Monday, May 6, 2013

postpartum depression

I wasn't sure if I would write about this.  But then I thought, maybe it will help me, maybe it will help someone else, so here I am writing.

It's no surprise that the weeks after Gavin's birth were traumatic. Worrying if he would be healthy and the long drive back and forth from Children's everyday definitely took a toll on me.  And after he came home it was really hard to manage his needs and Emily's needs while trying to stay calm.  But I held it together the best I could, I didn't feel depressed just a little overwhelmed, I was basically running on adrenaline.

Two weeks ago, out of the blue, I had a full blown panic attack.  I felt like I was going insane, I couldn't breathe, I was vomiting, sweating, shaking uncontrollably- the thoughts in my head were beyond scary.  Panic attacks are something that I don't think can be fully understood unless you've experienced one.  I thought it was just a one time thing but the next night the same thing happened. Steve took me to the ER so that I could get medication to calm down.  They gave me anxiety medication and a phone number to a local behavioral health office.  I got an appointment the next week and was put on an anti-depressant.  I'm still taking the medication and I don't feel like myself yet, but I'm working on it.  

When I call the office and say I feel worse or I'm having a particularly hard day, my doctor tells me that it takes 4-6 weeks for the medications to work and that it will get worse before it gets better.  Somehow these words aren't comforting when I wake up with anxiety almost every morning and I am barely able to take care of my babies.

What I'm doing to get better:

-  Surrounding myself with (amazing) people who care and want to help.  Steve has been working from home and helping me with the kids, he is a special kind of husband for sure.  I know I won the lottery when I found him.  His parents have also been beyond helpful.  They take the kids when they know we need a break, they even keep Gavin overnight when we need them to. I can't thank them enough.

-  Therapy (professional and otherwise).  I've been going to therapy once a week and it helps. My therapist has basically told me that I went through a serious trauma and all of my emotions that I had shut down while Gavin was in the hospital are catching up to me now. It also helps so much to talk to friends and family who have been through similar situations.  Their pep talks usually leave me feeling like I can handle almost anything.

-  Daycare.  Emily has started going to day care 3 times a week.  This is very hard for me.  I'm learning to let go of some control and I'm telling myself this is good for her and for me. 

-  Acupuncture and Reiki.  I have always been a fan of acupuncture, it has worked for me in many ways, so I'm trying it for my anxiety.  I had my first treatment this weekend and I felt so great afterward.  I go for my first Reiki treatment on Tuesday and I am excited to try it.

-  Walking,  Every day I try to get out for a walk.  It calms my mind and it's always good to breathe in the fresh air.

The hardest thing I face everyday is the guilt I feel.  I feel guilty that Steve is working from home and not getting as much done as he needs to.  I feel guilty that I can't take care of my babies like I used to be able to.  I feel guilty that Steve's parents have to help as much as they do, and I feel guilty that Emily is at daycare while I am home, not working. 

Some days I feel hopeless and I feel like a burden on my family and I feel like I should be stronger than this.  But I am trying my hardest to be positive and hopeful.  I want so badly to feel like myself again and to be able to be a good wife and mother.  

I just keep telling myself I will get better....for them.


  1. Oh Bridget. This just breaks my heart to read! Don't be too hard on yourself. You are definitely NOT a burden. The only reason you feel this was is because as the mom, you are the CEO and President combined! I'm glad to hear you've got some things in place to help you out.. you'll get through this my friend!!

  2. Oh Bridget, I am so sorry for this. I went through PPD and it still catches up to me sometimes.

    And it is so hard to explain. It breaks my heart when I would look at Avery and wanted to love her the way other moms love their babies, but I just couldn't. It just wasn't that easy for me.

    And the guilt surrounding it is the worst.

    I hope your medicine kicks in soon. You are doing the right thing by asking for help, sending Emily to daycare and taking care of yourself. I know no one can make you feel less guilty, but you are doing the right things for you and your family.

    I hope things get better and thank goodness for Gavin's wonderful recovery!

  3. Oh Bridget, I am in tears reading this and more than ever I just want to reach through the computer and give you a huge hug!! :( I am so sorry that you are going through this. As I said before when Gavin was in hospital, I just cannot imagine going through that. To deal with that scary time, along with a toddler and the travelling... it would take a huge.. I mean HUGE toll on anyone so those emotions needed to escape somehow and some point. And now that they have, it really sounds as if you are doing all that you can.. really an amazing amount of things.. to get back to your old self. You should absolutely not feel guilty about any of this!!! Please don't! I am sure Emily is having a blast at her daycare and it is nice for her to have a change of scene a few days a week while still getting other days at home. You are a truly amazing mother, wife and friend. It will be okay. It might not be completely okay today or tomorrow.. but with time, it will be, because you want it for you and for your beautiful family. I (and so many other ladies from all over) are here for you whenever you need us. Wishing I could be closer to help out in other ways or even just give you a hug... or take you out for a drink!! ;) I am glad you shared this because I just know getting it out has to help. Big big hugs!!!!

  4. I'm so glad you posted this b/c I know you're not alone. And you are doing NOTHING wrong. I'm so sorry you are going through this. It is one of my biggest fears that will happen to me. And to be honest, I KNOW I would be even worse if I was a SAHM. Talk about feeling guilty. I love my daughter (and soon to be son) more than life itself, but I am glad to be at work too.

    It sounds like you are taking all the necessary steps to make yourself healthier and that's the top priority. And I bet G loves his nights with his grandparents. And I be E will flourish at daycare - I know Taylor does.

    Hang in there - and you know we are there for you if you need anything.

  5. First of all I want to say you rock for taking all the steps you are to beat the blues. I bet not many women would step up to the plate like you have, so quickly at least, to get help and get back to your normal self. You did go through a trauma, and it's perfectly normal to need time to heal from that. I have anxiety about handling two young kids at home too, and wouldn't knock daycare completely out of the picture for Chloe if money wasn't an object. I'll have to remember acu for anxiety; I forget all the ways it can help people. We're here for you B! XOXO

  6. I'm glad that you decided to write about this, that alone takes a strong woman. I had no idea you were going through this but I'm glad you are being so pro-active and doing things to move through and past it. Just wanted you to know that I support you, even if it is from afar, I'll be thinking about you.

  7. Oh Bridget! In sorry you are suffering. Panic attacks are incredibly awful, as are post partum intrusive thoughts. But as my therapist keeps telling me, thoughts are just thoughts. If everyone acted on all if they're thoughts, there would be a lot fewer people in the world. It sounds like you are found everything possible to get yourself to a better place. Give the medication time to work. I know it's hard, but after two months, I was a completely different person. It will get better. I promise. I wish there was more I could do other than just telling you I know. I really know. You are not alone.

  8. Oh Bridget! I am so sorry that you are experiencing this. I think that it is wonderful that you wrote about it. Sometimes talking about it or writing about it may help. And the more people talk about it the less shame people may feel. People should never feel badly about something they can't control. It is so incredibly wonderful that your family & friends have been so supportive! I am sure Emily loves going to school. They teach the little ones so much these days! I hope things start getting better for you. The blogging community is here to support you!

  9. This makes me so sad to hear, but bravo to you for sharing. I have to think that being honest about where you are in life will only help. Thinking of you.

  10. Good for you for putting this out there! So many people go through this - silently. So BRAVO for reaching out and getting help. I worry about this as well as we near the end of this pregnancy (and all that will entail...)
    It sounds like you have a wonderful support network. Wanting to get better and taking those steps will lead to you getting back to the old you. Hopefully, once the meds kick in you will feel like a new person. I have no doubt that your beautiful babies know that you love them and that you are doing everything in your power to give them the best lives possible.
    Thinking of you.

  11. Thank you, thank you for writing this! I, more than words, know how you feel! I've been reading your blog for years, but never usually comment because no one knows me. Lol! But I want you to know that you are not the first mom to feel like this. I have 15 month old twins and battled postpartum, along with suffering from chronic migraine headaches. So facing the day is often very overwhelming for me. My mom constantly helps me and my husband sacrifices so much to help ease my stress. Like you, I feel guilty when I need him to come home early from work or stay home because I'm in a lot of pain. I often feel like I'm letting my kids and family down. You should be applauded though, for how proactive you are being to get better! You are a wonderful mom and wife, and your family would be lost without you. We all fall on hard times...and this happens to be yours. If you ever need to talk, please let me know! Sometimes you just need someone who understands and can relate! Good luck!

  12. Wow, Bridget - this is so heart-wrenching. I am so incredibly sorry for the feelings you are experiencing - although intense and scary, you did such a beautiful job articulating what you are going through. I am wishing you peace and brighter days ahead - it sounds like you are doing all the right things to keep yourself and your kids healthy and safe. Know that many people are praying for you and thinking of you!

    Hugs :)

  13. Oh Bridget, I'm so glad you shared this. I too went through a stage of depression after Avery was born...things went so much differently during her birth than I had planned, and having Avery in the NICU was so hard. It's unimaginably painful to feel so helpless. I will be sending my thoughts and prayers your way. I know the road seems long and hard, but you will always be a great mom to your sweet babies. Thinking of you.

  14. I cannot believe that I didn't comment on this post. I remember reading it and texting you..ugh. Sorry friend. Anyways, I know things have been rough for you and I wish I could say or do something to make you feel better. I want you to know that you ARE a great mom and yes, all of this has hit you at once! You are dealing with lots of trama issues right now and that's ok, you are allowed to take time for your emotions/heart to heal from everything! You will make it through this! Emily and Gavin are so lucky to have you as their amazing mommy. Love you!

  15. being so open and honest about your journey will be so helpful to you. i am so proud of you for all that you are doing to take care of yourself. be kind to yourself along the way and know that the mommy guilt att, attacks us all but you have to take care of you before you can take care of anyone else. you are a wonderful mother and wife who get through this and come out stronger. I just know it.
    I am hear if you need me!

  16. Bridget, what a brave and courageous woman you are. I'm just catching up on your posts this morning and saw this one. I have tears in my eyes for you. It sounds like from your post above you are doing better and I am happy to hear it. I think what others said is so true--you are not alone and it took a lot of guts to be open about this. Big hugs to you, mama! I know you are an awesome mom, so try not to feel guilty! Xoxoxo.


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