Postpartum Depression from the other side of the Couch

A year into my marriage, I was diagnosed with fibroids.  At that time they were small, so small that the gynecologist said we’ll just monitor them.  Sadly, not much research is out there on the cause or what can be done to prevent them.  Fast forward a few years, we were ready to try for a baby.  Little did we know, the fibroids had grown exponentially.  Many women have been able to conceive with fibroids with minimal problems, others have had complications.  So it was really a toss-up, not to mention I wasn’t really eager to have surgery on my reproductive organs prior to having at least one child.  We prayed about it and decided to pursue conception.  I did conceive but the pregnancy didn’t make it past the six week mark and I miscarried.  So the decision to pursue conception, in spite of the fibroids, was not an easy one.  My pregnancy journey was fraught with twists and turns.  I inadvertently experienced complications from the fibroids during pregnancy and spent some time in the hospital and on bed rest.  I couldn’t exercise or do a lot the things that most women with “typical pregnancies” are able to do. 

As my due date neared, my doctor still hoped that we could have a vaginal birth.  That was after all the best way to go.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  I won’t bore you with the laborious details of my labor and delivery.  Just know that it was very eventful.  I ended having to have a transfusion because of all the blood that I lost during the cesarean.  Fast forward again to bringing baby home, not only was I not prepared for the huge adjustments to having a newborn but I also wasn’t prepared for the intense physical aftermath of having a cesarean.  I was not only physically spent but mentally as well.  Thankfully, I had a lot of support!  I also had a lot of doubt and guilt (breastfeeding wasn’t working).  No one prepared me for the level of sleep deprivation and isolation I felt.  Everyone always said sleep when the baby sleeps but that just didn’t work for me.  I don’t know what I was doing but I couldn’t sleep. My eating habits were terrible because I just grabbed a bite when I could and ate whatever was easiest.  Not only that but I somehow believed that the weight that I gained during pregnancy would miraculously melt away after I delivered.  Needless, to say I felt overwhelmed, isolated, fat, and not myself at all.  I returned to some sense of normalcy at 3 months when I went back to work part-time.  I was happy to be at work and engaged in social interaction with other adults but I also questioned if working was the right decision for me and my family.  There were so many emotions and feelings to contend with.  As a clinician, I was keenly aware of postpartum depression but at the time, I couldn’t label the things I was experiencing.  Eventually, I began to work my way back to myself.   The seasons changed, I returned to working out consistently, eating better, and taking small amounts of time for myself.   I started to see me as not just a mom but also the person I was before becoming a mom.  A year or so later, I realized that I had experienced postpartum depression.   My journey is what leads me to want to help other women going through this.  I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.