06 June 2014


I think I have postpartum depression. The feelings of hopelessness, that everything I do is worthless, that each day is pointless, are ebbing up, gently washing over me in the midst of a beautiful summer day. My life is so full of blessings and I'm struggling to remember that I love the newborn days, that my kids are mini-mes, the small things I'm thankful for, and the ruffle butts in a desperate bid to stave off the bleakness.

My postpartum depression is this funky, manic/depressive depression. I get this honest-to-goodness highs where I feel super elated, make stupid decisions, text people about how amazing my life is, over-commit to things I can't possible do. And then I get the classic depression. I hate myself, I feel like a failure, I feel restless but have no desire to do anything, I feel guilty a lot, I have no interest in talking to or hanging out with anyone.

When I was still pregnant with Abigail, I had a feeling I would get postpartum depression. Depression and anxiety issues run in the family and I'm no exception. When combined with all the intense stress surrounding the move before birth, the emergency c-section, the surprise diagnosis, the heart surgery: Genetics, meet Environment.

But even after we got settled back in Florida, the depression stayed and lasted a good, solid year. And after the miscarriage, just 10 short weeks of pregnancy hormones was enough to trigger about a month or two's worth of PPD.

So I was expecting another duel this time around. But I didn't see it coming so hard and so fast. I got a serious dose of baby blues in the hospital the very first night with Eleanor, but they cleared up, and during the first week of her life, I felt this completely amazing awesome high. But knowing I was at risk for PPD, I immediately started taking preventative measures. I kept visitors light, I got lots of sleep, I took 10 minute walks - by myself! - around the apartment complex in the evening after Eleanor was fed. I thought combining it with doing everything right - the VBAC, the breastfeeding, the stable home, gaining a healthy amount of weight - they'd be minimal. It appears I was wrong.

I gave Zoloft a shot when Abigail was about six months old, but I didn't like the side effects. I worked my ass off on the natural remedies: getting ample sleep (even going to bed at 8pm about once a week), exercising, eating right, getting out of the house, getting me time. It took a lot of work and it didn't always help. Finally, after about 12 months, I was back to normal. I think it was more time than anything else.

Ugh, so frustrating. Just when I think I've solved one problem (no plugged ducts in about a week!), another one pops up.

1 comment:

Amelia Bentrup said...

There is a fish oil supplement that really helped me. It is called PlusEPA and is a fish oil supplement which is all EPA and NO DHA. It has been clinically shown to reduce anxiety and depression and I do feel that it definitely helped me. I used to take 2 softgels a day (1000 mg EPA). It is a bit pricey (at the 2 softgels a day dose, it was about $30/month, but I felt that for me it was worth it. Staying away from gluten also helps me a lot. When I eat gluten, the only symptom I get is depression/anxiety, but that is reason enough for me to stay away from it.

Hope you feel better soon!