Since childhood, I have always wanted to become a mother. I wanted to have three children and to be a stay at home mom. I still do. What I wish I knew back then was how the severity of your mental state prior to pregnancy can impact your mental state after birth.
Being a psychology grad, I learned about postpartum depression. But I always thought “oh, that could never happen to me.”
I gave birth in January 2021. During my pregnancy, doctors kept asking if I have any mental health history.
Yes, I did. I was in an abusive relationship three and a half years earlier. I have PTSD, and prior to that social anxiety as well as a panic attack disorder.
Well, the reason why they asked about that is because those with prior mental health issues are more likely to develop postpartum depression.
Once I gave birth doctors gave me a mental health exam to see if I have or was going to have a problem with postpartum depression. After answering the questions, the nurses said “oh, you have PTSD, that is why. If you need help otherwise, just call your doctor or therapist.”
Then that was that. We got to go home. Now this is where it is going to get raw. This article might be triggering for some new mothers.
I have struggled with panic attacks from as far back as I can remember, and no one ever took it seriously.
I was just a child who was shy. That is what it was called at the time. But how can a 4-year-old go into a panic attack? Over what? My point exactly.
Now, let’s fast forward to post partum. Obviously, hormones are going to go wild during pregnancy and after birth, so that means you’re moody. But as time went on, I started fighting panic attack after panic attack, and in doing so I was getting angry and exploding on my boyfriend over ANYTHING!
I could not control my emotions. I was either constantly crying, angry, anxious, or just sad for no reason. You might be asking why I did not go to the doctor and get help or medications. I was breastfeeding. I did not want to stop breastfeeding. It made me feel good and connected to my daughter. It helped the depression, but then after a nursing session I began to notice my body would start to have a panic attack. But at the time, I never acknowledged it as a panic attack.
I was so out of it that I almost ruined my relationship and could have lost any form of custody of my daughter. I did not want that.
I was not showering, I was not brushing my teeth, I was not napping when the baby napped. I could not take care of my household. Doing the dishes was HARD for me. Making the bed was HARD for me. I went from doing my makeup and trying to start a YouTube channel to being a slob. I could not be the woman my man fell in love with.
So after a very personal breakdown with my boyfriend and my own father, it was decided after nine months of breastfeeding, I had to stop and go on medication, not just for myself but for my family. I do not want to ruin them. I was out of control.
Postpartum is no joke. It’s a killer, and when people say that, they really mean it. I almost lost everything because of my mental health. So here are my final words.
If you are struggling, please seek help.
This does not make you a bad mother and this does not mean you cannot handle being a mother. Those were my thoughts, but I cannot be the mother I need to be and the mother my daughter needs me to be if I cannot take care of myself.
Feature Image by Hollie Santos on Unsplash