I hope that this little story of my post natal depression helps someone out there. I want you to realize that PND is not a myth, its not something people are faking, its very real and its very horrible.
My name is Lee-Ann and it took me 3 pregnancies to give birth to baby Connor. I am a very strong, domineering, stubborn, head strong, go getter, a total chatter box and not a very sympathetic person at all.
Of course my family and I were over the moon that I was finally giving birth to a baby after struggling to stay pregnant.
The problem was that once he was born, it just felt so unreal to me. He didn’t seem real at all. I felt like I was babysitting someones child and I was literally just waiting for them to arrive, give me a cheque for babysitting and then take him. I didn’t even feel sad at the thought of him being taken away from me.
Everyone kept on saying “oh dont you just love him so much”. My answer would be “yes of course” but in truth, I didn’t love him. I had absolutely no feelings for him what so ever. I kind of brushed this off because I thought that maybe it was just my hormones and I just needed to get used to him first and that my love would grow for him.
However it didn’t. When he used to cry and luckily this was not often, I would just look at him, stare at him blankly and not do much if anything to help him to stop except maybe put a dummy in his mouth and if people were around I would pick him up to “comfort” him because I didn’t want people to think I was a horrible mother by just staring at him.
I started to think dark dark thoughts, I would think the world was going to end and we will be walking the earth with rags on, all dirty and hungry. So I started to buy ALL the formula I possibly could buy from the shops and store them. I would express breast milk every day all day, every hour on the hour and freeze it. I had literally a freezer full of breast milk and Connor had his last bottle at the age of 9 months because I expressed SO much. Bear in mind that I stopped breast feeding at 3 months and then expressed for a whole month.
I would imagine us as a family being in a car accident and Connor surviving but us dying and leaving him behind on his own with him never knowing us. Or him dying and us surviving and the heart ache that goes with loosing a child. I was always afraid, I was scared of leaving the house, of driving, I took him everywhere and wouldn’t leave him behind in case something happened. I would rather us die all together than any of us survive on our own.
I would sit and breast feed at 2am and cry and cry and cry my heart out. I would literally dehydrate from crying so much while he fed. I was so sad for all the orphan babies out there or the babies who didn’t have food and shelter. I would pray for all the babies out there for about an hour at a time. This is coming from a person who isn’t that religious.
I hated the mornings because that meant my husband would go to work and leave me on my own with Connor. I hated being on my own, I would shake, I was always nauseous, I had diarrhea, I hardly slept, I totally stopped talking, I stopped eating, I was always tired and just wanted to sleep all the time but couldn’t sleep. I cried a lot and I was just not happy at all.
I found it very difficult to bond with Connor. It took me months to realize he was actually mine, sometimes he still doesn’t feel like he is really my child and he is 11 months already.
When friends and family asked me whats wrong, all I would say was “I don’t know, I am just not happy” or I would just say “nothing” to keep them off my back. I withdrew till almost no one knew me.
Eventually I went back to work and I had days that I would just burst out crying and my business partner would have to hold me to stop me from shaking. If someone was rude to me I would just shrug my shoulders and walk away, where before (my normal personality) I would take them on and fight to the bitter death.
I had no fight in me, I felt hopeless, I even got to a point where I wondered what was life all about and was it worth living anymore. I wouldn’t take my own life but I just thought, “what was the point of life, is this really what its all about?” At this point I totally understood suicide and why some people do it. Before I had no sympathy for people who took their own lives as I thought they were just weak and selfish for doing it. Now I understood.
Eventually after all my friends, family and even my husband telling me that I need to go to the doctor and sort myself out, I did. I am such a stubborn cow and thought I could fight this on my own. I thought I was strong enough to get through it without anyone’s help. I was wrong. Nature and hormones are so much stronger than you think and I needed help.
Once I realized I needed help, I went to my doctor and and he diagnosed me with Post Natal Depression and put me on some anti-depressants. The horrible thing is that it takes awhile to start working. 16 days later, I felt a bit better, nothing huge but I could feel a slight difference. Then on day 32 I woke up and was a different person. I wasn’t 100% but oh WOW I was definitely feeling so much better.
I was on the anti-depressants for 6 months and then I went back to my doctor and I slowly and I mean slowly weaned myself off them. During the weaning stage my hormones did do a big roller coaster ride, I was very up and down, happy the one minute, pissed off the next but its just because your hormones are trying to normalize without the meds.
I am now 100% off the meds and I am back to Lee-Ann again, much to my husbands dismay as I also have my “fight” back.
If this blog post helps at least one person, makes one person go to their doctor, makes one person realize that they are not alone then I am happy.
Don’t leave it, go sort yourself out. Go to your doctor and be HONEST about what you feel, what you going through.
Once you have been honest with yourself, you will be so grateful because you will then realize what a joy your baby really is and how much you actually do love them.
P.S. If you want to e-mail me personally to chat or ask question then please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hay For Kids www.hayforkids.co.za