Well, I decided to write a little bit about Postpartum depression.
Not because it is such a cheerful thing, and not because I am so authorized to write about such a serious topic. I write about it, because this was the main reason for me to start this blog, and because my life and my family’s life was so affected by this terrible state, that I have this need of letting it out. And also, if someone else with PPD stumbles upon this writing, and it can be of a little help, well, then it already worth it.
I was diagnosed with PPD shortly after my second child, my son was born.
It was a difficult pregnancy, I was in the 13th week with him, when I was carried to the hospital by an ambulance, with the suspicion of miscarriage. Luckily I didn’t lose the baby, he held on tight to me 🙂 But I had very serious issues with the pregnancy, that left us in big doubt and great worries for long months. The most promising thing a doctor could tell me was that “We have seen babies being born alive after this kind of complications that you have…”. Well, it was not a nice thing to hear. I was sent home with the condition of me staying mainly in bed, trying to relax and taking it easy, not doing any physical work, and was checked upon regularly. The problem was, that I couldn’t really afford myself to relax. You see, I decided to get married and start a family 1800 kms from my home and my family. My husband’s family lives also quite far away from us. At that time I was a full-time student, which I had to give up because of my complications, and most importantly, I had a baby girl at home, at the age of one and a half years. She was sweet and clever, but obviously you cannot accept a baby of her age to understand, mummy needs to relax and take it easy. I had no one to help me, but my husband, who naturally was working, so it was up to me to lift my daughter, to change her diaper, to bathe her, to go for walks with her, to go shopping, to cook, to clean, etc. And also, she started to reach the lovely era of “terrible two”, with screaming, and tantrums, and what else. It was a hard time for me, both physically and emotionally. Finally, weeks passed slowly and the doctors told me, that we are going to be fine, the baby is in no danger anymore, and our beautiful son was born healthy and on time, on a strange, first rainy, then sunny, then snowy (and pretty painful) day.
We were happy as can be, being so lucky to have two beautiful, healthy children, a girl and a boy. My parents came to Denmark, and helped us through the first two weeks of having a new baby. It was lovely with all the help and love they provided.
But they left, and I was alone with a tantrum-toddler and a newborn, who by the way, developed inguinal hernia, something new to worry about… Our days were not as peaceful and idyllic, as I remember them to be after the birth of my daughter. Days were long, and full of fights and screaming, and tantrums, and left me feeling that I am not enough to take care of two so young children. My reactions were not normal, my reactions were bad. I shouted a lot with my very -very young daughter, I became so angry sometimes that I had to leave the room, and after that I felt guilty for not being a good mum, started to cry, to feel sorry for myself, suffering from panic attacks, calling my husband at his work, begging him, to come home, because I cannot take it anymore. These things happened almost daily. After a while, despite the group therapy I got into, I felt so bad about my behaviour, that I started to think, that my husband and my children would be better off, if I died… I seriously considered suicide. Many times I locked myself in the bathroom, thinking about the best way to end my own life… It is even terrible to write about this now, and I feel so ashamed… I don’t know, what kept me from doing it. Probably the sound of my daughter or husband from outside of the bathroom door. Because, despite everything, I still loved them very much, more than life.
I went back to the doctor, and I got some medicine. This was the first time that I felt, that all the things that are happening are not my fault. That I am sick, not crazy. After a while we doubled the doses, because it was not helping much to begin with. In the meanwhile, my behaviour was still terrible, my husband couldn’t understand it (I don’t blame him for it), and we got into a lot of fights. He even said, that he is disappointed in me as a mother. It was hard to take. Our marriage was in crisis, all “thanks” to PPD.
I started to see a personal therapist, as I went along with the medical treatment. Slowly-slowly I felt better, but it took long months, before I became myself again, before our family life got back on track. It took a very long time, a lot of work, and I often felt, that I will never get over it.
I never kept my condition a secret. I always sought for help (which is, by the way, very important: if you feel bad, seek for help, for god’s sake!!!). I talked a lot with other mothers about it, mainly mothers with PPD. Obviously talking about it alone couldn’t cure me, but I somehow felt better, by being understood, by hearing that others go through exactly the same things and feelings as I do. I read a book. I read the book that the brave Brooke Shields wrote about her experiences after the birth of her first daughter. Many may argue the literary value of this book, but for those people I have some news: this book was not written to win the Nobel prize. It was written for mothers like me. Brooke Shields was so honest and so vulnerable in this book, and I was so surprised, that a Hollywood superstar, on the other side of the Globe was going through exactly the same as me. She was not giving advises, she was not trying to save the world. I admire her most for the thoughts at the end of the book, when she writes about, how she would like to have another baby. And, as we all know it, she did have another baby. For me it is the bravest thing, because I feel that I would never be able to risk to go through this living hell again. I have always dreamed of a big family, 3-4 children, but now, I dread what could happen next time. I will never want to put my family, my husband, my young children through this again. Ever.
Right now, I am fine. Still under medication, but slowly reducing the doses. I think, I start to be a good mother again, like the one I used to be before my second pregnancy. I have surplus I can give to my kids. We found love again with my husband. We are going to have a wonderful life. Because, how unbelievable it may sound to those suffering from PPD, it really does end!
I learned how important it is, to concentrate on the small, happy things in life. So, that is what my blog concentrates on, helping me to get better end better. There will always be bad days and sad days, and fights, and tantrums, but this blog will always be my happy place. Poppy will go happy 🙂