Baby Blues vs. PPD

by Mrs. BWF on July 30, 2012

This is a guest blog post by Jennie from More Than Rubies.

“Here is my blog post on my experience with PPD.  After I posted it, I had a lot of moms tell me they didn’t even know they had PPD until they read it, and that it helped them to talk to their husbands.  It’s brought a lot of good speaking about my struggle, so I am glad you are also – you reach a much wider reader base than I do!” ~Jennie

Post Partum Depression

My son is 9 months old, and I am still not entirely sure I am ready to talk about my struggle with PPD – although I am healing.  However, being that I am expecting number 2 in a few months AND I’ve talked to a few other moms who said they would benefit by a post about it, I am putting it out there.  I am going to start with some medical facts and information about PPD and then I’ll talk about my personal experience.

(As a disclaimer, when I get to sharing, I might say things that will offend people who I know.  I will undoubtedly have people saying “I didn’t know” or “I’m sorry”.  This post is NOT trying to make anyone feel bad, it’s trying to help other moms who are struggling. Please don’t take this personally.)

Postpartum depression is a serious illness that occurs in women after childbirth – and can occur after a stillbirth or miscarriage as well.

Postpartum depression IS NOT the “baby blues”.  Many women have the “baby blues” – feeling tired, overwhelmed, weepy, moody.  Baby blues go away in a couple of weeks. PPD does not.

Postpartum depression is hormonal.  It is not situational. It is not your fault. It is due to a hormonal imbalance.

You have a greater chance of developing PPD if:

o   You’ve had depression or PPD before

o   You have poor support from your partner or family

o   Marriage or financial problems

o   You have a sick or colicky baby

o   You have a lot of other stress in your life

o   Someone in your family has had PPD or depression or anxiety disorders

You may have PPD if you feel:

o   Very sad, hopeless, angry, empty or anxious

o   Lose pleasure in everyday things, have no desire to do things you used to love

o   Not feeling hungry, no appetite, losing weight

o   Having trouble sleeping

o   Like hurting yourself or baby

o   Suicidal or harmful thoughts

o   No interest in your baby OR a sincere anxiety when your baby is away from you

o   Withdrawing from family and friends

o   Feeling worthless or guilty

o   Crying a lot

o   Short temper or inability to control your temper

It’s important to note that these symptoms can happen a couple days after your baby is born or they can happen a couple weeks after.  I didn’t start to see my signs until about 6 weeks.

If you think you have PPD, please tell someone you trust.  You are not a bad mom for your feelings.  You need help.

If you know me in real life, or if you read my blog, you know that I had a lot of extreme circumstances after Matthew was born.  My labor and delivery was very tough – and while everyone was safe and healthy, it was emotionally disappointing.  Ten days later my Dad passed away unexpectedly and never got to meet my son.  When I was 4 weeks postpartum, I had emergency gallbladder surgery and what was supposed to be an outpatient procedure turned into a 3 day hospital stay.

At my 6 week postpartum visit with my midwife, I told her everything was fine. I told her I was dealing with everything fine.  But I honestly thought I was.  It wasn’t until I started noticing how often I cried, how often the things people did (or didn’t do) angered me, how much I snapped at my husband.  My doula kept telling me to get out; she kept pushing lactation groups and going to the park.

I specifically remember the day I knew I needed to get help.  Scott was at work and I sat on the couch planning how I was going to leave him.  I was a wreck, and he was a saint.  He should not have to be married to someone like me, and have to deal with the drama of my family.  The only thing that kept me from leaving was I couldn’t decide if I should take the baby (would break his heart) or leave the baby (would be too much for him to handle).

I also had several times of wishing that something would happen so I could go back to the hospital and have pain medication because that was the only way I could stop feeling.  I had a bottle of Vicodin on my nightstand calling my name.  I wanted to check out.

We had moved to San Diego only months earlier, I had two friends.  I couldn’t tell them how I felt.  I couldn’t call them and say “Please come over and sit with me, unshowered, in my pajamas, that I’ve been wearing for 3 days, and listen to me cry.”  I had a few close friends from our old town that came to visit, but even then, I didn’t know how to tell them what I was thinking and feeling.  I was a little bit mad that people didn’t just know.

I was going to a small women’s group at church, and all the ladies promised and promised they’d be here to help me, knowing I didn’t have family around.  Two of them brought meals.  Once they brought by flowers. And I never heard from them again. Not a call. Not an email.  Nothing.

The “Let me know if I can do anything” and “I’m praying for you” promises I got from people began to come back empty and when I needed things the most I didn’t know who was really my friend, and who was just saying it on Facebook because it was the right thing to do.

I finally decided to join a breastfeeding support group because breastfeeding was important to me and I wasn’t going to give that up.  I walked into the room and the Lactation Consultant asked “Does anyone have any questions?”  She called on me, and I burst into tears.  I sat in a room full of strangers and felt more comfortable sharing my heart’s deep pain than I had in months.  Going to that group every week was one of the things that kept me going.

Thankfully, once I reached out and decided I needed help, I had wonderful support from my midwife, Matthew’s pediatrician, and our doula.  I saw a therapist, and eventually decided I needed to take some medication to get me over the hump.  I am still going to counseling, although I have stopped taking medication with the pregnancy.  Matthew’s pediatrician encouraged my breastfeeding and helped me find a medication that was safe for breastfeeding (Zoloft – for those of you who might want to know).

The most important factor in my healing is my husband.  If he had not been so understanding, so willing to help and so strong I could have never coped.  If you think you have PPD, talk to your husband.  Please be honest with him.  If he doesn’t understand at first, which he likely won’t, have him read some articles or blogs about it.

If you are reading this and relating to any of the things I talked about, number one please do not feel ashamed.  You are not a bad mom. You are not a bad wife. The dishes can wait.  Ask someone else to pick up milk. It’s okay to let things slip for a few weeks.  Your health is more important than perfection.  Please find at least one person, other than your husband, who you can talk to honestly about how you feel.  Find a support group – there are plenty out there.  If you can’t find one, find an online group.  Email me. Seriously.  Get out of the house.  At least once in a while, take a shower (even if it’s 3 minutes long and the baby is in the bouncer outside the shower while you do it).  Put on a bra and some mascara. It will help you feel better.  Take a walk, go to the park. Find a library story time or a mom café.

Ask your husband to budget some money for you to get your hair done, get a pedicure or buy a new pair of jeans.  Feeling ugly does not help! If you don’t want to leave your baby long enough to do those things, get a Moby wrap and sit in the pedi chair with baby strapped to you.  If you want to be away from baby for an hour, it’s ok!

If you are reading this and you see signs of PPD in someone you love, please try to understand that YOU cannot fix postpartum depression.  And it’s likely that if you say “Um, you’re kind of moody, I think you have PPD” it’s not going to go over well.  No one could have convinced me I had depression.  Even the psychiatrist.  I sat in her office saying “I am not depressed.” She said “Do you feel angry?”  Yes. “Do you feel guilty?” Yes.  “Okay, those are signs of depression”  No, no, I’m not depressed.

Please don’t tell her to “think about all the good things she has going” or “this is normal, all moms feel overwhelmed” or “just relax”.  Those things sound really nice in your head, I know, but telling them to a hormonally imbalanced mama… not a good idea.

Try these:  “What specifically are you overwhelmed about?”  “Can you find a group of other new moms to hang out with?”  “Here is a few links I found about being a new mom – maybe they will help.”  “Can I bring you dinner/help with the baby/run an errand for you/meet you for coffee?”  (I know it’s tempting to say “If you need anything let me know” but I heard that so many times I didn’t even know how to respond any more.  I preferred when people gave me examples of what they could do for me, because I really didn’t know if they were offering to do my chores or “pray for me”… big difference).

If you live too far away from someone to help them – send a card (like a real one with a stamp, not a Facebook message), send a Starbucks card or dinner certificate or set up a pizza delivery and let her know it’s coming, call, send flowers, send an old photo (“Hey, came across this! Remember these days!  Love you lots”).  These things mean “I am thinking of you enough to not just click on your Facebook page.”

I want to add quickly that I did have a few good friends who cleaned my house, folded my laundry, treated us to dinner and helped with the baby.  There were those who stayed with me in the hospital, sat with my son while my pain meds made me dysfunctional, let me cry on their shoulder and prayed with me when I openly admitted I wasn’t talking to God.  There were those who came by with a coffee or a Coke, who took walks with me, or just let me yell at them because I was angry in general and never took it personally.  I wasn’t as alone as I felt, and I appreciate those people and know them by name.  There were those who disappointed me for sure, and it’s much easier to gripe than be grateful, but please know that I appreciate you.

To close, yes, those who have had PPD once before are more likely to have it again.  But this time, I have a plan. I will not let it creep on me.  I will conquer PPD and I will be a happy mommy!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine J July 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Thank you for sharing. I struggle to share my story, almost 5 years after my son. I am thankful I had a plan and didn’t need it this time around. Best wishes on the upcoming birth.

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Elizabeth Zeigler July 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Thank You for this. It means more than you may realize.

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rachel July 30, 2012 at 10:10 pm

thank you for this. i am days away from my ‘due date’ and i am petrified. i struggled with depression for the first half of my pregnancy and almost let it beat me. i’m nervous that it will hit me again when she gets here. this helped me to read, and helped me to feel less like a monster because of how i felt and reacted to things at the beginning. thank you so much. i hope everything goes amazing for you this time around.

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KL Goode July 31, 2012 at 4:51 am

Thank you so much for you article. I love that it is so raw, simple, direct and mostly useful. I am a midwife of 30 years and have attended nearly 1000 homebirths. This will be very helpful for myself and many others. May I ask you – What is your plan this time around? Where is your blog?

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to help those with PPD and those who care about them.

Much Love,
KL Goode

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Jennie July 31, 2012 at 11:40 am

Thank you everyone for the responses. Makes me feel like it is worth it to share my story. KL – this time I started taking my encapsulated placenta right away. Also my husband and I are on the look out for symptoms, he asks how I am doing a lot. I also have a good support system in church and my MOPS group. I gave up my expectations of people and thinking I deserved more help from family. It’s a lot of mindset changes, but I’m prepared to treat it before it gets out of control.My blog is http://www.jennieandscott.com/jennie

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L July 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Thank you for sharing. My daughter is 3 1/2 months and only recently have I started feeling “normal” and happy. I didn’t even realize I was depressed. Mostly just felt numb and disconnected from my baby. I just didn’t know how to feel. I’ve had depression in the past and had some during my first trimester so I thought I was prepared but this wasn’t what I’d expected. I did take placenta pills which I believe helped. And even if physiologically they did not, in my mind they did which is what matters most. Thank you again.

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Nicole July 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I have a history of depression, though I’ve been extremely lucky to never suffer PPD after any of my three births. I’ve done much reading though because I know I am at increased risk. Every woman says “dont say x, y, z” but seldom do I see suggestions for what TO say. So thank you for that. When my friends and family start having children (PPD or not) I am going to use these suggestions. Thank you.

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Ameisha August 5, 2012 at 8:55 am

Oh my goodness. Thanks for posting this. I don’t have children yet but Ive struggled with depression ever since I was 14. I’m 20 now and my husband and I have lost three babies (not because of my health but other complications). I have had unsurmountable PPD and my husband tries SO hard to understand but I know he doesn’t. He tries to comfort me but he doesn’t know how. I’ll show him this. I’m actually so desperate to not have PPD and I’ve had so many failures with anti depression meds that I’ve planned to do placentiophage with our next pregnancy.

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sam August 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Jennie— Such a well written article. Very honest and helpful to so many women; funny too! I love the picture above of the 3 of you :)

I totally understand this feeling. I had PPD up until my son turned 2. I’m now 8 months pregnant again and feel as though I’ve had an emotionally rough pregnancy. It’s so hard to know if you do have PPD. You think it’s because you’re tired,or stressed or feeling ugly but it’s SO much deeper than that. My husband would say,”are you depressed,maybe you should see someone.” He’s not very sensitive when it comes to emotions (lucky me),so I would get SO angry at him! I felt so alone,wouldn’t leave my house,wouldn’t shower and hated the idea of having to eat.Such a horrible feeling. Hopefully this time around I won’t have it but if i do will “see someone”.

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Rebecca October 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thank you Jennie for posting this. I am a student midwife and don’t have children but the words you have spoken will def help me to help women I come across in my professional life but equally as important it will help me to help my friends. I am guilty of saying ‘I am here if you need anything’, I’ve honestly thought my words will be taken with sincerity as intended but I’ve not realised that this may not be the case. Sometimes I’ve worried that I maybe encroaching on ‘family time’ or my suggestion could be interpreted as ‘you can’t cope’. I really love the suggestions you have made and I will def use them.
I wish you all the happiness and the best of luck with your family. You are inspirational. Thank you xx

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Kimberly October 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Did the placenta help, Jennie?
I too had PPD with my last two kids and this time around am taking the placenta in hopes it might help.
Did you feel it helped you? Did you need meds again?

Thanks for sharing your story.

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Sarah November 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Sometimes I feel depressed, and other times I am perfectly happy and well! My son is almost 3months old and I’d do anything for him, but sometimes I feel as if my family isn’t enough. My fiancé gives us the world and would go anything I ask if him, but yet sometimes I just can’t shake it and I have a desire to leave although I know deep down I love him and our son more than anything! I cry a lot over nothing am I get very angry about nothing in particular. I don’t know if I have ppd or if I just have an anger issue. Please help me. I haven’t been able to speak with my fiancé upon this because I just don’t know if I am depressed nor not. Thank you for your time! I hope all is going well with you know, and your new bundle of joy is just that! A bundle if joy!

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Erin January 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Wow, thanks for posting this. I’m in tears writing this because I had no idea until about an hour ago just how bad my PPD really is. I just thought I was being dramatic and selfish and basically my happy life before kids was over. I am going to try to find a support group asap.

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sumy January 24, 2013 at 11:08 pm

i have definitely the same feelings. I moved to Sweden 3 months ago and have a 45 days baby girl. Have had so many problems with my husband and planning to divorce. I cannot stop crying and feeling the ugliest woman in the world. I told my midwife about it but she said it will become better in 2 3 weeks, i thought it would. But it did not. Having no friends no family members in this country made it even worse. My husband is always blaming me of creating problems out of nothing. Difficult to confess but I think i am going crazy. I have never been more hopeless before!

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Kristi January 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I’m going through the EXACT same thing….I have a 10 month old and will be having my 2nd baby in 1 1/2-2 months. I struggle EVERYDAY, I have 2 sinks FULL of dishes, the kitchen counters have dishes piled on them, there is laundry EVERYWHERE!! And some days, I just sigh and ignore it all. (not my son) But man, I just want to sleep ALL day, I plan on encapsulating my placenta, and I’m hoping that will help with my PPD. If not, then I will be talking to my doctor about antidepressants. I’ve brought my PPD up to my midwife, but like my fiance’ , I don’t think she really HEARD what I was saying. I’m definitely going to KEEP bringing it up to them both. I will KEEP telling them, until they hear me. My fiance’ just thinks I’m whiny, or I’m just trying to “Nest” (I HATE that word) and that’s why I’m upset about every thing….*sigh* That’s not it at all….I’m upset because I feel like I’m a horrible mom for dreaming about leaving my baby, and going to Hawaii, or even just going and staying at a hotel for a week…..just getting away….not having to get up in the middle of the night to change a diaper and make a bottle….to SLEEP through the night. To think about putting baby #2 up for adoption because I worry that she won’t get enough attention because of #1, even though I know she will….they both will, I know I can do it, I just will need help. (not from MIL-she will just take #1 and probably not want to give him back-she’s the world’s greatest mom *rolls eyes*)
Thank you for sharing your struggle. It helps others to realize they(we) aren’t crazy for feeling the way they(we) do.

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Megan January 25, 2013 at 12:57 am

Thank you so much for sharing your story…it has brought me to the realization that I mostly likely have PPD and I don’t feel so alone that I to have been dealing with so much emotions! Time to make a plan and bet PPD.

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Kathleen January 25, 2013 at 6:43 am

I feel like I wrote this. I remember having the EXACT same thoughts about leaving my husband because he deserved better, only the way I thought about leaving was to kill myself. I kept rationalizing NOT doing it because I felt like he would be too tired having to work and care for a newborn alone if I killed myself. That was the only thing that kept me from driving my truck into the river. I conquered PPD with the help of therapy and meds. I too am pregnant again, and this time I’m not leaving ANY stone unturned. I’m getting my placenta encapsulated and have already told my neuropsychiatric that I’m expecting again and to be on stand by for me!

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Sara January 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

Very interesting read. I had a miscarriage 2 and a half years ago, and I went through all of this for about 9 months afterwards. At the time I thought it was just part of the grieving process but I see now that it was largely PPD. God helped me through it, but I never went through such a horrible time in my life. I felt alone, empty, forsaken, and I cried almost every single day. My husband was very kind and loving; I don’t know what I would have done without him because there was no one else of the many in my church or friend or family who understood or seemed to care. I now have a seven month old and I had a minor bout of the baby blues, but even considering my hard labor and having to transfer the baby from home to hospital after he was born, I have had no PPD, and I thank God. In the future I will not judge other women who go through this! I know how much it would have meant to me to even have had one person (besides my husband) who genuinely cared.

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Angela January 27, 2013 at 2:17 am

Thank you for sharing this. I suffered from depression then PPD with each of my 3 babies. The suffering has been unbearable so I am NEVER having another child again. After my church taught me that the most important achievement a woman can make is to be a loving mother, I thought there was something wrong with me that I just wasn’t feeling any of that maternal bliss that everyone speaks of. I tried and tried for 9 years but have learned the hard way that motherhood just isn’t my scene. My ex husband is raising the kids now and they’re going to be all right. Now I’m a certified personal trainer and a yoga instructor because my bliss is exercise endorphins.

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Julie February 1, 2013 at 8:30 am

After baby #2 (baby 1 was 2 months from turning 3 when 2 was born), I had PPD. Hubby bore a large brunt, yes, but baby 1 bore the largest brunt, I think. We were home, all I did was cry and yell (at least it seems that way in my memory -babes are now 15, 18, 21).
The day I realized I had to accept the help my doctor had been begging me to take was the day I threw a 1-quart saucepan across the living room, knocking down pictures…and my 3yod, standing right next to me, didn’t even flinch. Well, she’d been listening for like ten months…
I picked up the phone immediately. got drugs. OMG that was difficult to accept!!
With baby 3, I walked in the house crying…and didn’t really stop for many, many months, tho I didn’t wait as long to accept help. My mom and husband would never have allowed me to go that long anyway. They would have probably said been there-done that…not waiting that long again!
And, yes, I had the proverbial world by the tail -plenty of money, brand new house, great hubby/family, stayed at home, blah blah blah…doesn’t matter.
Admitting/accepting…
((hugs)) to anyone suffering.

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amy wilkie March 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm

wow this sounds like me… have i been struggling for seven months and not realised… except i have eaten myself to death… 45 kilos heavier…thank you xx

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Alexandra Elísabet March 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

Thank you for a beautifully honest article and thank you very much for clearing the difference between PPD and the baby blues. Really hope you get to experience your new baby without PPD.

I have to girls, a 4 year old and a 4 week old, and it would have helped a lot to have known about the baby blues with my first! I wanted to cry so badly the first week but not because I was feeling bad I just wanted to cry, let things out and clear the air, just cry to feel refreshed and able to move on because it’s a very emotional experience to give birth but i didn’t feel like I had the right to cry, i couldn’t justify the need to cry.(if I had known about the baby blues i’d have cryed no doubt!) How would the woman I was sharing a room with feel? would the midwifes come and ask if I was ungrateful? (i was in the hospital for 4 days because of an infection and a fever, never felt any pain but had a high fever the first 24hours and looking back it had a lot to do with the first experience of my daughter) I have never felt comfortable crying in front of anyone, why should it have started then just finish giving birth. I can’t help but think but if I had just let myself cry there and let the emotions out would I just had the baby blues and not PPD because in the past few years I have realised if i lock my emotions inside I get really really cold, unloving, short tempered and my only focus is on duties; wash baby, dress baby, feed baby, make dinner, wash dishes and etc. there was no love in my actions and if something messed up my list or timings I got really mad and the day was ruined. I suffered from PPD until my daughter was 2,5 years old, just admitting it helped a lot and I started to do things to nurcher our relationship like really giving myself time to put her to bed. I would help and teach her how to get undressed and then get dressed in her pj’s, let her pick teddy bears she wanted to cuddle with and then sit on her bed, hold her and sing her a lullaby gently lowering my voice and putting her in the bed before I stopped singing ( I sang for 2-3 minutes) and then told her ‘Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite and mommy loves you’. The last bit took a long time to come naturally but it really help me to accept her and embrace the love I had for her. My first pregnancy was a fairytale and so very positive but the second one so very negative and really difficult but no signs of PPD yet!! :D My tricks are; I’m not a supermommy, things can wait, loving comes first! If I’m having an emotional day and just want to scream and blame somebody for everything and nothing I check a couple of things; did I eat any good food today? -if not go strait to eating it fixis half the proplem; When was the last time I showered and put on clean clothes? -being unclean can be irritating; When was the last time I left the house? -alone or with the baby I just go outside, sometimes I just take a drive around the block; And the last thing I just do, don’t matter the last time I did it always makes me feel better. Go in the bathroom and freshen up! brush my teeth, comb my hair and do something nice to it, put on mascara, some blush and jewellery. Also I do some housework, because if I did accomplish even the smallest thing I can’t beat myself down at end of the day for doing nothing. And last but not least, I try to keep myself calm all day, if I’m starting to feel irritated I go to the bathroom and take a long ‘pee’ because letting the temper get the better of me ruins everything. Thank you again for the article!

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Eddy February 5, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Thank you for sharing. I am trying to reach out but I feel so alone. I have a 10th month old and I’m 8 weeks pregnant. My last child died 4 yrs ago. When I tell those close to me how I feel I feel like they blow it off like “of course you feel that way” with grieving the loss of my son and just everyday stressors, they get it but they don’t. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to enjoy my daughter. I feel worthless. I just feel alone though and nobody knows how much darkness I feel. I pray I hope I can come out of this. My husband doesn’t understand me at all and he’s losing patience with me. How can my marriage survive this.

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Nicole Dunn February 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Thank you for writing this. It is everything that I went through but have never really been able to fully put into words. You are a blessing to myself and to so many others!

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Meg February 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Thank you for sharing. I have a 3 week old beauty and recently went for my 2 week check up last week. I was open about how I was feeling but was told by the dr oh that’s normal. It’s just the baby blues you usually don’t get ppd until about 6 weeks after. I was confused still am and thankfully I can talk to my husband about this. He’s my rock and when he knows I’m overwhelmed he does whatever he can. Being a first time mom is hard and more so when my family isn’t very active in my life and friends are so far away.
Thanks again for sharing it helped me know where else I could go for help.

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April February 11, 2014 at 7:21 pm

I broke down into tears reading your article thank you for sharing this my daughter is 6 weeks old and I needed to read this I’m married I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful healthy kids yet I feel so alone and miserable my husband has asked so many times what’s wrong and I just can’t talk about it

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Molly February 11, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I would like to thank you for sharing! I am struggling with it, but with Zoloft and my husbands support it got better. He actually took a whole month off so I could cope. It makes me feel more normal to read how other women felt how I did/still do sometimes. Thank you again!

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Jim February 12, 2014 at 7:24 am

With my wife’s past mental health issues I know that PPD is a real threat to her. Having a some understanding of how it may be for her from the other side of the disorder is very helpful. We to already have a plan in place and a good network of doctors and our doula is very attentive to this issue. We have found that knowing what the issue is happens to be the most important part of getting help. Thanks for helping to highlight PPD to the interweb :)

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Stephanie February 12, 2014 at 8:25 am

First of all thank you soo much for this. Honestly, it’s so nice to read others points of view. Whilst it’s horrible to see other having gone through it, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone…it’s nice to know I’m not alone, because I really felt like I was.

I had PPD. But didn’t really notice it until I felt better about 10 months after my sons birth. His birth wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for, he was 3 weeks early and we spent a week in hospital because my waters were broken too long and we both got an infection, he was also extremely jaundice (it turned out it was also prolonged for about 3 weeks). The first week was bad, I constantly cried but didn’t think much of it as I thought that was normal. The doctors didn’t help either, no one helped me feel better. It was hard as my partner and family couldn’t come in very often so I was alone, it was also a week before christmas that he was born (we came home Christmas Day) which didn’t help as I longed to go home with family. Seeing them go would upset me so much, I even had thoughts of taking my son and leaving hospital but I knew he needed to be there.

When we finally got home it was awful, I mean awful. I would never wish the first 2 months we had on anyone. We slept less than what is deemed healthy for even new parents, my son cried alllll day every day, we spent so much time at the doctors or hospital each week that we may has well lived there and it was just awful. In the end he has something called MSPI, it’s an intolerance to milk and soy proteins and can make children extremely poorly (if anyone is reading this and has a baby with an undiagnosed rash, spots, vomits a lot, colic that just does not go away, poorly looking stools etc….get help. Do your research and if you really think something is wrong, peruse it until you feel it is dealt with accordingly.). This wasn’t diagnosed until he was 8 weeks old and probably would have been prolonged if it wasn’t for me doing some serious research online as the doctors were useless. I had to argue with them just to prescribe the special milk he is on. That was another thing, I hated that he was on formula. I still hate it and I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m a tiny bit jealous of anyone who is able to breastfeed. It was something I wanted so badly, I wanted that for my baby and he was so jaundice, he literally didn’t feed. He was tube fed for a week, and we struggled to bottle feed him once we came home. Breast wasn’t an option as it was too tiring for him, he would suck once and fall asleep, we also couldn’t see how much he had taken which was important with his jaundice. I tried to re-lactate when he was about 5 weeks but struggled and it only made me more upset. I agree, breast is best for babies but sometimes I think there is too much pressure on it. I still feel like a failure, even after everything I tried to make it work. When we finally had a diagnosis things got a bit better, but it was still hard even for my partner who was having a hard time too. PPD isn’t just for women, men can get it too. We both struggled to pick one another up as we both felt our lowest and whilst our families are fantastic, I don’t feel like they understood. They still don’t understand the seriousness of his intolerance and give him wrong foods from time to time making it hard on him and us.

PPD is something that I think should be talked about more. I was afraid to say anything about it at doctors visits and hospital trips as it’s a scary concept and I felt that if doctors knew they would question my parenting abilities. I love my son, he was never in any form of danger if anything I was overprotective, but I felt like if I said I was having a hard time social services would be involved and it would make things worse. Its silly I know, but all I wanted was support not to have my parenting abilities questioned. So I didn’t say anything. There needs to be more groups, more support from doctors and hospitals in the uk. It’s such a misunderstood concept for people (including me before I knew) that people get judged or forced to take medication instead of talking to someone first and trying to resolve any problems that may be able to be fixed.

Anyway, I have gone off on a tangent. Thank you so much for this. It helps me to feel not like a failure, this can happen to lots of women and it’s something that should be talked about. Getting the word out for other women (and men) is really very important to both overcome this ourselves and for others to see and get help too.

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Kelly February 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Thank you for writing and sharing this. Depression is so isolating. Reading the risk factors and symptoms and checking off every single one of each strangely helps. It’s affirming. My experience with postpartum depression, in which I’m still fully entrenched: http://thismomgig.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/postpartum-depression-feeling-bad-for-feeling-bad/

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Dez September 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Your story sounds just like mine! Rough delivery, my baby was taken to nicu for three days of “observation”, and I had my gallbladder out when she was seven weeks old. I didn’t want to hold her and only did when she nursed (thank God I breastfed or the poor baby may have never gotten snuggles). I took a thousand pictures of her sitting in her bouncer, probably to “prove” to myself that I was a good mom. I didn’t shower, didn’t eat, and rarely got dressed. I never did get help but it slowly got a little better around her birthday.
Now I’m pregnant again and terrified. A newborn is easy enough to deal with. Their physical needs don’t take a ton of thought and they do sleep a lot throughout the day. But I’ll have a newborn and a two year old. I don’t know what I’ll do if I slip into depression again. I’ll have to acknowledge it this time. I just hope I see it in time!

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