My daughter was born on a typical fall day. Labor and Delivery, although somewhat long, was a great experience as were the first 2 weeks of her life. I was the doting and glowing new mom. I held her, cuddled with her, kissed her constantly. I loved changing her stinky poop diapers and I relished at her newborn screams. She was all mine. She gave me the title of “Mommy”, a title I cherished.
After these two glorious weeks, I changed. I was a person I didn’t recognize. My daughter’s face with her plush cheeks now disgusted me. Her whimpers were like banshee calls. The never ending dependency broke me… plummeted me into a dark abyss so deep I am still amazed I ever got out of it. Instead of “Mommy”, my new title should have been, “Depressive Anxiety Woman: Robotic in Nature, Dead in Emotion.” This all occurred in the span of a day. One morning I just woke up different. I woke up mean. I woke up full of hatred for this little being that needed me.
I didn’t get help right away. I was told it was “Baby Blues”. When the vomiting started a couple of days later, and the crying spells increased daily by 200%, I knew it had to be more. But, I was ashamed. I couldn’t admit my inadequacy at doing normal wife and mother tasks. I couldn’t admit I hated being a mother. I couldn’t admit I hated my child and wished every second I could turn back time. I couldn’t face the ugliness that was growing in my head. I didn’t want to face myself.
Three weeks after her birth, I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. This was the first step to recovery but honestly it wasn’t enough. I was drowning more and more into the abyss of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. The only good thing was I finally knew what I was suffering from. Even though I was under the care of a psychiatrist and therapist, I now began planning my escape.
I would run away…
My plan was incomplete as I only figured the following details out… Leaving after my husband was off to work, Sophia was at my parents, I would withdraw money, get in the car and go…
That last important detail saved me from doing something stupid. Saved me from leaving the two most important people in my life. Saved me from destroying myself.
Exactly one month after my daughter’s birth, I admitted myself into my local hospital’s short term psych ward where I finally was given the tools (and medication) to save myself.
I have told this exact story on here a little over a year ago. It is a story I feel needs repeating. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety stole the first year of my daughter’s life from me. I was at times an emotional wreck and at other times and emotional void. It took many different medications, several therapists and a couple of years to overcome these feeling completely. Recently, I’ve revisited these memories and have finally given my Postpartum self some compassion, something I have never done before.
I am not alone. There is a whole Warrior Mom tribe out there who have had similar experiences. Some were worse than mine, some better. Some took longer to heal, some shorter. All of us celebrate our success by coming together on the Saturday closest to the longest day of the year to #climbout of the Darkness. This event spans states, countries and continents and raises awareness of Postpartum Illness and funds to support the many resources Postpartum Progress Inc. provides on the website (www.postpartumprogress.org) and blog (www.postpartumprogress.com).
This is #WhyIClimb :
I Climb for my daughter, my husband, my parents, and my sister. This was my support system in my darkest time. They were there when I wasn’t there mentally, emotionally or physically. They came to therapy and psychiatric appointments. They visited me in the hospital. They kept my daughter healthy and alive when I couldn’t. They woke up with me to feed Sophia. They kept calm and cool in a situation that should’ve driven them crazy with worry. They have my utmost gratitude and love.
I Climb for myself. Somehow I survived an ordeal that rattled my brain and mentality to points this Depression sufferer never thought imaginable. I battled by going to therapy, admitting myself into the hospital and taking my medications. I came out stronger.
I Climb for other mothers who have, are or may suffer… To be their support… To show them they are not alone. There is a whole Warrior Mom Family out there to lean on.