEST and that is all that matters!

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