My Struggle with Post Partum Depression

You may recall about 2 years ago, I announced that I was going to be having a baby.  Well, I had a beautiful baby boy about 18 months ago and my life has never been the same.  Truth be told, he is my third child.  I knew how much I was going to love him, I knew how much work he was going to be and I knew that we had a new family dynamic that was about to take place.  What I didn’t know though, is how sad I was going to be.  Like not-get-out-of-bed-for-2-days-straight sad and crying all the time sad.

We Kinda Guessed

At around month 3 my husband and I had a long conversation about it and came to the assumption that I had Postpartum Depression.  At this point, I did nothing about it, other than try to relax.  I let my hubby and kids take over most of the household duties that I typically handle, but even with less stress I honestly wasn’t getting any better.  I had a fear of talking to the doctor about it because I was scared.  I had never really dealt with mental illness as it pertains to me before and I just didn’t want to acknowledge that I did, in fact, have depression.

I had other symptoms besides sadness too:

  • forgetfulness
  • lack of drive
  • lack of focus
  • no desire to work or be productive at all

The Doc Confirmed It

Well, at about 5 months in, I still cried all the time.  I got out of bed more often, but rarely felt motivated to shower or do any activities and my husband and I decided that it was time to see the doctor.  Once I went to my regular family doctor she confirmed that I did, in fact, have Postpartum Depression.  She gave me some pamphlets and prescribed me some medication then sent me on my way.  Truth be told the medication wasn’t my favorite, but it did help with one thing.  I cried much less often.  I wasn’t happy per se, but I had fewer tears so I was thankful for that.  I really was tired of my poor children and husband seeing me cry all the time.

I am thankful for the medication that I had during those few months because I genuinely feel like they helped me to some degree.  They didn’t cure me, but they helped me get through for a bit.

What Next?

I stayed on the medicine for a couple of months and then for various reasons, I decided to stop taking it.  Before you ask, yes, I did it under my doctor’s watch.  Antidepressants are scary, I followed all of their rules to the T.  Once I stopped taking the medicine I found myself laughing a couple of times.  Like real laughing, that I hadn’t done in a year or more.  It was wonderful.  I was also ready to get out more.  My husband took me on a couple of hikes (my favorite thing) and even surprised me with several beach trips now that he knew I wouldn’t nix the idea.  It was glorious.  All of that said, I did still have depressive episodes that brought me down more often than I would have liked, but I have powered through and I am getting better each and every day.

The tools that I have found that have helped me the most are:

  • Exercise
  • Sunshine
  • Vitamins
  • Family time
  • Healthy Diet (even when I wanted to eat chocolate cake morning, noon and night)
  • Lots of water

Speak Out

Even with all of the talk about mental health and the public’s desire to see it brought to light more often, there seems to be a major stigma surrounding Postpartum Depression.  Once I came to terms with what was wrong with me, I started speaking about it a lot.  In fact, I made it social media public (this photo and partial quote is from my Instagram account) and you know what?  I felt immediately better.  There is no shame in having Postpartum Depression.  Just like there is no shame in having regular depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or any of the other many mental health disorders.  Feeling free enough to talk about it and to get help will make all of the difference in the world when it comes to your treatment.

I think that there are great medical tools available to us for improvement in mental health (of course, more improvements can be made), but first and foremost, this stigma that is out there about mental health disorders needs to go away.  I was afraid to mention my postpartum because I had seen so many scary things in the news that I figured people would think that I wanted to hurt my baby or myself.  It wasn’t like that at all, I was just very very sad.  But because of these fears, I was hesitant to talk about my situation with anyone.  Had this stigma not been out there, I am sure I would have gotten help sooner.

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