My Walk Through the Darkness
I had my first daughter via emergency induction at 39 weeks due to a complication that I’d brought up to my doctor weeks earlier, but which she blew off. I was right.
I asked for an epidural early on in my induction and joked with the anesthesiologist, saying “Whatever you do, don’t give me a spinal headache!,” a complication I’d heard of through a friend. He did. He nicked my dura, which resulted in leaking spinal fluid, giving me an excruciating headache that lasted five days. The only way I felt okay was laying flat – I tried to breastfeed, but cried at the thought of sitting up to do so. I tried to take care of my baby, but needed instead to take care of myself. I felt selfish, unworthy of this baby, and uninterested in being her mother. I stopped trying to breastfeed after twelve days – it wasn’t working. I was barely working, both physically and emotionally. I cried constantly, fighting to care, fighting the thoughts that this was how the rest of my life was going to be, that I had ruined it by having this baby.
Then, at the urging of my husband, I searched online for symptoms of postpartum depression. I found Postpartum Progress. I found my thoughts and feelings from the past three weeks written on the computer screen, and cried some more. I called my doctor, who referred me to a therapist, who found ME. Through medication, talk therapy and a lot of self-care, I brought myself back from this abyss – back from the darkness – and into the light.
Since then, I have had another baby. I struggled less and in different ways, but it was not easy. I was terrified. I was anxious. I was worried every time that I cried that it was the beginning of the end – but it wasn’t. I am again on medication. I am again (well, really still) in talk therapy. I am again in the light, and thanks to Postpartum Progress, it is bright and strong. It is a community of which I’m proud to be part, and thankful that this is where this windy, roller coaster road of life led me. It led me here – to meet these incredible other Warrior Moms this weekend – to help others through their struggles in the future – and to becoming the proud, strong mom I am to my two amazing daughters – and nothing is better than that.