By Natascha Jaffa
I didn't know I was suffering from postpartum depression.
I'd had my daughter a few weeks before, but while I felt physically healthier, I found myself sinking in every other aspect of my life.
I didn't want people to come over to my house to see the baby. I wouldn't let my husband anywhere near my newborn, and it felt like all I was doing with my four-year-old was screaming.
I spent my days deep cleaning every inch of my house then crumbling into a pile of sobs when the baby woke up. My entire life had turned into a rollercoaster I couldn't stop.
I tried reaching out to my mother-in-law. She ignored me.
I tried talking to my husband. He didn't believe depression was anything more than a cry for attention (at the time--he's since come to a different understanding and I still love him. Lol.).
At my six-week follow-up appointment, I mentioned my feelings to my OB/GYN, and his response? "Why didn't you call me?"
In that moment, it was suddenly my fault I didn't realize what was happening. My fault that I didn't have the right education on postpartum depression so I could self-monitor or have an effective conversation with my husband. It was my fault I was in this mess and that I'd let this happen.
(Not really. Because my brain--and yours--is going to lie to you when you're suffering from depression)
That night, as dejection and hopelessness consumed me, I fantasized about suffocating my newborn with a pillow. For the first time ever, my thoughts scared me.
It was then I realized this wasn't just an adjustment period, and I had to admit that I wasn't managing. But, more importantly, I couldn't rely on my immediate family to help. I wasn't going to get their support because they literally didn't understand what I was going through.
It took months to unravel my feelings of worthlessness and accept that I needed outside help. Of course, I'd done my due diligence in knowing what postpartum depression was before giving birth and weighing the chances I would fall victim to it.
But when you're in it, you can't see anything except that dark hole you want to get out of.
I gradually got better. I got more sleep. I eliminated foods from my diet that made me feel worse. I drank more water and got more exercise. But the best thing I did for myself? I got support from another mom (not my mother-in-law). Just the simple act of us taking our babies on walks after the bus picked up our kindergartners and talking changed everything for me. I felt seen.
If my story resonates with you or if you think it someone you love is experiencing postpartum depression, please don't rely on other people to point it out to you.
👉🏻 Make the call to SAMHSA's hotline.
👉🏻 Make the appointment to see a therapist or a psychiatrist.
👉🏻 Reach out to a trusted friend, your OB/GYN, or talk to your significant other. And if that doesn't work, try someone else.
👉🏻 Advocate for yourself.
Because you are worthy. You are loved. You have value despite what your brain might be trying to tell you. And, no, we are not better off without you. Don't give up.
Join our Momunity!
Provide your email address or texting number and we'll alert you to new posts!