Thursday, August 2, 2018

The second time around


 It happened. The thing that I thought was my biggest fear, happened. I got postpartum depression with baby #2, after having it with baby #1. My whole pregnancy I lived in anxiety of my anxiety. The idea of battling through the darkest days of my life again petrified me. The thought of forgetting an entire year again made me sick. How was I going to handle this?
 I noticed about 4 weeks in that I was overly anxious. I was afraid of really illogical things, and felt off. My patience was short, and my heart wasn't "full." The lack of sleep and stress of breastfeeding was a huge trigger for me. I'd wake up in a panic in the middle of the night to chug water so my milk supply didn't drop. I was constantly stressed out about my milk supply.  I would stand in the shower crying, and bargaining with a higher power I didn't believe in to keep my supply up. While I tried to get my supply up, I gained 10 pounds. I was a mess. Weight gain was a new trigger for depression that I had never experienced. Getting pregnant after losing 70 pounds is a mental beat down. I was consistently worried about the scale. I'd weigh myself 10-15 times a day, and just cry. For four weeks I let this funk continue, even though my husband asked me how I was feeling daily. I didn't lie to him or myself, but I didn't think I was at the point of needing help. Finally I yelled at myself.
       WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You literally advocate everyday for other people's mental illness treatment, and here you are going untreated.
  I was a hypocrite, and that too made me anxious. I called my doctor that afternoon. I explained that I was still breastfeeding, and that I needed something. The original plan was for a medication I took only when needed. They called it in, and CVS was out of it. I called back and spoke with my doctor. She really wanted me to take a daily medication. She listened to all of my concerns, and answered my questions. Our narrative was open, and comfortable. I got a Zoloft prescription and called my therapist. I wasn't ashamed to get help. I wasn't mad, or bitter. I was frustrated that yet again I was fighting a battle I had hoped was over. I began my doses as directed and oddly found peace with the fact that I was now a 2x Warrior Mom. (A Warrior Mom is what we call women who have battle a postpartum mood disorder.)  It wasn't like winning a gold medal, or award but it was apart of me.
 I was so afraid that I wouldn't know what to do. How would I handle having Postpartum depression and anxiety again? Over the passed 3 years I've been helping people identify and treat their mental illnesses. I've learned all about postpartum mood disorders, and everything I could about regular mood disorders. I took a MHFA course.  My education saved me from myself. With the support of my "team" and my knowledge I was able to pull myself from the darkness. I'm not drowning, or denying. Tot's first year of life with be burned into my memory. I will get to to be present, 100%.
 I was handling it this time. I was embracing the fact that I had a mental illness, instead of not so gracefully sweeping it under the rug. I was open, honest, and real about my struggle. I still am. I had two beautiful baby boys. I had one traumatic labor, and one perfectly smooth one. I have had a postpartum mood disorder twice, and for that I am stronger.
 For all of you out there worried about a postpartum mood disorder I encourage you to educate yourself. Learn about all that you can. Advocate for proper care, and don't be afraid to reach out to your doctor. Check in on your friends, and loved ones. The more we have an open narrative about mental health, the more likely we are to end the stigma.

To my Mamas and the Dads that are struggling, please reach out. I hear you, feel you, and I've been there. You are never alone.

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