Welcome to this month’s monthly PPD Recovery Story! This month we get to see the power of an awesome medical team and therapist.
How would you describe your postpartum experience?
Looking back and thinking of my postpartum experience is always so surreal. I feel like that was in a past life and that person wasn’t really me. Although I have personally struggled with anxiety my entire life I felt that postpartum anxiety/depression was a whole other beast.
Did you receive a formal diagnosis of a postpartum mood and adjustment disorder? If so, how did you receive that diagnosis; if not, did you seek one?
I did receive a formal diagnosis from my OB who suggested that I go and see my family doctor once again to receive help. I had also been visiting my daughter’s pediatrician with her due to her colic. He also suggested within that time frame that I also revisit my family doctor as it was clear that I had some form of a postpartum mood disorder.
What was your postpartum experience like at its worst? How did you know it was time to get
My daughter just turned one and I cannot believe how much that time of my life is such a blur for me. I didn’t leave my house for twelve weeks without my husband. I barely slept because I was terrified I would not hear her cry. Also, the reverse happened where I was terrified to fall asleep because she would wake me up. I spent hours outside with her because that was the only way she would sleep. I walked for hours a day terrified that if I stopped that she would wake up and start crying again. I barely ate because she was always crying, I was always walking and so my stomach was always in knots. I cried every day for the first four months of her life and I had absolutely no connection with my daughter. I remember thinking that I had made a terrible mistake and that I was a terrible mother.
My husband kept encouraging me to go back to my doctor. Eventually, I did and my daughter was around 10 weeks old. She praised me and said she was so incredibly proud of me that I came in and admitted that I needed help. She got the ball rolling and contacted <a GTA hospital> for therapy support. She also gave me a prescription for anxiety medication that I took for about a week and decided that I wanted to go the natural route I normally take when going through tough times with my anxiety.
What kinds of supports do you credit with your recovery?
I can’t thank my therapist enough at <a GTA hospital>. She is amazing and I am so thankful that she is there to help women get better and recognize that it is okay to struggle and feel defeated. Beyond therapy with <my therapist> I also set out on a path to group therapy. Although this was interesting as I learned that I was not alone, it just was not the right kind of therapy for me. Group therapy was the first thing I tried before being sent to <a GTA hospital>. The woman who ran the group therapy is also an incredible woman. The best advice I got from her that I left with and which I share with others was: trust your baby. She is your teacher. Nobody else but your baby will teach you what she needs so listen to her.
Getting out of the house and going for walks every day with fresh air did wonders for me. I started going to a mommy and me group led by public health nurses that are set up by public health. We would meet at the library and the nurses were incredible. One of the nurses also told me some great advice which was: The second you let go of what you expected your child to be like, the easier it will get. Love your baby for who she is as a person, not the person you thought she would be.