Let’s talk PPD {Part 1 of 2}

Heads up: Long post ahead.

PhotobucketA good number of people have asked if I am worried about post partum depression and anxiety this go round. Honestly? I wasn’t thinking about it too much. But they had a point to their questions. I need to at least think about it. Get my ducks in a row for round two. So I am making a 2 part series. First part is to explain how I handled it the first time and all my signs that something was wrong. Then the second part will be about what I plan to do this time. So here we go, round one:

Unlike some folks, I was aware of PPD before giving birth. I even volunteered for a PPD study through UNC while I was pregnant but wasn’t selected. Joke is on them. I was a perfect test subject. Neener neener. I knew of baby blues and that sometimes it got worse. But I was/am a chipper ass person. I have never had problems with depression, self confidence, caring what others think and knew how to handle my emotions. Certainly I wouldn’t be predisposed to this…right?

Wrong. It started off normal. New baby, tired, getting the hang of each other. The norm. Then after a couple of weeks, I was teetering. I was drained and stressed. I remember thinking it was really hard but figured it was hard for everyone. Then around the 6 week mark, I went for a walk with some moms from daycare and was so excited to have some others to talk to. One mom* was in that post-baby glow of how “great everything is”. And I felt terrible. I wanted to vent about how he was driving me crazy. How he wouldn’t nap away from me. How I just wanted a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. {i needed twitter, basically}. But I saw this wasn’t the venue. It was tough. Then less and less sleep started to really drain me.

I would start crying and couldn’t stop. This was the real red flag. I am not an overly emotional person. I don’t cry at movies. I am not overly sentimental. I am an analytical person {see engineering school}. I just really don’t cry. But I would be sobbing and saying “I don’t know why I am crying!”. I knew this was when I really needed some help. I got help through my husband and family encouraging me to see my doctor. So my mother in law came to watch Landon and I went to see my family doctor (who I adore..thanks SAS). She was very matter of fact about it and we discussed my options. She pointed me to support groups and even the women’s mental health center of UNC . It was fantastic. I owe her a lot and she has since pointed other patients to my blog and referenced my situation to them (with my consent) who have come in for similar issues.

With all those resources I could deduce MY level of troubles. Not someone telling me “take these pills and all will be well”. She didn’t lump me into the depression bucket and go about her day. She understood that I wanted to still breastfeed and how I wanted to work through this MY way. Analytically, if you will. I needed to understand what was causing this and how I could rationally figure out a treatment for it. It was just hard. I was a new mom. And through all the people I saw and talked to, I learned what I was comfortable with and where I fit in the spectrum**.

Medication wise, she gave me a low dose of Ambien and told me to take it when I needed to just block it all out for a bit. It was about all I felt safe taking and wanting to breastfeed. I was open to heavier stuff if this didn’t work {phase 2 if you will}. And here is where my true support came from: my husband and family. Kevin went and bought an air mattress and set it up in Landon’s room. On those nights I needed to just get a chunk of sleep, I would pop my Ambien and he was on duty. I couldn’t hear Landon and I could just sleep. He would wake me to feed him at a certain point but he would handle the rocking and jiggling in the wee hours so I could decompress. This was my turning point. I stopped crying as much. I could function. I started to get more exercise. My mother in law would take off a half a day per week and come and watch Landon. I could nap or walk or go to the smoothie place and just sit there or just go grocery shopping. If I can offer a “gift” to a new mom anymore, it is this. Just some time for them to decompress. I can hold a screaming baby for a couple of hours just so you don’t have to. I promise. Live and learn.

I think I can safely say I was completely better by the time Landon was 6 months. All signs pointed to this. He was a tough baby. He was very independent. Hell the child was lifting his head for a newborn shoot at 7 days old. He needed things HIS way. So once he was sitting and getting his own toys, he was a different child. I give my mom and Miss Brackett kudos for helping me with this concept. I was apparently the same way and Brackett had seen so many babies, she just knew. And they were right! He was so much happier, slept better and we could bond so much better at that point.

Mann Family

Landon - 6 months

So with all this history, I am starting to piece together my game plan for July and beyond and I will talk about that in Part 2 of my series. Stay tuned.

Note: If you are feeling like I describe above and want to talk to someone, I am here. Please feel free to contact me, Twitter or Facebook. One thing I have learned in the 2.5 years since having Landon is there is a whole world here to help you. I am actively working on sprucing up my “it takes a village” page with more resources.

*To note: me and that mom are now great friends and later on we learned that our kids were just alike and were intense criers…so much so that at daycare they could wake each other with their specific cries. 2 peas in a pod.

**It is funny because Beth Anne and I have discussed this before that we were going through the same things and didn’t know each other at the time. We went to the same support group (different hospitals) and got totally different experiences. I felt like I was too mild of a case to be there and she felt the opposite. Lesson here: don’t be afraid to speak what you feel just because others are different. Those groups are to help you…at any point in the PPD spectrum…you just have to let them help you.

24 Comments

  1. Thanks for writing this! I think PPD is a lot more common than people let on. I had what my doctor called delayed PPD about 10 weeks after Owen was born. I think this was mostly due to A) not being able to breastfeed; B) deciding to be a SAHM; and C) Owen refusing to nap anywhere but on me for the first 5 months of his life. Sleep deprivation also had a lot to do with it.
    I think that if we have another baby, I’ll be more prepared. Although I know each child is different, at least I’ll know how to change a diaper and make a bottle! I also won’t beat myself up if I can’t breastfeed again. That was a big mistake.
    Good luck to you!

  2. I suffered from PPD, after my second child was born and brushed it off at first because my mother was also dying from cancer (that was sad enough) AND to top it off I had a strong willed 3 year old. It didn’t hit me until he was several months old or at least I wasn’t aware till later on. I couldn’t shake it and I was sinking deeper and deeper into sadness. My husband wasn’t as supportive and that made things worse, but I eventually sought help and worked through it in my own way too!
    Now remarried and with a new family I was on guard and spoke openly during and after my pregnancy. I spoke up in the hospital and warned my new husband that I might experience PPD after our child was born. I think having a plan is also part of the process. Knowing what to expect and looking out for the signs really helps. I was lucky not to experience it this time around. I am hoping it will be same for you. Great post and thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I just wrote about PPD this week because I think I am starting to accept that I must have some form of it this time around. My issue is not feeling at ALL half the time. I feel numb etc. I didn’t have it with my now 3year old but after a hard year last year and a very disappointing birth I have been watching for it. And even though my boy is almost 9 months I just haven’t been sure because my symptoms aren’t the ones you see everywhere. But it needs to go. Like now. So all that to agree with you that everyone is different and don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t look like the poster child for ppd.

    • Oh sweetie thanks for coming out too. we are lucky that we have a lot of good resources around here too. Please take advantage of that. And you are right. There is no poster child.

  4. Pingback: Let’s Talk PPD {Part 2 of 2}

  5. Thanks for sharing, I just went through this with my first child who is now 15 months….if it wasn’t for the Internet I think I’d be lost!!

  6. Pingback: Much Better

  7. Kudos to you for recognizing that something was off or not right and doing something about it. It is so hard to admit you’re not yourself. You want to be strong for everyone. You want to have the appearance of the perfect mother/wife/woman. However cheesy it may sound, I think of us as flowers. We will bend. OH, how we will bend with a rainstorm. But we will not break. The sunshine will always break through if we let it.

    • Thanks lady. I am a stubborn problem solver (see engineering degrees)…so when I know something isn’t right…it needs fixin. This one was just something new to try and wrap my head around.

  8. Pingback: What to do About Maternity Leave | Liberating Working Moms

  9. Pingback: 1 Month Until My “Vacation”

  10. Pingback: Wonder Week 19 aka 4 Month Sleep Regression

  11. Pingback: Formula: A Working Mom Reality Check | Liberating Working Moms

  12. Pingback: Formula: You Aren’t Failing Your Kid

  13. Pingback: The Mental Health of Motherhood

  14. thanks for the encouragement! my 4.5 month old boy is the same way — holding his head up since DAY ONE, always a fighter and wanting things his way… since he was born I’ve always thought that most of his frustration is just cuz he can’t do what he wants to do–got better after a couple months when he could use his legs to stand up & get some energy out, etc, but now he’s kinda crazy again… I keep telling myself to hold out until 6 months, so it’s good to hear that reaffirmed!! I as well have sworn to myself that once baby is old enough for it to be feasible, I will give new moms a few hours off as often as I can! I have a supportive community, but it’s still so hard to ask for help knowing that your baby might fuss & cry for someone else… I think it would help if we moms who have been through it already would be more forceful about regularly giving moms of newborns a break (and encouraging other friends, singles, to do the same!)

  15. Pingback: Postpartum Anxiety and Strollers

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published