I think it really began a few months into my pregnancy. I couldn’t tell how much of my mood was attributed to the changes my body was going through or the major life changes I was enduring.
Moving across the country. A husband who travels for work, non stop. Briefly living with my parents in my childhood home while searching for a home to buy. My pregnancy took a turn when at 20-34 weeks I experienced exercise induced fainting. Exercise induced went from a 4 mi walk at 20 weeks to walking into a grocery store by 25 weeks to nearly fainting walking any distance in my home. Pregnancy was anything but enjoyable.
And then there was the guilt associated with those feelings. My son was born via emergency C-Section. Of course I believed I failed him. I struggled to recover from his birth and he thrived arriving with APGAR’s of 9, 10. In the first few weeks of his life I recall the images that would flash in my mind. I would think about throwing myself down the stairs, leaving and never coming back and then I would go the other way and be so manic that I couldn’t even make sense of my own thoughts. I had difficulty eating, thinking, having a normal conversation with anyone. I felt isolated, angry, sad.
At my 6 week post partum appointment, I was given a survey that screens for PPD/PPA. I remember lying on every single answer just to avoid confrontation and fear that my child would be taken from me. At 9 mo PP, finally a NP at my check up sat me down and told me I presented with very serious symptoms. She told me to research for a therapist on my own. I did not. I had plenty to do between a full time job, and caring for my son mostly on my own. Plus the affordability was not there. I stopped pumping milk for my son when he was 11 months old. And I went through it all again and worse this time.
I wish I had been prepared, by anyone. I wish someone would have held onto me tightly and told me I wasn’t crazy.
I wish I had felt more in control. The first year of bonding with my son will never be given back to me. I did not bond well with him in those early weeks/months and suffered with it until he was about 18 mo old.
I never obtained any mental health counseling mostly due to a lack of qualified therapists in the area that I felt confident could help me navigate. I turned to exercise, diet and supplements to address the imbalances. My relationship with my husband struggled dramatically. Now, at 2 years PP, I finally feel like everything might be ok. I just wish I could have gotten to this point in a less messy fashion.